According to the Attorney General of Maryland, a notice to vacate is a written notice given by the landlord of a property stating that the tenant has a specific amount of time to vacate the premises. Notices to vacate are given prior to a lease ending or when a landlord starts an eviction process for non-payment of rent or breach of lease by the tenant or tenants.
According to the Eller Law Firm in Washington, landlords who wish to evict tenants for non-payment of rent must issue a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate the premises. Three-day notices are often referred to as "pay rent or quit" notices. The notice must be served properly and the tenant must be allowed to stay on as a renter if he pays the rent within the allotted amount of time.
For those living in Massachusetts, MassLegalHelp.org explains that landlords must serve a notice to vacate prior to starting eviction proceedings. Thirty-day notices to quit or vacate are required in the event of a rental increase or the expiration of a lease. If a tenant has the option to renew his lease prior to the expiration date and fails to do so, the landlord has the right to start eviction proceedings the day after the lease ends.