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Write a Letter of Notice to Your Landlord Before Moving Out

Although a long-term rent sounds like something durable, one day it comes to an end anyway. And when you find yourself at this stage of your renter’s journey, it’s always better to be informed about the best practices of moving out. That’s why we prepared and published a comprehensive guide on seamless moving earlier this year. And although it seems to explain all the ins and outs of moving, there’s one thing missing.

This article is here to fill the gap and help you learn everything you need to know about a letter of notice. We’re here to answer all questions you might have and share with you a tried-and-true sample you can download and customize.

What is a letter of notice?

Also known as a notice to vacate or a letter of prior notice, it is a document you or your landlord can issue to signal the end of rental-related relationships. You should write such a letter to your landlord if you want to inform them of your intent to move out.

Why would I need one?

There are plenty of different situations that might force you to write a letter of notice, but usually, it’s one or a combination of the following:

  • Your lease is coming to an end and you don’t want to extend it
  • You no longer have enough money to pay for this property
  • Your landlord does not comply with the terms of your lease agreement

Since landlord-tenant relationships are a subject of law, it’s insanely important to get everything documented. Even if your current relationships with the landlord are friendly and close, you never know what the future holds. So make sure to keep a written proof of all rental-related issues that occur.

Should I give my landlord a letter of notice if my lease is ending anyway?

It depends on what type of lease agreement you have. If your lease is signed for a certain period of time and not automatically renewable (but it doesn’t happen often), you can easily skip the procedure of writing a letter of notice.

But if it’s clearly stated that your lease gets renewed unless you or your landlord tell otherwise (and this is the case with the majority of lease agreements), then you’re expected to write a letter of prior notice within a stated deadline.

What points should the letter contain?

First and foremost, keep it simple and formal. No matter how friendly you are with your landlord, a letter of notice is a document, so it should be concise and serious. And although there are no strict rules regarding the text of your notice, there is a list of points to be covered:

  • When you are planning to leave
  • The date of sending the letter
  • The time for a final property inspection
  • Request for a full security deposit to be returned
  • Your new address and phone number

How far in advance should I write it?

With a few exceptions, writing your letter of notice 30 days before your expected move-out date would be just fine. However, it all depends on the text of your lease, and sometimes the time parameters might extend to as much as 60 days. To save yourself a trouble of splitting into bad terms and losing money from your security deposit, read the text of your lease carefully as soon as the idea of moving out crosses your mind for the first time.

Can I just skip it and inform my landlord orally?

You can, but you should not. As stated in the law, you’re expected to give a written notice to vacate if you want it to carry legal weight. But you should keep in mind that a letter of notice is required even if your rental agreement was oral (permissible in states like California, Pennsylvania, and Washington for the lease of fewer than 12 months). In this case, you’re still expected to give a written notice to vacate at least 30 days prior to your move-out day.

What should I do if things get tense?

Even if you’re a perfect tenant and the most law-abiding citizen in the world, it does not guarantee that your move-out process will be seamless and friendly. To minimize the risks and save you healthy nerves, make sure you know your tenant rights and feel confident enough to refer to them if there is a need.

Keep in mind that ending relationships with your landlord on bad terms is pretty much like getting fired because of a fight with your boss – it can affect your future in a bad way. That’s not to say that you should keep your mouth shut and make concessions for no reason, but ironing out difficulties sure won’t hurt.

All you said is great, but I need a sample

Fair enough. As promised, we’re giving you a trusty sample of a notice to vacate. You can customize it according to special points your rental agreement has. And once again: the best approach you can follow is to keep your notice short and formal while covering all necessary points mentioned earlier in this post.

Now you know the best practices of writing a letter of notice. But it’s only a tiny piece of tasks you need to complete when moving out, so make sure you know all the tips of a seamless moving process and keep our moving checklist handy.

Still got questions? Feel free to leave them in a comment section below. We promise to get back with a fast and detailed answer.

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