My Landlord Just Gave Me a 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
If you rent the place where you live and you got a 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate from your landlord, learn what that is and what you should do about it. #6354EN
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I live in the state of Washington, should I read this? +
Yes, if you rent the place where you live and you just got a 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate from your landlord.
No, if you own the mobile home you live in, and rent the lot. Instead, read My Manufactured/Mobile Home Park Landlord Just Gave Me a 20-Day Notice to Pay or Vacate and talk to a lawyer right away. Contact information is below.
What will I learn by reading this? +
What this notice is
What to do if you get this notice from your landlord
Where to get legal help
What is a 10-Day Notice to Vacate? +
It is a warning from your landlord. A landlord who believes you are substantially breaking the rules of your lease, other than not paying rent, may give you this type of notice.
The notice should tell you exactly which important (“material”) part of the rental agreement the landlord believes you are breaking. You then have 10 days from the date you got the notice to stop breaking the rules.
Example: Your lease states that people who are not listed on the lease cannot stay for more than one week. Your landlord might give you a 10-Day Notice, stating you have “unauthorized occupants.” You would then have 10 days to ask your guest to leave, or your landlord may file an eviction lawsuit against you.
The landlord must win an eviction lawsuit against you and get a judge to sign an order directing the sheriff to evict you.
If you fix the problem within 10 days of getting the notice, your landlord should stop the eviction process.
What if I live in a Housing Authority unit or have Section 8? +
A landlord may also give you a 10-Day Notice if you substantially violate a material requirement of a government (subsidized) housing program. If this happens to you, you may have more rights that we don’t describe here. Read HUD Housing Evictions and/or Evictions from Public Housing (Housing Owned by a Housing Authority) to learn more.
What if I don't agree that I am breaking a rule? +
Write the landlord a letter stating that you disagree with (dispute) the notice. Keep a copy of your letter. Then try to get legal help. Contact information is below.
Does the 10-Day Notice have to be delivered in a certain way? +
The landlord (or their employee or another adult) can "personally serve" you at home by handing the notice to you. The landlord can also hand it to another adult or older teenager who lives with you. The landlord can also tape it on your door, but then they must also mail a copy to you.
A 10-Day Notice that is by text, voicemail, email or in person is not a proper notice. It does not start the eviction process.
*The notice does not have to be notarized.
Can my landlord evict me just by giving me this notice? +
No. Washington law does not let landlords evict tenants without following the proper court eviction process. The landlord must give you a proper written “termination” notice before the landlord can start an eviction lawsuit. The 10-day Notice to Comply or Vacate is one type of termination notice.
The landlord must also give you official court papers called a “Summons” and “Complaint.” These papers may require you to send a response to your landlord or their lawyer. The landlord needs to have these documents delivered to you if your landlord wants to have the case heard in court.
My landlord gave me one of these notices. I was able to work things out with the landlord before the landlord filed an eviction lawsuit. What happens if I get another one? +
If you get four valid, properly served 10-Day Notices to Comply or Vacate within one year, the landlord can end your tenancy with a 60-Day Notice to Terminate before the end of the fixed term or period. The notices must all be about different incidents.
Get Legal Help +
Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help.