notice to quit

In landlord-tenant law, notice to quit often refers to the act of a landlord providing a tenant with a written notice of the landlord’s demand for the tenant to vacate the premises within a given amount of time.  State statutes govern the circumstances under which a landlord can issue notice, the manner in which the notice should be provided, and the amount of time with which a tenant should be provided before being required to vacate. 

For example, the governing statute for New Jersey provides that notice to quit may be given by a landlord in the following circumstances:

(a) when a tenant holds over and continues in possession after the expiration of their term;

(b) when a tenant holds over after a default in the payment of rent, according to the agreed terms; or

(c) when a tenant (1) behaves in a disorderly manner and destroys the peace and quiet of the landlord or other occupants, (2) willfully destroys or damages the premises, (3) constantly violates the landlord’s rule and regulations, or (4) commits any breach or violation of a covenant or agreement contained in the lease whereby a right of entry is reserved for a violation of that covenant or agreement.

The same New Jersey statute states that notice must be “served either personally upon the tenant or such person in possession by giving him a copy thereof or by leaving a copy of the same at his usual place of abode with a member of his family above the age of 14 years.”

In defining the amount of time that the notice to quit must allow the tenant following receipt of the notice, Section 2A:18-56 of the New Jersey Statutes provides differing amounts of time, depending the occupant’s kind of tenancy.  For example, in order for notice to be sufficient, a 3 months’ notice to quit must be given for a tenancy at will or from year to year, and a 1 month’s notice must be given for a tenancy from month-to-month.

The landlord must validly provide notice to quit before commencing with a summary process to evict the tenant.

In landlord-tenant law, notice to quit may also refer to the notice providing in writing from the tenant, informing the landlord of their intent to quit, as described by the Section 42-3202 of the Code of the District of Columbia.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]