How to Write a Pay or Quit Notice

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If a tenant does not pay you rent, you can attempt to force payment by sending him a legal document known as a pay-or-quit notice. This gives the tenant a certain number of days to either pay the rent he owes you or move out of the rental property. If he doesn't pay or move out, you can start the eviction process. Different states may have varying laws and regulations relating to the pay-or-quit notice.

Contact your local housing authority to obtain details about the contents of the pay-or-quit notice and the procedures of delivering the notice.

Write the title "Pay or Quit Notice" across the top of the letter. Depending on your state, you may word the title differently. For example, you have to write "Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit" in California.

Write the name of each of your tenants and the address of the rental property.

State the amount of rent the tenant owes you. List the rent amount and the due date for each missed payment, then add up the total amount owed. You may not be able to include owed amounts other than rent in this notice, such as late charges, damages and utilities. You may also not be able to include all owed rents, for example if the tenant still owes you rent that was due more than one year ago.

Demand that the tenant pay the full stated amount within a certain number of days as determined by your state laws. For example, you have to give the tenant three days in California, five days in Illinois and Nevada and up to 15 days in some other states. Include the payment details, such as the address to which the tenant can deliver the money or a mailing address if you allow payment by check.

State clearly that if the tenant does not pay, he has to move out of the rental property and forfeit the lease.

Sign and date the pay-or-quit notice.


  • Your state laws may require that you include other details in the notice.

    You may have to deliver the pay or quit notice in certain ways. For example, you may have to give it to the tenant in person and someone must witness the exchange, or you may have to get a sheriff's deputy to deliver the notice for you.