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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


to cancel or rescind, make void or of no effect.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Jagannath Mishra said Nitish Kumar would not vacate the bungalow because the Assembly elections were only six months away.
2003) ("[J]urisdiction to vacate a final decision of the court of appeals arises under Minnesota Rule of Civil Appellate Procedure 102....
When the YSRCP won recently held Assembly elections and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy came to power, Naidu was served notices to vacate the building citing illegal construction as it was built on the river embankment area of Krishna, below the permissible limits.
Last Tuesday, August 15, at around 5:45 p.m., Sunvar and 'all persons claiming rights under it' was served at Mile Long with a 'Notice to Vacate' the premises within three days.
His condition is that Kumar should first vacate his palatial bungalow which was allotted to him in the capacity of former chief minister.
He wants Nitish to vacate the 7, Circular Road house first.
New Delhi [India], Jan 6 ( ANI ): The Associated Journals Limited (AJL), publisher of National Herald newspaper, on Saturday approached the double bench of the Delhi High Court challenging single bench's order asking it to vacate Herald House.
FIA offices, PID office issued notices to vacate federal govt properties KARACHI: More than 7,882 federal government accommodations are illegally occupied in the financial hub of the country, located in the heart of Karachi and land cost could be worth trillions of rupees.The federal government has yet to recover around Rs 3.
ATTOCK -- MNA Major (r) Tahir Sadiq, won two national and one provincial seats from Attock district, decided to retain NA-55 and vacate NA-56 as well as PP-3 seats.
CDA on Thursday issued a final notice to the occupants of Parliament Lodges to vacate the property within 24 hours by 9AM on Friday.
Datuk Johari Abdul today revealed that up to five MPs from PKR will offer to vacate their seats to enable the return of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a lawmaker.
HYDERABAD:The Sindh High Court has ordered SSP Naushahro Feroze district to vacate a quarter of Sindh Irrigation Department in the district's Barrage Colony and produce the policeman occupying it before the court.