My landlord just gave me a 3-Day Notice to Quit

If you rent the place where you live and you got a 3-Day Notice to Quit from your landlord, learn what that is and what you should do about it. #6352EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, if you rent the place where you live and you just got a 3-Day Notice to Quit from your landlord.

No, if you own the mobile home you live in, and you rent the lot. Read My Landlord Just Threatened to Evict Me from my Manufactured/Mobile Home Park instead and talk to a lawyer right away. Contact information is below.

  • What this notice means

  • What to do if you get this notice from your landlord

  • Where to get legal help

It is a written demand from your landlord. A landlord can give you this type of notice for "creating a waste or nuisance." A landlord will give you this notice if the landlord believes you are:

  • Severely damaging or destroying the property or letting someone else do this.

  • Committing unlawful activity on the property that affects the use and enjoyment of the premises by others.

  • Taking part in gang-related activity that threatens property or the safety of others at the property. 

  • Interfering substantially and repeatedly with others' use of the property.

If you get this type of notice, you do not get a chance to fix the problem and stay. Try to get legal help right away if you get this type of notice. See contact information below.

The legal meaning of this word is different from its everyday use. Here, it means doing or not doing something that

  • Unreasonably and substantially interferes with someone else's ability to use and enjoy the property, or

  • Causes injury to property.

It can be a physical act, such as having garbage and debris all over the property. Or it can be something else that causes harm to the landlord or other person, such as loud noise or foul and offensive odors coming from your apartment.

It is not enough that it just inconveniences or offends another person's taste. There must be actual injury to property or something that causes extreme physical discomfort.

It is usually not a single isolated incident.

Your landlord should not send you a 3-Day Notice to Quit based on nuisance if you have broken a term of the lease that you can fix, such as no pets or no smoking. Breaking a rule on the lease is rarely a nuisance.

No. A nuisance must be unreasonable. It must have the potential to put someone else's safety or health at risk to be a legal nuisance.

This type of noise complaint is part of ordinary life. It would not seriously harm or injure someone else. It is not a nuisance.

However, if you have your TV at a very loud volume, it is repeatedly on, at loud volume during quiet hours, and this does not let others sleep, a landlord may try to claim this is a "nuisance."

Talk to a lawyer right away about your case and what the notice claims you have done. It may not be enough to be legal nuisance. It depends on the specific situation.

The legal meaning of this word is also different from its everyday use.

A landlord can only evict a tenant because of "waste" if the landlord has proof that the tenant significantly damaged the property and harmed the landlord.

  • It must be serious and permanent physical damage to the property through the tenant's abuse or neglect.

  • It must cause value of the property to go down.

Everyday or routine property damage or damage from normal wear and tear is not "waste."

Talk to a lawyer right away about your case and what the notice claims you have done. It may not be enough to be legal "waste." It depends on the specific situation.


The notice must include enough details and specifics for you to defend yourself against the landlord's claims. A notice should include facts such as times and dates of any conduct or incidents the landlord claims you were involved in.  

A notice that just gives vague claims and/or no facts is not enough.  A notice that states only that you were "engaging in illegal activity," "engaging in criminal activity," or "being a threat to the safety of others" is not a proper notice.

Yes. Your landlord (or their employee or another adult) can "personally serve" you at home by handing you the notice.

The landlord can also hand it to another adult or older teenager living with you. If your landlord does this "substitute service," your landlord must also send a copy of the notice to you.  

If the landlord tries but fails to have you personally served, the landlord can then "serve" the notices by taping them on your door, but then they must also mail a copy to you.

No. A 3-Day Notice that is sent by text, voicemail, email, or in person is not a proper notice. It does not start the eviction process.


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 starting an eviction lawsuit. The 3-Day Notice to Quit is one type of termination notice.

If you are still living in the place after 3 days, your landlord can start an eviction lawsuit against you. The landlord does this by giving you official court papers called a "Summons" and "Complaint." These papers may require you to send a response to your landlord or their lawyer.

Your landlord must win an eviction lawsuit against you and get a judge to sign an order directing the sheriff to evict you. Only the sheriff can formally evict you or change the locks on the rental.

If you want to fight the eviction lawsuit, talk to a lawyer right away. You will need to be able to prove your case in court. This means giving the court evidence proving you did not create waste or a nuisance. It can also mean having witnesses with personal knowledge about the facts testify.

A lawyer can help you with these things. See contact information below. Read Getting Ready for a Court Hearing or Trial to get an idea of what you will need to do to fight the eviction in court.

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Feb 13, 2023
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