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To annul, set aside, or render void; to surrender possession or occupancy.

The term vacate has two common usages in the law. With respect to real property, to vacate the premises means to give up possession of the property and leave the area totally devoid of contents. To vacate a court order or judgment means to cancel it or render it null and void.

A person may vacate property voluntarily or involuntarily through the issuance of an eviction order by a court. Rental and lease agreements usually contain a provision concerning when and how the tenant is to vacate the premises at the end of the lease period. Many landlords require renters to make damage deposits, which are refunded after the tenant vacates the property if the landlord determines that no serious damage has been done and that the renter has not left behind Personal Property that must be disposed of by the landlord. Otherwise, the landlord may keep all or a portion of the deposit.

The other common legal usage of vacate refers to the canceling or rescinding of court judgments and orders. State and federal rules of Civil Procedure give courts the authority to modify prior judgments. A judgment is the definitive act in a lawsuit that puts an end to the litigation by specifically granting or denying the relief requested by the parties. Once a judgment granting relief has been entered, the plaintiff may legally collect the damages awarded by the court.

A motion to vacate a judgment must be based on a substantial issue. Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a federal court to relieve a party from an adverse judgment on various grounds including Fraud, mistake, newly discovered evidence, and satisfaction of the judgment.

Another common ground for seeking a motion to vacate is the failure to provide the person against whom the judgment is entered with sufficient notice of the action. If, for example, the plaintiff claims that after making a Good Faith effort, he cannot locate the defendant to serve notice of the pending action, the court may permit service by publication in a newspaper. On the day of the hearing, if the defendant does not appear, the court may enter a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff. However, if the defendant discovers the judgment has been filed, she can make a motion to vacate. The defendant might argue that the plaintiff could have easily served the papers personally and given the defendant the opportunity to appear in court and argue the merits of the case.

Courts are generally reluctant to grant a motion to vacate a judgment, especially on the ground of newly discovered evidence. A court will not grant a motion to vacate where the complaining litigant failed to exercise due diligence in securing the evidence in sufficient time to offer it in the original lawsuit. Some jurisdictions do not allow any judgments to be vacated due to newly discovered evidence.


Landlord and Tenant.


v. 1) for a judge to set aside or annul an order or judgment which he/she finds was improper. 2) to move out of real estate and cease occupancy.


(Leave), verb abandon, cease, depart, depart from, desert, empty, evacuate, exit, forgo, go away, move, move out, quit, relinquish, remove, retreat, surrender, withdraw
Associated concepts: vacate premises


(Void), verb abandon, abdicate, abolish, annul, cancel, countermand, deprive of force, disannul, do away with, eliminate, evacuate, invalidate, make void, negate, nullify, overrule, quash, recant, relinquish, renner inoperative, repeal, rescind, retract, reverse, revoke, set aside
Associated concepts: vacate a default, vacate a judgment, vacate an award, vacate an order, vacate occupancy, vacate office
See also: abandon, abolish, abrogate, adeem, avoid, cancel, cease, depart, disappear, discharge, discontinue, dismiss, disown, evacuate, leave, move, negate, nullify, quash, quit, recant, relinquish, renege, repeal, rescind, resign, retire, retreat, revoke, secede, withdraw


to cancel or rescind, make void or of no effect.

TO VACATE. To annul, to render an act void; as to vacate an entry which has been made on a record when the court has been imposed upon by fraud, or taken by surprise.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Nitish Kumar government has also served notices on three former ministers, known to be Manjhi's supporters, to vacate the bungalows.
Appellate review, of course, includes the power to vacate any order or judgment properly before the appellate court.
Manjhi said that the notice to the ministers to vacate their bungalows underlined the vindictive nature of the Nitish government.
Raut, who was among the Sena leaders that visited the Shivaji Park on Saturday, warned the civic authorities against any efforts to vacate the place forcibly.
Several former MPs, including ministers, have been issued notice to vacate their official bungalows in the posh Lutyens' Zone in the heart of the National Capital.
Earlier, the residents of the buildings declared dangerous in Rawal Town had been directed to vacate their houses and shift some safe places.
The hospital's doctor incharge, paramedics and their families had unilaterally taken up accommodation in its rooms, disregarding a previous notice to vacate the wards.
While the commissioners have indicated their intent to do otherwise, a vote to vacate the government center would be the first step in a process that could lead to non-appropriation of the county's lease payments on the COPs.
As per the agreements between DoT and the defence ministry in May last year, of the total 12 blocks of spectrum -- 60 MHz -- available with the armed forces, the forces would vacate four blocks or 20 MHz by August- end and one more -- five MHz -- by December, 2012.
The space they will vacate at 520 Madison Avenue will be occupied by Jeffries & Company, which will move from 650 Fifth Avenue, where its space is probably going to be swallowed by a tenant already in the building.
NYSE: BA) today announced it will vacate more than 1.
The Chairman said that the authority has formulated a strategy to vacate the land under adverse possession to carry out the development in the stalled sector.