My Landlord Gave Me a Notice to Vacate, Do I Need to Leave?


Whether a tenant is required to leave after receiving a notice to vacate depends on several factors.  However, it is NEVER lawful for a landlord to evict a residential tenant without first obtaining a court ordered judgment for possession and warrant of restitution. Accordingly, a landlord can never force a tenant to leave immediately.

Holding Over

If the landlord wants the tenant to vacate because the lease is expired and the landlord no longer wants to lease to the tenant, then the landlord must deliver at least thirty (30) days’ notice of its desire for the tenant to vacate. State law requires at least thirty (30) days, but certain counties require a longer notice period. If the tenant fails to leave after thirty (30) days (or the longer period required by county law), then the landlord can file a Complaint and Summons Against Tenant Holding Over (District Court form DC/CV 80). If the lease is expired and proper notice was given, then the court must issue an order awarding the landlord possession.  Click here for more information on eviction due to an expired lease.

Breach of Lease

In order for a landlord to require the tenant to vacate due to a breach of the lease, the lease must state that the landlord can require the tenant to vacate due to a breach of lease and the landlord must give the required notice to the tenant. The law requires the landlord to give at least thirty (30) days written notice of the violation, unless the breach involves clear and imminent danger to persons or property.  If such danger is present, then the notice period is only fourteen (14) days. 


If the tenant has not vacated or if the breach continues at the end of the notice period, then the landlord must file a breach of lease action pursuant to Real Property § 8-402.1 in order to evict the tenant.  If the court determines that the tenant breached the terms of the lease and that the breach was substantial and warrants an eviction, the court shall give judgment for the restitution of the possession of the premises. Tenants may avoid eviction by proving that the breach is no longer occurring or that the breach was not substantial and does not warrant eviction.

Failure to Pay Rent

In order for a landlord to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent, the landlord must follow the procedure for filing Form DC-CV-082, Failure to Pay Rent - Landlord’s Complaint for Repossession of Rented Property.


This information is to provide general information about the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher or any attorney contributor. The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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