Demand for Compliance or Possession vs. Notice to Quit: What’s the Difference?

Filed Under (Eviction) on 06-05-2012

3 Day Notice, Notice to Quit, Eviction Forms Using Eviction Forms in Colorado

By Victor Grimm, Esq. , and Rachel Brand

Noisy parties. Unpaid rent. Drugs or violence. All of these likely constitute lease violations, and, as a landlord, you may choose to respond to them with a Demand for Compliance or Possession or a Notice to Quit.

Simply put, the Demand for Compliance or Possession gives your tenants a chance to fix the problem and remain your tenants; the Notice to Quit doesn’t.  It simply tells them to move out.

Because these are legal tools, special rules govern how and when you can use them. 

Which Notice Do I Use?

It’s the first time your tenant has broken the lease. Or the violation is against the rules but still legal and you want to offer a chance to fix a problem.

In this case, you’d ask your tenant to fix the problem within a certain time frame – or move out – by serving a Demand for Compliance or Possession. This document is also known as a Notice to Cure or 3-Day Notice.

Most landlords serve it and hope tenants comply within three days without having to take the next step, which is court action.

Notice to Quit

If your tenant has repeatedly violated the lease or committed a “substantial” lease violation, you may want him or her to move out.  A Notice to Quit gives your tenants no alternatives and simply tells them that their tenancy is terminated.  It then requires that tenants move out of the rental property by a certain date.

The Notice to Quit can only be used under certain circumstances.

One: in the case of multiple lease violations for the same thing. (This does not include being late on the rent.)

Two: if your tenant has “substantially violated” the lease.

In simple terms, a substantial violation is violent and occurs on the property; is a violent or drug-related felony; or carries a sentence of 180 days or more, or is a public nuisance. There are some defenses against substantial violations, too, such as if your tenant is a domestic violence victim, or if your tenants did not commit the crime and promptly reported it to the police. 

What’s Next?

It’s important to remember neither notice – in itself – will move out your tenants.  Rather, they serve as a warning to your tenants that if they don’t comply, the courts will be involved.

For more information about what constitutes a substantial violation and how to serve these notices, see the Landlord & Tenant Guide to Colorado Leases and Evictions, 5th Edition, by Victor M. Grimm, Esq. and Denise E. Grimm.