A lease termination letter lets a landlord or tenant end a month-to-month lease in compliance with their state’s laws. Either party can send this notice in the middle of a tenancy at will, and the tenant will have a certain period to vacate the property.
What If I Want to End a Lease Early?
If you’ve signed a year-long lease as a tenant and want to end it early, you can request early termination from your landlord by writing an early lease termination letter.
What Is a Lease Termination Letter?
A lease termination letter lets you end a lease as a landlord or tenant. Even if your lease does not explicitly require written notice, using a lease termination letter can protect you in the event of a later dispute. A landlord or tenant will often present this document to the other party to ensure there’s no confusion about when the property will be vacant.
If a dispute arises with your attempt to terminate a lease, the court may not side with you if you didn’t use a termination letter. The law may not favor tenants who move out with notice or landlords who end a lease without proper notice.
Depending on your situation, you might want to consider the following types of lease termination letters:
- Late rent notice: This letter from the landlord to the tenant informs the latter that rent is past due and demands immediate payment.
- Eviction notice: If a tenant violates a term or condition in the lease agreement, the landlord should send an eviction notice telling the tenant to fix the issue or vacate the property within a certain number of days (you may be able to screen tenants better and avoid eviction proceedings by having prospective renters fill out a complete rental application).
The Most Common Situations For Termination
A landlord may want to terminate a lease for the following reasons:
- They’re planning to sell the home, apartment, or condo.
- The property is being foreclosed.
- They’re remodeling the premises.
- The tenant has authorized guests or pets.
- The government is taking the property under eminent domain for a public project.
- The police are requiring the landlord to remove the tenant for participation in illegal activity.
- The tenant didn’t pay the lease or broke a term of the lease agreement.
- A natural disaster caused damage to the property that makes it uninhabitable.
Alternatively, a tenant may want to terminate a lease for the following reasons:
- They’re moving to a new city or state.
- They’re leaving to complete military service.
- They need more/less space because of the addition/departure of pets, children, or other residents.
- Their current residence has housing code violations or is otherwise unsafe or uninhabitable.
- The landlord fails to address appliance repairs in a timely manner.
State Rules on Required Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Leases
Each state has different guidelines on the notice a landlord or tenant has to give before terminating a month-to-month lease:
|State||Tenants' Required Notice||Landlords' Required Notice||Laws|
|Alabama||30 days||30 days||AL Code § 35-9A-441|
|Alaska||30 days||30 days||AK Stat. § 34.03.290|
|Arizona||30 days||30 days||AZ Rev. Stat. § 33-1375|
|Arkansas||30 days||30 days||AR Code § 18-17-704|
|California||30 days||30 days||CA Civ. Code § 1946|
|Colorado||21 days||21 days||CO Rev. Stat. § 13-40-107|
|Connecticut||No provision||3 days||CT Gen. Stat. § 47a-23|
|Delaware||60 days||60 days||DE Code tit. 25 § 5106|
|District of Columbia||30-120 days depending on the reason for termination||30-120 days depending on the reason for termination||DC Code § 42-3505.54|
|Florida||30 days||30 days||FL Stat. § 83.57|
|Georgia||30 days||60 days||GA Code § 44-7-7|
|Hawaii||28 days||45 days||HI Rev. Stat. § 521-71|
|Idaho||1 month||1 month||ID Stat. § 55-208|
|Illinois||30 days||30 days||735 ILCS 5/9-207|
|Indiana||30 days||30 days||IN Code § 32-31-1-1|
|Iowa||30 days||30 days||IA Code § 562A.34|
|Kansas||30 days||30 days||KS Stat. § 58-2570|
|Kentucky||30 days||30 days||KY Rev. Stat. § 383.695|
|Louisiana||10 days||10 days||LA Civ. Code Art. 2728|
|Maine||30 days||30 days||ME Stat. Tit. 14 § 6002|
|Maryland||30 days||60 days||MD Code, Real. Prop. § 8-402|
|Massachusetts||Longer of 30 days or interval between days of payment.||Longer of 30 days or interval between days of payment.||MA Gen. Laws ch. 186 § 12|
|Michigan||1 month||1 month||MI Comp. Laws § 554.134|
|Minnesota||Lesser of 3 months or the interval between the time rent is due.||Lesser of 3 months or the interval between the time rent is due.||MN Stat. § 504B.135|
|Mississippi||30 days||30 days||MS Code § 89-8-19|
|Missouri||1 month||1 month||MO Rev. Stat. § 441.060|
|Montana||30 days||30 days||MT Code § 70-24-441|
|Nebraska||30 days||30 days||NE Rev. Stat. § 76-1437|
|Nevada||30 days||30 days||NRS § 40.251|
|New Hampshire||30 days||30 days||NH Rev. Stat. § 540:3|
|New Jersey||1 month||1 month||NJ Stat. § 2A:18-56|
|New Mexico||30 days||30 days||NM Stat. § 47-8-37|
|New York||1 month||30 days||NY Real Prop. Law § 232-B and NY Real Prop. Law § 226-C|
|North Carolina||7 days||7 days||NC Gen. Stat. § 42-14|
|North Dakota||1 calendar month||1 calendar month||ND Cent. Code § 47-16-15|
|Ohio||30 days||30 days||OH Rev. Code § 5321.17|
|Oklahoma||30 days||30 days||OK Stat. tit. 41 § 111|
|Oregon||30 days||30 days||ORS § 90.427|
|Pennsylvania||No provision||15 days||68 PA Stat. § 250.501|
|Rhode Island||30 days||30 days||RI Gen. Laws § 34-18-37|
|South Carolina||30 days||30 days||SC Code § 27-40-770|
|South Dakota||15 days||30 days||SD Codified Laws § 43-32-13|
|Tennessee||30 days||30 days||TN Code § 66-28-512|
|Texas||1 month||1 month||TX Prop § 91.001|
|Utah||No provision||15 days||UT Code § 78B-6-802|
|Vermont||One rental payment period||30 days||9 V.S.A. § 4456 and 9 V.S.A. § 4467|
|Virginia||30 days||30 days||VA Code § 55.1-1253|
|Washington||20 days||60 days||WA Rev. Code § 59.18.200 and WA Rev. Code § 59.18.650|
|West Virginia||1 month||1 month||WV Code § 37-6-5|
|Wisconsin||28 days||28 days||WI Stat. § 704.19|
|Wyoming||No provision||No provision||n/a|
Keeping & Returning Security Deposits
A tenant should get their entire security deposit back if they followed all the terms of their lease agreement and moved out according to the landlord’s instructions. However, they may have a case to keep all or part of the tenant’s security deposit if the tenant:
- Broke the lease early.
- Caused extensive property damage.
- Failed to clean their living space before moving out.
- Missed rent payments.
- Had some unpaid utility bills.
If a landlord fails to pay a security deposit back, a tenant can submit a demand letter along with proof of their entitlement to the return. If the landlord refuses to comply, the tenant may have to take them to small claims court.
A landlord usually has a certain period between 14 and 60 days to return a security deposit. The requirements vary by state, and there may be extended periods if the landlord has to adjust the amount for a partial refund.
How to Write (Fill Out) a Lease Termination Letter
The lease notice terminating must be as clear and exact as possible. It is also essential to look at your local landlord-tenant laws to ensure the lease termination adheres to them. Depending on your lease agreement, a lease termination process may vary in complexity and steps.
Parties who want to deliver a simple document can follow these steps to write a lease termination letter:
Step 1 – Check Your Lease Agreement’s Terms
Before starting your lease termination, look at the type of rental agreement you have and the information included. You will find the landlord’s and tenant’s obligations and rights in your lease agreement.
Your month-to-month lease agreement should include the required minimum notice to terminate. If it doesn’t, use your state’s laws.
Step 2 – Name the Parties Involved
Whether you’re the landlord or the tenant, write the names of the parties involved. Record your name and address at the top and address the recipient.
Step 3 – Reference the Original Rental Agreement
In this form section, write when the landlord and tenant signed the original lease/rental agreement and when the lease will terminate. Ensure to include the property’s address.
Step 4 – Fill in the Vacate Date
Write in the date when the tenant should vacate the premises. This date can be either (1) before the expiration of the lease term or (2) at the end of the lease term.
For month-to-month lease agreements, the process is simpler, but the landlord must provide a fair warning. This fair notice is 30 days in many states, but some have other requirements. Usually, a landlord can send a termination midterm, as can the tenant.
Step 5 – Provide a Reason for Termination
Legal issues can arise through wrongful termination, so it is best to include a reason in your notice to document your decision.
Step 6 – Include a Forwarding Address
Write where to forward mail, future notices, or the security deposit.
Step 7 – Proof of Service (Optional)
You will need a signed Affidavit of Service if you are not the person serving the termination letter.
The person serving the notice hands the signed letter to the intended recipient, the landlord or the tenant. This affidavit indicates that the party received the notice on a specific date.
Lease Termination Letter Sample
Download a lease termination letter template as a PDF or Word file to start writing your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some tips for writing a lease termination letter?
Here are a few general rules to follow when writing your lease termination letter:
- Proofread for errors. Check dates and the document’s grammar/spelling to make sure the information is accurate.
- Keep it clear. Include a precise reason for your termination.
- Do not sit on it. Once you know you need to terminate your lease, write and send your lease termination letter as soon as possible to give the other party reasonable notice.
How do I deliver a lease termination letter?
You can send your letter through certified mail (USPS). This method will issue a receipt to you as the sender, ensuring a successful delivery. You can also use a certificate of service and have the recipient sign it to prove they’ve received the letter.