What Does a Pay or Quit Notice Mean?

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A pay or quit notice is sent to a tenant who has failed to pay rent as required by the leasing contract. Most times, this type of notice is sent prior to the landlord beginning eviction proceedings against the tenant. This letter provides a tenant with a certain amount of time, typically 10 days, to pay the amount of rent due or to vacate the apartment. Failure to do either can result in the tenant being forcibly evicted pursuant to a court order from the leased premise.

Because a pay or quit notice is delivered prior to an eviction proceeding being initiated, chances are good that the landlord is owed a large amount of money for rent, typically more than a month’s worth. Moreover, this amount could be even higher if the landlord is entitled to assess interest on overdue payments. This means that the amount demanded paid could be quite high. Paying the amounts due and remaining in the apartment does not change the lease agreement; the tenant is still required to pay the next month’s rent as stated in the lease contract.

Quitting an apartment is not the same as an eviction. A tenant that leaves an apartment after receiving a quit or pay notice effectively breaks the lease. This breaking a lease will not, however, appear on the tenant’s credit report because it is not an eviction that involved the courts. Breaking the lease, however, may ruin a tenant’s rental history by inducing the landlord to provide a negative review of the tenant while he lived on the landlord’s property.

11 Responses to “What Does a Pay or Quit Notice Mean?”

  1. December 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm, Ligeia said:

    That means pay your rent or move out duh!!!!


  2. January 10, 2011 at 11:19 pm, Susan said:

    I am a property manager and just want to say that actually “quitting” your lease WILL impact your credit. The renal company will get a judgement for the balance owed and it will be reported to the credit bureaus.


    • January 02, 2017 at 6:12 pm, M said:

      Eventually ; but not immediately >


  3. January 13, 2011 at 9:11 am, Jessica said:

    Not necessarily true I have broken a lease previously and I setup a payment plan with them to pay off what was owed and it was never reported on my credit…It only goes on your credit if you never intend to pay and not communicate with the property.


  4. January 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm, Mandy said:


    Will the rental company just get a judgment for the past due amount owed, or for the rest of the lease? Because when you get evicted the whole years lease goes on you credit. If you “quit” your lease the way described above, will only the amount owed (as in if you’re only 1 month behind), be sought after and perhaps placed on one’s credit? Thanks


  5. February 01, 2011 at 3:20 pm, William Jensen said:

    Either way it ends up on the credit report. i have few months paying it off from wage garnish. i left 1 month before lease was gone due to the economy and not enough job hours. They did not understand when i tried talking to them. a month later at that time little over a yr ago time i got hours a month later, it wouldve been too late try to neogiate payments. it was the lease agreement for 1 month was left plus late fees added on for couple of weeks after. i having the bankruptcy filed in march to get rid of remaning wage garnish, their lawyer fees/court fees, along other bad debt on my credit report that takes 6 years tio clear along get good rental history as well. by april wage garnish will be done anyways. i had it reduced from wehere i can keep roof over my head and survive due do not make much money. you can reneogiate with their collectionsd and it can be reduced do they understand more than the apartment complex does. i got mine reduced where can survive and eat along pay off bills for student loans, cell phone, bus pass and other necessitiews in life to survive. i don’t make that much from my job so it is helping reducing it. took me awhile get back on my feet so i can get the wage garnish out of the way then it clears after bankruptcy. the collection understands many situations due to the economy where the complex only cares about money only instead of working things out. i was a tennant and was hardly late for rent from living in the complex at least almost little over 2 years. when economy got worse, couldnt keep up due had to leave a month early on the lease in 2009 roughly.


  6. October 06, 2011 at 5:10 pm, girard hall said:

    after the initial ten days passes they gave you to move. what steps happen next? Can they just set your stuff on the curb?


  7. January 05, 2012 at 4:31 pm, realitycheck24 said:

    “girard hall”, no they can not set your belongings out without a judges ruleing. You would have to go to court first. The Judge will give you “___” days to either turn in keys or then the management company can set the belongings out. It depends what state you live in to how much time you get. My state is 7 days.


  8. June 28, 2012 at 10:51 pm, Kim said:

    if you get a 3 day notice to vacate what good does it do to move out within those 3 days if they can still take you to court. I’m on a month to month lease but could not provide 30 days notice I got laid off can’t afford apartment to give them 30 day notice. will I lose my 500 dollar security deposit. I plan on being out before the fifth which is when my rent is due. please help


    • November 26, 2016 at 2:15 am, Randy Frushour said:

      > There are scam landlords around so know the law and make calls. You shouldn't need a lawyer to even open a discussion with the Sherrif Office about your landlord or whatever police department in town wrangles the crime neighborhoods.


  9. November 26, 2016 at 2:11 am, Randy Frushour said:

    A lot of strangeness. I'm in a pay to stay type apartments no written lease required but month to month by law yet is an oral lease. I'm a Realtor. But this property was formerly a motel even though was long ago still people can be and are evicted with no notice just a knock on the door and the next knock, the Polieece.


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