The time has come for you to move to your new place, but before you pack up out of your current rental unit, you will need to give your landlord a notice of your intent to vacate the apartment. If you’re not sure what a notice to vacate is or how to write one, this post has got you covered.
What is a notice to vacate?
A notice to vacate is a lease termination written statement granted from a tenant to a landlord informing them you intend to move out of your apartment within a specified amount of time, based on your lease agreement.
This letter is required for most apartments, no matter how long or shorts the lease is. A notice to vacate letter can also be referred to as a letter to vacate premises, a move-out notice, or a notice of intent to vacate.
Once you’ve decided to move out and have established how far in advance you must inform your landlord, you will need to give your notice to vacate. Follow these steps to make sure you’re going against any terms or conditions of your rental agreement:
1. Read your rental agreement thoroughly
Read your rental agreement to understand all the details contained within it. It’s not uncommon to find apartment buildings that rent to tenants on a month-to-month basis requiring that you give at least a 30-day move-out notice to landlords, but this could vary. If your lease agreement requires a 60-day notice, make sure you follow it.
If you signed an apartment rental lease agreeing to live in an apartment for a specific length of time and you’ve still got a long way to go before it’s up, you’ll want to discuss the available options with your landlord first to see if you can reach a reasonable solution that will allow you to move out without having to worry about getting sued for breaking the lease.
That said, if you end up breaking your lease early, you may face financial consequences. If you read through your rental agreement, you’ll come across a section that outlines the break lease clause. This clause should clearly outline the consequences you can expect to face- you may have to pay penalties for ending your lease early. In some cases, landlords allow renters to break the lease early without facing penalties, as long as they give a 60-day move-out notice and a break lease fee.
Another section within your lease agreement that you should pay close attention to is the delivery clause. This section delineates how your notice to vacate should be delivered to your landlord. You may need to deliver it in person or by mail via certified letter.
2. Always put your notice to vacate in writing
Make your intent to move out official by putting it in writing. A 30-day notice can be handwritten, but it’s better to type it as it will not only look more official but also leave less room for someone to misread what you wrote.
Although you always have the option to send your landlord a notice to vacate via mail, you might not want to rely on that. In most cases, you want to make sure the landlord receives their notice by mail. This is due to the way that legal documents are usually processed, and it’s even more effective if your landlord signs the letter on delivery or you deliver it in person.
Although their specific format required for creating a letter to vacate, there are some legal elements it must have:
3. Include the date you’ll vacate the property
Make sure you check your lease before you determine your move-out date. Your lease may require that you send a notice a specific number of days before the lease expires so that it isn’t automatically renewed.
4. Date the letter
Always include the date to prove your letter to vacate was delivered in good time.
5. Include your landlord’s address/property address
Go over your lease carefully to find the landlord’s address – you’ll often find that it’s not the same address where you send the rent checks, especially if the landlord has multiple properties or works with a property management company.
6. Final walkthrough request
Most landlords will require a final walkthrough after you’ve moved all your belongings out of the property. You should schedule a walkthrough with your landlord so that he/she can return your security deposit in good time.
7. Relevant lease clauses
It may be worth referencing one or more clauses from your lease agreement that indicate the amount of notice you’ll need to give before terminating the lease, and whether or not you need to schedule a walkthrough.
8. Forwarding address
The forwarding address is where you’ll receive your security deposit check and any other mail that you’ll need to be sent your way.
9. The importance of keeping records
Make sure you make a copy of the notice to vacate letter and keep it safe for your records. If you need to send the letter to an out-of-state address, keep in mind that you’ll need to allow an extra seven days for it to arrive by mail. Also, you’ll want to send the 30-day notice with delivery confirmation so that there’s proof the intended recipient received it.
Sample Notice to vacate letter Template
Below is a sample notice to vacate letter to help you get started. Simply replace the fields with your information and you’re ready to go.
NOTICE OF INTENT TO VACATE
[Current Address of Your Apartment, unit number]
[City, State, ZIP Code]
[Date] (Make sure that the date of your letter is at least 30 days from your scheduled move-out date. If your rental agreement requires that you have to provide a different length of notice, be careful to note this.)
[Landlord Or Apartment Company’s Name]
[Landlord’s Address as stated on your lease]
[City, State, and ZIP Code]
Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate
Dear [Landlord’s name/Property Manager’s name/Apartment Manager’s name]
As stipulated by my rental agreement, I am providing this letter as a [specified number]-day notice that I will be moving out of my apartment on [date], terminating my lease that began on [date]. This written notification shall serve as my official intent to vacate the premises.
[if you’re breaking the lease because there are issues with the apartment or the landlord somehow defaulted on the agreement, state them here.]
I will deliver the keys for the property to the main office on or before the date indicated above. Please contact me at [phone number] to schedule a walk-through inspection. Please send my deposit and any other money owed to me to the forwarding address below.
[Enter your new address]
If, for any reason, you believe the security deposit should be held back as per the rental agreement, please contact me with an itemized list.
If any other questions or issues arise, please feel free to contact me on [email] or [phone]
Can landlords also give the notice to vacate letter to tenants?
In some cases, a notice to vacate may be used to refer to a lease termination letter written by a landlord to a tenant.
When can a landlord give the notice to vacate letter?
This type of notice is typically used by landlords in the following cases:
1. If the landlord doesn’t wish to renew a lease
Has the landlord decided not to renew the lease, and you’re required to vacate the property at the end of the tenancy period? If so, the landlord should send a notice to vacate with a minimum of 30 days notice to end the lease agreement terms upon your moving out..
2. To terminate a periodic tenancy
Periodic tenancies such as month-to-month tenancies don’t have the long-term stability of a longer lease agreement. As a result, landlords must give tenants sufficient notice when they want them to move out. Giving notice within reasonable time will allow tenants to come to the landlord with any concerns or questions and also start preparing to find somewhere else to live.
3. If lease terms were broken
If the tenant broke the terms of the lease agreement but you don’t think that they need to be urgently evicted for these issues, you can give a notice to vacate. Your notice should detail the reasons the lease agreement will be rendered invalid. If the tenant is unwilling to comply, you could then proceed to file for an eviction.
4. To evict a tenant
Sometimes a landlord may need to issue a notice to remove a tenant that hasn’t vacated the property after the expiration of the rental agreement.
5. No cause termination
In some areas, a landlord is required to provide a specific reason for terminating a lease agreement. In some states, you may be able to end a lease agreement at any time for any reason. That said, you’ll still need to give tenants enough notice to move out of the property and find somewhere else to leave.
6. You simply don’t intend to rent anymore
A landlord may issue a notice to vacate whenever they decide to remodel, sell, or remove the property from the rental market.
How much notice should you give tenants?
When you’re composing a notice to vacate or a lease termination letter, you always want to be aware of how much notice you need to give to your tenants. The two most commonly used types are 30-day notices and 60-day notices.
The type of notice you opt to use is dependent on state and local laws impacting your rental unit. Some states require landlords to give more notice than others, so you will want to make sure that you’re not breaking any rules.
Always aim to let your tenant know of your intent to have them vacate the property as soon as possible. The more time you allow for your tenant, the more opportunity you have to work out any potential issues before the move out date.
How to write a notice to vacate letter to tenants
As a landlord, there are a few specific things you must make sure to include the following information:
1. Basic identifying information
Any notice to vacate letter needs to include the following basic identifying information:
- The property address
- Landlord name and contact information
- Tenancy period
- Tenant names and contact information
2. Termination information
You also want to detail why the tenant is being asked to vacate the rental unit. There are multiple reasons you might feel like this type of notice is necessary – the most important thing is that the information is as clear as possible.
3. Move out date and process
In this section, provide the following details:
- What date they need to move out by
- When a walk-through inspection will occur
- What to expect from the move-out process
- What will happen with the security deposit
4. Questions and concerns
Finally, make sure to include information about who the tenant can contact in case they have any questions and concerns regarding the notice to vacate.
One of the first things you should do when you’re planning to relocate is to write a notice to vacate letter to fulfill the legal requirements of your rental agreement. This post details what you need to include in such a letter, but it won’t hurt to do more research on your own. Always remember to be as polite as possible during this process in case you need a reference from your landlord on a future rental application.