Landlord and tenant fighting over bills

To avoid being unfairly treated, tenants should know their rights and responsibilities. (Getty Images)

The radiator crapped out in your apartment, and your landlord hasn't responded to your emails or answered the phone for two days. As much as you love your new winter coat, wearing it while you watch TV – and while you sleep – isn't your idea of fun. The arctic chill may have you thinking: At what point is my landlord required to make repairs?

That would be two days ago.

The relationship between a landlord and tenant can get sticky when things go awry. The only way to protect yourself from housing law violations is to know your rights as a renter and act when you feel you are being unfairly treated.

[Read: Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Opt for a Month-to-Month Lease.]

Here are some basics to get you started on understanding tenant and landlord laws.

Federal law protects against civil rights violations in housing. The Fair Housing Act dictates that no landlord can refuse housing to a potential tenant based on race, nationality, sex, familial status, religion or disability.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal government's authority on housing, aims to provide affordable housing options and protect consumers from discrimination. HUD and the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigated 7,985 complaints of housing discrimination in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity’s fiscal year 2017 report to Congress. The report noted that nearly 60 percent of housing discrimination complaints are based on disability, often due to the landlord’s unwillingness to make reasonable accommodations. Complaints of racial discrimination in housing made up 26 percent of total complaints.

Many of your tenant rights are spelled out in state or local laws. In a situation where you feel you are being treated unfairly for any reason, check with your state's laws on tenant and landlord rights. For the most part, tenants' rights fall under the jurisdiction of the state or local government, which means they vary throughout the country, explains Dean Preston, executive director of Tenants Together, a nonprofit that advocates for renters in California.

"There are some states, for example, that the state laws prohibit rent control entirely. Then there are other states that are like California where there isn't state rent control, but they allow local rent control laws," Preston says.

You have a right to livable conditions. All tenants have a right to be provided with a space considered habitable – including working plumbing, electricity and heat. Beyond these basic details, it varies by state how a landlord is required to provide them and what tenants may do when their needs are not met.

Attorney David Merbaum has a law firm in Alpharetta, Georgia, and handles landlord-tenant disputes, among other real estate and business-related litigation. He says he has seen many situations where tenants have trouble with mold in their apartments, which poses a safety issue while they work out the dispute of mold removal.

Merbaum says Georgia has legislation regarding constructive eviction – where the landlord effectively forces the tenant out because the place is no longer habitable. In mold cases where tenants are afraid for their health, he says leaving and explaining the claim of constructive eviction in court will at least remove any immediate danger. "I can't guarantee [a judge will agree with you], but I wouldn't stay there if I didn't feel safe,'" he says.

While most states have thorough legislation when it comes to habitability, Preston says it's one of the most common issues he sees from renters seeking assistance from his organization. "The problem is one of enforcement," he says, citing local and state code enforcement offices that are often underfunded or lacking the motivation to effectively police conditions of rental properties.

[Read: 7 Things Renters Can Do to Recoup Their Security Deposit.]

You have to pay your rent. Landlords have a right to pursue eviction when they stop receiving rent, regardless of the reason. Some state or local laws will allow landlords to lower the cost of rent or prorate rent for the number of days a unit is unlivable. However, you cannot refuse to pay rent to provoke your landlord to perform maintenance or other duties.

Merbaum explains that rent is not a bargaining chip to get what you want from the landlord. "The obligation to pay rent is always independent of the landlord's obligation to fulfill his duties. So if the air conditioning's not working, the tenant cannot hold the rent back – the tenant will be in breach of the lease, and they can be evicted," he says.

Georgia is one of many states with a "right to deduct" policy for the tenant, which means if something is broken and you have given your landlord repeated notice and ample time to fix it, you can personally have it repaired or replaced and subtract the cost from your next month's rent.

However, the right to deduct can be a dangerous game to play, and you should seek legal advice first. California also has right to deduct policies, and Preston says he often only recommends it as a last resort for tenants seeking repairs because landlords can still pursue eviction if they dispute the deduction. A worst-case scenario would leave the tenant with the bill for the repair and without a home.



The lease you sign doesn't supersede the law. In many cases, landlords may be unaware of the specifics of tenant and landlord rights or they may try to take advantage of the fact that you don't know your rights. If you sign a lease that includes rules that violate tenants' rights, the fraudulent policies cannot be enforced by the landlord or law. For example, Merbaum says major repairs needed to make a property livable, like water and plumbing, cannot be placed in the renter's hands, according to Georgia law. "If it's in the lease that it's the tenant's responsibility, it's not even enforceable," he says.

In New York, state law dictates that all tenants living in privately owned buildings have the right to sublease their rental unit to another person. This excludes public or subsidized housing, nonprofit buildings, co-ops and tenants with controlled or subsidized rent. Even if your signed lease states you cannot sublease your apartment, that clause of the contract is not legally enforceable, and the landlord cannot pursue legal action against you if you sublease your space.

You should document everything. No one moves into a new apartment planning to get into a fight with their landlord, but it's best to be prepared for the possibility. "It doesn't matter what system of laws you're operating under, if you're going to try to enforce them at some point, you need to document the situation," Preston says.

When you move in, photograph every room and note any needed repairs. Also keep dates and documents of every repair request should you need evidence of attempts to fix problems. When you move out, if the landlord tries to charge you for damages you documented when you moved in, you're far more likely to successfully avoid the fee.

[Read: 5 Tips for Renters in a Foreclosure Property.]

You have advocates who will help. There are countless tenant rights organizations throughout the country to ensure renters have access to the resources and understand the privileges afforded to them by law. For instance, Preston says Tenants Together operates a statewide hotline in California to field renter problems and requests for information.

In the event of discrimination violating the FHA, you should also contact HUD directly, whether it's the headquarters in the District of Columbia or one of the dozens of local offices nationwide. HUD has its own investigators to look into possible infractions and can pursue violators. HUD and the Fair Housing Assistance Program saw slightly more than $8.9 million in monetary relief paid to victims of housing discrimination in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the FHEO annual report.

However, not every complaint filed with HUD can be investigated, and not every investigation leads to further legal action or payment to victims. While a formal complaint with HUD is an excellent start, you should also contact a local tenant rights organization for advice and support, which can typically be found with a simple online search for tenant rights groups in your city or county.


Does Your State Have Fair Eviction Laws?

State-by-state eviction information

Roofs of brownstone houses in Boston.

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Housing laws and real estate practices vary widely among states. But even for people who’ve lived in the same state or city their entire lives, it can be difficult to know the nuances of the renting process – or worse, the eviction process. U.S. News has compiled basic information on eviction laws in each state to help you understand what’s required of your landlord and how it compares to the rest of the U.S. To better understand how eviction plays a role in each state, estimated eviction rates are included from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, spearheaded by Pulitzer Prize winner Matthew Desmond, author of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” These rates aim to provide greater perspective on the scope of evictions taking place throughout the country.

Know your rights.

Know your rights.

Young man holding papers and talking on phone while sitting at home

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Before diving into a breakdown of the legal information, it’s important to know that eviction can only occur if you're taken to court. The eviction rates determined by the Eviction Lab are based on those evictions that take place through the court system, going back to 2000. In all states, it is illegal for a landlord to simply lock a tenant out of their rental, even if the notice period has passed and the landlord has filed for eviction with the courts. Tenants have the right to fight eviction and remain in their home during the period leading up to that court date (except in Arkansas). The following information is only a snapshot of the statutes determined by state legislators. It’s important to visit your state government’s website for more information and contact a local tenant rights organization or an attorney for additional details about how to fight an eviction.

Alabama

Alabama

Downtown Birmingham, Alabama, from Vulcan Park

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Eviction Rate: 1.82 percent
Notice to Vacate: Seven days to pay rent or to remedy other rental agreement violations; seven-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Alabama allows landlords to issue an unconditional notice to quit (with which the tenant cannot avoid eviction by correcting the violation) or face eviction when the tenant has repeated a violation of his or her lease four or more times in a 12-month period (making the violation habitual) or committed a crime on the property, including drug use, unlawful discharge of a weapon or assault.

Alaska

Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska, United States Of America

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Eviction Rate: Unavailable
Notice to Vacate: Seven days to pay rent; 10 days to remedy rental agreement violation; one-, three- or 10-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Alaska’s eviction laws differentiate between options to remedy a problem, like paying overdue rent or bringing a pet to a no-pets apartment, and unconditional quit notices that range from 10 days to as little as 24 hours, due to property damage, failure to pay utilities more than once or illegal activity. Formal eviction, however, can only happen through the courts, and law enforcement must carry out removal of the tenant.

Arizona

Arizona

A plane lands at an airport in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Eviction Rate: 3.92 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent or clean the rental; 10 days to remedy a rental agreement violation; immediate unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Arizona cuts the time it takes to file for eviction in court down from Alaska’s 24-hour minimum to immediately upon notice for an unconditional notice to quit due to discharge of a weapon, homicide, prostitution, criminal gang activity, use or sale of illegal drugs or threatening to harm another person. After informing the tenant, the landlord can immediately file an eviction lawsuit with the court.

Arkansas

Arkansas

Red two story condos in Fayetteville Arkansas with a blue sky and green grass.

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Eviction Rate: 1.82 percent
Notice to Vacate: 10 days to pay rent; 14 days to remedy rental agreement violation; three-day notice when pursuing unlawful detainer; 30 days to end informal month-to-month lease or seven days if rent is paid weekly.

Arkansas’s eviction process is particularly tough on tenants; it leaves room for tenants to be fined up to $25 per day for every day they remain in the unit following the three-day unlawful detainer notice, as well as a new misdemeanor charge (up to 30 days). After the landlord has filed for eviction following the three-day notice, the tenant has five days to file an objection to the proceedings. Otherwise, the landlord can obtain a writ of possession from the courts and have the tenant evicted immediately by law enforcement.

California

California

Downtown Los Angeles at sunset.

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Eviction Rate: 0.83 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent or remedy rental agreement violation; three-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease or 60 days if tenancy lasts longer than one year.

The tenant cannot be removed from the property until an eviction case has gone through the court system, but the three-day notice regarding all forms of cause leaves tenants with little notice to begin preparing to fight eviction or find a new place to live if they opt to move on.

Colorado

Colorado

Cherry Creek, Denver Colorado

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Eviction Rate: 2.75 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent or remedy rental agreement violation; three to 91 days to end month-to-month lease.

Only three days’ notice is required for nonpayment of rent or a lease violation, but in situations of health or safety concerns, or if the tenant has committed a crime on the property, the landlord does not need any notice to file suit for eviction. Changes to Colorado’s law last year expanded the required notice that either side must give to terminate a lease without a violation: If the tenant has been at the residence between one week and one month, three days’ notice is required, less than six months requires 21 days, less than one year requires 28 days and more than one year requires 91 days.

Connecticut

Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut, USA downtown cityscape.

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Eviction Rate: 3.04 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; 15 days to remedy rental agreement violation; immediate unconditional notice to quit; three days to end month-to-month lease.

If a tenant manages to halt an eviction for a rental agreement violation by correcting the issue, it's important to avoid creating the same error again in the future. In Connecticut, tenants who repeat the same offense in six months don't get another 15 days to avoid eviction, and the court process can begin immediately. But with month-to-month agreements, the landlord has a significant advantage in only having to provide a three-day notice to a tenant to move out, even without reason.

Delaware

Delaware

Last minute vacation in Wilmington Delaware, United States

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Eviction Rate: 5.1 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent; seven-day notice to remedy rental agreement violation or unconditional notice to quit. No notice required for threats of causing harm to a person on the property or to the property itself. Sixty days to end month-to-month lease.

Delaware’s laws for eviction follow similar patterns to other states, but they allow for landlords begin the eviction process without required notice in the case of threats of irreparable harm.

District of Columbia

District of Columbia

Colorful row houses in Washington DC, USA

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Eviction Rate: 2.59 percent
Notice to Vacate: 30 days to pay rent or correct rental agreement violation; immediate serving of complaint with court date for unconditional notice to quit.

The District of Columbia’s landlord-tenant law is aimed at keeping tenants from being suddenly without a home. Even for a yearlong lease, the rental agreement automatically changes to a month-to-month lease under the same conditions, unless a lease renewal has occurred or the tenant has opted to move elsewhere.

Florida

Florida

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Eviction Rate: 2.53 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; seven days to remedy rental agreement violation; seven-day unconditional notice to quit; 15 days to end month-to-month lease.

Following the required notice period, if the tenant has been unable to remedy an issue, a Florida landlord can serve the complaint to the tenant, giving the tenant five days to respond to the clerk of court noting the defense contesting eviction. Without response from the tenant, the landlord can receive a default judgment from the clerk and eviction will be official.

Georgia

Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia downtown aerial view.

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Eviction Rate: 4.71 percent
Notice to Vacate: 24-hour notice with cause; 60 days to end month-to-month lease.

Georgia’s eviction law does not provide landlords with a minimum period of time to wait before filing an eviction lawsuit, though in practice it appears to be one to 10 days. However, a tenant choosing to fight eviction is permitted by law to remain in the property until a court decision is made, and the landlord is not allowed to cut off utilities during this period.

Hawaii

Hawaii

The Na Pali Coast State Park is a 6,175 acres (2,499 ha) Hawaiian state park located in the center of the rugged 16 miles (26 km) along the northwest side of Kauai, the oldest inhabited Hawaiian island. The Na Pali coast itself extends southwest starting at Ke e Beach extending all the way to Polihale State Park. The na pali (high cliffs) along the shoreline rise as much as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above the Pacific Ocean. The state park was formed to protect the Kalalau Valley.

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Eviction Rate: 0.41 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent; 10 days to remedy rental agreement violation; zero notice for egregious damage to property or threats to do so; 45 days to end month-to-month lease.

Hawaii’s laws for notice prior to suing for eviction include no required notice when threats of property damage are involved, but the state is also involved in a grassroots effort to help empower tenants called Steps to Avoid Eviction. STAE’s mission includes helping landlords receive rent on time and keeping tenants from becoming homeless.

Idaho

Idaho

Capitol Blvd, Boise, Idaho

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Eviction Rate: 0.61 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent or remedy rental agreement violation; three-day or immediate unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Idaho’s notice prior to eviction proceedings may not be long, but tenants do have rights in other situations. While many states do not allow tenants to withhold rent when the landlord fails to make unnecessary repairs, Idaho is one state that does. The tenant is also allowed by law to sue the landlord to comply with necessary repairs or deduct rent for any repairs the tenant did on his or her own.

Illinois

Illinois

Prairie Avenue Mansions in Chicago

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Eviction Rate: 1.58 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent; 10 days to remedy rental agreement violation; five-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

While the days for notice prior to a landlord suing for eviction are not out of the ordinary compared to other states, judges in Illinois often provide tenants with additional time to move out when the landlord wins the eviction case, according to the Illinois Attorney General’s website. Additionally, the tenant has 30 days to appeal the decision.

Indiana

Indiana

Downtown Indianapolis skyline at twilight

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Eviction Rate: 4.07 percent
Notice to Vacate: 10 days to pay rent; 30 days to end month-to-month lease (no notice required with cause).

Indiana’s landlord-tenant law focuses on ensuring payment of rent takes place and does not specify many situations in which notice is required for other rental agreement violations. Practice appears to dictate that a landlord should give the tenant a period of time to attempt to remedy the situation, but state law stipulates no notice is needed when the tenant has overstayed a lease term, the tenant neglects to pay rent in advance when it was previously specified or when the tenant “commits waste," or damages the property in some way.

Iowa

Iowa

USA, Iowa, Pella, storefronts lining street

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Eviction Rate: 2.01 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; seven days to remedy rental agreement violation; three- or seven-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Like a few other states, Iowa provides two different periods for an unconditional notice to quit based on the severity of the situation: If the tenant is perceived to be a clear and present danger to other people on the property or the property itself, only three days’ notice is required to sue for eviction.

Kansas

Kansas

Kansas City, Kansas

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Eviction Rate: 2.3 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

The longer notice period to remedy a rental violation in Kansas gives the tenant just 14 days to fix the issue at hand, but it provides for another 16 days to vacate the premises or prepare a defense in the upcoming eviction case. Following the landlord filing in court, the tenant has 10 days to file an answer with the court.

Kentucky

Kentucky

Old historic city downtown of Lexington, Kentucky, USA

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Eviction Rate: 2.91 percent
Notice to Vacate: Seven days to pay rent; 15 days to remedy rental agreement violation; 14-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Kentucky’s unconditional notice to quit exists primarily to allow a landlord to move toward the eviction process if the tenant has repeated the same rental agreement violation more than once in a six-month period.

Louisiana

Louisiana

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Eviction Rate: 2.64 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five-day notice to vacate; 10 days to end month-to-month lease.

Louisiana’s law for eviction does not require the landlord to allow the tenant to remedy the situation or pay back past-due rent. Instead, a simple notice to vacate is required with just five days’ notice. Should the tenant choose to fight eviction, however, there will be at least an additional three days before the court date.

Maine

Maine

Portland, Maine, USA downtown skyline.

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Eviction Rate: 2.26 percent
Notice to Vacate: Seven days to pay rent; seven-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Maine’s state law dictates that the seven-day notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent can only be issued after the rent is already seven days late. With that notice, the tenant can still remedy the situation by paying the overdue amount within the seven days.

Maryland

Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland

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Eviction Rate: 3.56 percent
Notice to Vacate: No notice for nonpayment of rent; 14 days to remedy threat to property or others; 30 days to remedy another rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Maryland is particularly tough on tenants facing income woes, as there is no grace period or chance to pay overdue rent before the landlord can file suit for eviction. Following an eviction case that sides with the landlord, the landlord has five days to file for a warrant of restitution and schedule the local sheriff’s department to facilitate the physical removal of the tenant.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts

A Boston neighborhood.

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Eviction Rate: 1.52 percent
Notice to Vacate: 14 days to pay rent; 30 days to end month-month lease.

Outside of nonpayment of rent, Massachusetts’ state law doesn’t dictate the notice period for other rental agreement violations. Your landlord should specify in the lease agreement how many days to expect for notice – seven days, for example – but beyond paying the rent, the landlord is not required to let you try to remedy the situation and stay in the rental.

Michigan

Michigan

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Eviction Rate: 3.28 percent
Notice to Vacate: Seven days to pay rent; 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation or to end month-to-month lease.

Aside from rent payment issues, tenants in Michigan have longer than most other states. However, Michigan courts also have an expedited lawsuit process for landlords called summary proceedings. So if you’re a tenant who is planning to fight eviction, it’s best to use those 30 days of notice to prepare to argue your side in court.

Minnesota

Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA – June 28, 2015: Central business district of Minneapolis. Together, Minneapolis and St. Paul anchor the second largest economic center in the Midwest behind Chicago.

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Eviction Rate: 0.59 percent
Notice to Vacate: No notice required to pay rent or remedy rental agreement violation; 14 days to pay rent for an unwritten rental agreement; up to three months to end month-to-month lease.

Minnesota’s law on eviction notice is unique, as no notice is required when the tenant has not paid rent or violated the lease, but the suit for eviction can be used as notice and remedied if the court has not yet made a decision. Additionally, ending a month-to-month lease is dictated as requiring notice of the length of time between rent due dates (usually 30 days) or three months, whichever is shorter.

Mississippi

Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi

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Eviction Rate: 3.96 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Similar to other states, Mississippi’s eviction law requires landlords to accept payment of late rent and correction of any rental agreement violation. And he or she does not have the right to move forward with eviction if the tenant does what is needed to remain on the property.

Missouri

Missouri

Last minute vacation in Kansas City, Kansas

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Eviction Rate: 2.85 percent
Notice to Vacate: Notice to vacate or demand for rent; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Missouri does not establish a specific number of days the landlord must wait for the tenant to pay overdue rent or correct a rental agreement violation, but the landlord may establish a waiting period in the original lease agreement. Eviction processes can be expedited in the courts when there is evidence of illegal drug activity on the property, and in some cases the landlord doesn’t even have to be a part of the eviction – a neighborhood organization, like a homeowners association, can evict the tenant for drug activity.

Montana

Montana

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Eviction Rate: 0.86 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent or remedy rental agreement violation; 14 days for other rental agreement violations; five-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Montana distinguishes between levels of rental agreement violation, stipulating that unpaid rent, an unauthorized tenant or pet, property damage or the arrest of the tenant require just three days’ notice.

Nebraska

Nebraska

Omaha downtown

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Eviction Rate: 2.17 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Like Kansas, tenants in Nebraska who have violated their rental agreement may receive a 30-day notice, during which they have the first 14 days to try to remedy the violation. If at the end of 14 days the problem persists, the landlord can sue for eviction at the end of 30 days if the tenant has not already vacated the property.

Nevada

Nevada

Clear winter sky above golf course homes and casino resort towers in Southern Nevada.

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Eviction Rate: 3.41 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent or remedy rental agreement violation; immediate unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Landlords in Nevada have the ability to provide notice for the tenant to immediately vacate the property or face an eviction lawsuit when they have illegally sublet the property, created a nuisance or caused substantial damage or injury to a person on the property.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire

The North Church of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States is a historic church. It is located in Market Square across from the Portsmouth Atheneum. The church features an Italianate edifice and a steeple which can be seen from most of the city. The spire of North Church has been referred to as Portsmouths landmark of record.

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Eviction Rate: 1.7 percent
Notice to Vacate: Seven days to pay rent or unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

The New Hampshire Department of Justice notes on its website that tenants renting on private property occupied by the owner “can be evicted for almost any reason,” though it also lists examples of reasonable cause, including property damage, failure to pay rent or violating the lease agreement. When the tenant is late on rent, he or she can avoid eviction proceedings by paying the overdue amount in full, plus $15, before the last day of the notice.

New Jersey

New Jersey

USA, New Jersey, Trenton, New Jersey State Capitol and Veteran's Memorial, dusk.

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Eviction Rate: 0.01 percent
Notice to Vacate: No notice required to pay rent; three-day unconditional notice to quit; 30-day notice for habitual rental agreement violation; one month to end month-to-month lease.

While the landlord does not need to give notice to a tenant who has missed rent or allow the tenant to pay the overdue amount, the tenant may be able to win the case if he or she can prove the landlord has previously accepted late rent regularly without threats of eviction. Tenants who have lost their eviction case in court may also receive a delay in lockout through the state's Tenant Hardship Act, which allows the judge to keep the tenant from being removed from the property for as long as six months, with certain requirements, including paying back rent.

New Mexico

New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Eviction Rate: 3.18 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; seven days to remedy rental agreement violation; three-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

In New Mexico, notices come with fairly short notice, particularly when breach of contract cannot be remedied, but the state law also stipulates that the tenant can remain in the property during the waiting period for the court date to determine if eviction will take place.

New York

New York

Times Square in New York.

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Eviction Rate: 2.15 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; 30 days unconditional notice of termination following notice to cure rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Tenants who have violated the terms of rental agreements will receive a notice to correct the situation, and if the correction is not made to be in full compliance of the lease, the landlord can issue a 30-day notice of termination. The initial notice to cure does not have a specified minimum time period, but if you feel your landlord did not allow sufficient time to correct the violation, consider disputing the issue in court during the eviction process, which follows the 30-day period after the initial notice.

North Carolina

North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA skyline.

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Eviction Rate: 4.61 percent
Notice to Vacate: 10 days to pay rent or remedy rental agreement violation; seven days to end month-to-month lease.

Tenants who are unable to pay rent in North Carolina have some additional notice to find a new place to live or prepare to fight in eviction court. After the 10 days to pay overdue rent, an additional notice for termination will be issued, either two, seven or 30 days before suit is filed, depending on the length of the lease.

North Dakota

North Dakota

Fargo, ND, USA - July 24, 2015: View of the Northen Pacific Ave in downtown Fargo N. Dakota

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Eviction Rate: Unavailable
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; immediate notice for rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Once you’ve received notice to end tenancy in North Dakota, the landlord has the ability to pursue eviction even if the tenant pays overdue rent or corrects the lease violation within the notice period. For all reasons, the landlord must give notice through writing that the lease is effectively over, and eviction proceedings will begin after the notice period.

Ohio

Ohio

Downtown Columbus, Ohio On A Sunny Summer Day With Reflection In The River.

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Eviction Rate: 3.49 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three-day unconditional notice for all causes; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

In Ohio, notice prior to the start of eviction proceedings does not allow for a grace period in which the tenant can correct an error or make a late payment. Once the landlord files suit for eviction, the court date can be scheduled as quickly as two weeks later.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma

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Eviction Rate: 4.24 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent; 15 days to remedy rental agreement violation; no notice for unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Oklahoma allows landlords to immediately file for eviction with the courts without notice if the tenant has caused harm to a person on the premises or has threatened to do so, or if the tenant is engaged in illegal drug or violent activities on the property.

Oregon

Oregon

Sunrise View of Portland, Oregon from Pittock Mansion.

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Eviction Rate: 1.1 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three or five days to pay rent; 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation; 24-hour unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

The state of Oregon allows the landlord to decide whether three days or five days is enough for the tenant to try to pay back overdue rent. Oregon is one of a few states that notes the courts may require the landlord and tenant to undergo mediation to try to fix the problem, rather than default to an eviction.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Eviction Rate: 1.77 percent
Notice to Vacate: 10 days to pay rent; 15 or 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation.

In Pennsylvania, tenants who have been in a rental longer are allowed a bit more time to try to remedy a lease violation: Tenancy for less than one year guarantees 15 days, while more than one year guarantees 30 days. Following any notice period, eviction hearings are typically scheduled for one or two weeks after filing.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Along the cliff walk in Newport, RI, there are some spectacular residential buildings open for the public to enjoy.

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Eviction Rate: 3.07 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent; 20 days to remedy rental agreement violation; no notice required for unconditional eviction; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

The five-day notice to pay rent can only be issued after the tenant’s rent is 15 days late. Following the notice period, any tenant who does not appear in court to dispute the eviction proceedings will by default lose the case and be formally evicted.

South Carolina

South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, at the historic homes on The Battery.

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Eviction Rate: 8.87 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent; 14 days to remedy rental agreement violation; immediate unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

South Carolina’s law regarding notice to pay rent includes a loophole in which the landlord can include notice for nonpayment of rent in the lease itself. If the lease states that the landlord will file for eviction five days past the rent due date, no other written notice is required before filing with the court.

South Dakota

South Dakota

Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota.

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Eviction Rate: Unavailable
Notice to Vacate: Three-day notice for unpaid rent; no notice required for rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

The three-day notice regarding nonpayment of rent may only be issued after the rent is already three days late in South Dakota, giving the tenant an additional three days to relocate or prepare to fight eviction in court.

Tennessee

Tennessee

Memphis, TN, USA - August 5, 2015: View of Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee

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Eviction Rate: 2.78 percent
Notice to Vacate: 14 days to pay rent or repair damage; 30 days to remedy other rental agreement violations; three-day unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Tennessee places a hard line on illegal drug activity in rental properties; such actions allow for the three-day unconditional notice to quit, while threatening other tenants or committing a violent crime are considered possible to remedy and fall under the 14-day notice to correct behavior. In the case of domestic violence, only the aggressor may be evicted and with a three-day notice to quit.

Texas

Texas

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Eviction Rate: 2.17 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three-day notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent or other rental agreement violation; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

As long as federal Fair Housing laws are properly followed, Texas landlords are permitted to refuse to renew a lease for any reason, and they require little notice and no forgiveness period before moving forward with eviction proceedings.

Utah

Utah

Salt Lake City downtown shot from the Meridian Monument looking to the Main Street

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Eviction Rate: 0.93 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent or remedy rental agreement violation; three-day unconditional notice to quit; 15 days to end month-to-month lease.

While Utah’s notice prior to beginning eviction proceedings primarily sticks to three days whether the cause is nonpayment of rent, a minor rental violation or the tenant has been deemed a nuisance, among other reasons, the distinction between the different reasons for the notice is important when moving forward with formal eviction. As a result, Utah differentiates between notices to remedy a violation and unconditional situations like committing a criminal act on the premises or subletting the space without permission.

Vermont

Vermont

Burlington, Vermont, United States, New England, North America

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Eviction Rate: 0.09 percent
Notice to Vacate: 14 days to pay rent; 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation; 14 days unconditional notice to quit; 60 or 90 days to end month-to-month lease.

Vermont’s law helps ease the burden of long-term, month-to-month tenants by requiring as much as three months’ notice to require them to move should the landlord no longer wish to rent to them.

Virginia

Virginia

"The skyline of the city of Rosslyn, Virginia in the Washington DC metropolitan area (just across the Potomac River from the city of Washington DC.)"

(Getty Images)

Eviction Rate: 5.12 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent; 30 days to remedy rental agreement violation; 30 days or none for unconditional notice to quit; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Regarding cases of illegal drug activity on the property, the 30-day unconditional notice to quit is no longer necessary and the landlord can start eviction proceedings without providing any notice to the tenant.

Washington

Washington

Seattle, Washington during the commuting hour with the downtown area and Century Link field, home of the NFL football Seahawks, on the left.

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Eviction Rate: 0.82 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three days to pay rent; 10 days to remedy rental agreement violation; three-day unconditional notice to quit; 20 days to end month-to-month lease.

Washington stipulates an unconditional notice to quit is warranted when the tenant commits a crime or creates a nuisance on the property.

West Virginia

West Virginia

Charleston West Virginia

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Eviction Rate: 3.52 percent
Notice to Vacate: No notice required to evict with cause; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

West Virginia is one of the five states (the others being Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri and New Jersey) that requires no written or verbal notice to the tenant to file suit for eviction due to nonpayment of rent or other rental agreement violation.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin

A vivid, photo taken from an airplane of downtown Madison, Wisconsin in spring.

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Eviction Rate: 1.89 percent
Notice to Vacate: Five days to pay rent; five- or 14-day unconditional notice to quit; 28 days to end month-to-month lease.

Tenants who are behind on rent may receive a five-day notice, which allows them to pay rent and stay in the home, or they may receive a 14-day notice, which does not allow them to try to remedy the situation. This is also the case for other rental agreement violations for tenants with a fixed-term lease. But month-to-month tenants violating their agreement only receive 14 days’ notice to vacate. Additionally, tenants reported by the police to be involved in drug- or gang-related activities can receive a five-day notice to vacate.

Wyoming

Wyoming

Cheyenne downtown skyline with train cars, houses, and trees in view.

(Getty Images)

Eviction Rate: 0.88 percent
Notice to Vacate: Three-day notice to quit with cause; 30 days to end month-to-month lease.

Wyoming does not require landlords to allow for any grace period to correct a rental agreement violation, including paying overdue rent. Instead, state law establishes that after three days (or 30 days for a month-to-month tenant who has not violated his or her lease), the landlord can file for eviction.

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Updated on Oct. 11, 2018: This article was originally published on Dec. 23, 2015, and has been updated with new information.

Tags: real estate, housing, renting, Department of Housing and Urban Development, discrimination, law


Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.