MontanaLawHelp.orgMontana

What is a Legal Notice to Vacate?

Authored By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) LSC Funded
Contents

 

If you rent a place to live in Montana, this article can help you:

  • Learn what Montana law says is a valid notice to vacate
  • Download a free form that you can send to your landlord to tell them if the notice they sent you wasn’t valid. 

 

Introduction:

This article only covers Montana law. If you rent somewhere else, you’ll want to find legal help in your state. There are different laws if you own your mobile home and only rent the lot or if you get a federal rent subsidy like Section 8 or Housing Choice Voucher. If that’s the case for you, check out our section on mobile homes or our other section on Section 8 Housing. If you’ve been served with eviction court papers, this article isn’t right for you and you should go to 5 Steps to Take When Served with Eviction Court Papers in Montana

If your landlord is asking you to move out, they must first give you a written notice. The notice will tell you that they’re terminating your rental agreement in so many days. Sometimes the notice is called a notice to vacate or a notice of termination. The notice is usually a letter from the landlord.   

 

For a notice to be valid it must:

  • Be in writing, handwritten is OK. Text messages or emails are also OK. Using a fill-in-the-blank form notice is OK.
  • Say how many days you have to move out. The number of days depends upon the reason for termination. We have more information about how many days the landlord must give you in our Learn More section below. 
  • Give you the opportunity to fix the problem, if the law requires the landlord to give you that opportunity. We have more information about this in the Learn More section below. 
  • Be delivered to you. The notice can be delivered to you by any method as long as you actually receive it. The notice can be posted on your door (if you actually see it), given to you by hand, or mailed to you. It does not have to be served on you by a process server or law enforcement officer. It does not have to mailed to you by certified mail.

 

You can find the law that says what a valid notice is at Montana Code Annotated (M.C.A.) § 70-24-108. The § is a symbol that means section. 70 is the Title number. 24 is the Chapter number. 

If you have received a notice to vacate from your landlord and you don’t think it’s valid, you can skip to the bottom of this article to download our free form letter to tell your landlord that the notice they gave you isn’t proper under the law. 

If you still have questions, keep reading to learn more. 

 


Learn More

 

How many days' advance notice of termination is required?

The number of days depends on the reason for the termination. Section 70-24-422, Montana Code Annotated (M.C.A.) gives the time limits for different reasons for termination.

 

Terminations for no reason:

 

Month-to-month:

If you have a month-to-month rental agreement, either you or your landlord can end the rental agreement for no reason. You or the landlord must give the other party 30 days advance written notice. If you want to avoid an eviction lawsuit, you need to move out before the 30 days are up. 

 

Week-to-week: 

If you have a week-to-week rental agreement, either you or your landlord can terminate the rental agreement for no reason. You or the landlord must give the other party 7 days advance written notice. If you want to avoid an eviction lawsuit, you need to move out before the 7 days are up. 

 

Termination for a violation:

A landlord can end your rental agreement if you violate your rental agreement. Below are some of the violations that may cause a landlord to end your rental agreement. The days in this chart all refer to calendar days.

 

 Reason for Termination 
 When Rental  
 Agreement Ends:

 Non-payment of rent

 If you don't pay the rent 
 in 3 days after receiving 
 the landlord’s notice

 Repeat violation happening within 6 months, if you   
 were already given a notice before

 5 days

 Activity on the premises that creates reasonable   
 potential of damage to premises or injury to neighbors, 
 such as gang activity, drug activity, unlawful firearm or   
 explosive or toxic substances

 3 days

 Unauthorized pet or person

 If you don't get rid of the 
 pet or person in 3 days

 Damaging the rental

 3 days

 Any other noncompliance or violation not specified by 
 law (catch-all)

14 days

 


 

Take Action

 

Legal Form

If you believe that the notice to vacate that your landlord gave you isn’t valid, you can send your landlord our Improper Notice to Vacate Letter

 

Legal Help

If you have any questions, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer. 

  • Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) gives free civil, non-criminal legal help to eligible clients. Learn more about how to apply for free legal help
  • If you are eligible for Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA), you may be able to get free legal advice from a volunteer attorney by email using Ask Karla
  • The State Bar Lawyer Referral Service may give you contact information for attorneys who provide, for a fee, the type of assistance you are seeking. You can contact the State Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (406) 449-6577 or montanabar.org

 


Last Review and Update: Feb 26, 2019
LiveHelp

Contacting the LiveHelp service...