By Denise Supplee
Some states, but not all, permit a “waiver of notice” clause in the lease or rental agreement, which can save the landlord time and effort if eviction becomes necessary. A “waiver of notice” in the lease agreement means that if a breach or violation of a lease occurs, that tenant has given up (waived) their right to receive notification of the violation, and allows the landlord to begin the eviction process without providing the tenant without any prior notice or warnings.
For example, in Pennsylvania, where waiver of notice clauses are permitted in lease agreements, the notice period for non-payment of rent is 10 days' notice, which the landlord can skip entirely and simply file for eviction if their lease includes a waiver of notice clause. But if the landlord sends the prescribed Pennsylvania 10 Day Notice to Pay or Quit, out of kindness or courtesy, they must now wait the full 10 day waiting period. Just because a landlord has included the waiver of notice clause in their lease does not entitle that landlord to provide a 5 day advance notice, for example, instead of the normal 10 days' notice. If a landlord still desires to send notice, it must be exactly as spelled out in the state’s statute.
In Florida, notice of waiver clauses are not permitted in lease agreements according to Florida statute § 83.47(1)(a), which states “a provision in a rental agreement is void and unenforceable to the extent that it purports to waive or preclude the rights, remedies, or requirements set forth in this part.” A Florida landlord who does not send proper notice to a tenant before starting the eviction process risks losing time and money in having to begin the process all over again.
Regardless of whether a “waiver of notice” is included or not in a rental agreement, a landlord may never take matters into their own hands and “self-evict.” Landlords cannot cut off any utility services such as water or electricity, they cannot change locks, enter a rental unit and remove items, or threaten or abuse a tenant (in the tradition of a New York landlord who entered the rental unit in the middle of the night swinging a chain and dousing several tenants in gasoline). Every landlord must go through the legal court process to evict and have a tenant removed by law enforcement.
Note: EZ Landlord Forms leases automatically include waiver of notice clauses for those states that allow them.