Whether you want to avoid your lease automatically renewing or you need to end a lease term early, a lease termination letter is key.
If you’re a tenant, sending an early lease termination letter to your landlord could minimize penalties or rent you’d have to pay for moving out early.
If you’re a landlord, sending a lease termination letter to your tenant is written notice of your intention to end the lease and ensures you’ve complied with landlord-tenant laws in your area.
What Is a Lease Termination?
A lease termination letter is an official notice used to end a lease agreement early or to confirm that an expiring lease term will not be renewed.
If you’re a landlord and want to end a month-to-month or weekly tenancy, use our eviction notice instead.
As a reference, a lease termination goes by several other names:
- Early lease termination letter
- Notice of lease termination
- Notice of terminating tenancy
- Notice to end tenancy
- Release of lease agreement
How to Send a Lease Termination Letter
Even if you’re close with your landlord, a lease termination letter should be in writing. If you’re wondering how to send it, you should first check your lease agreement. Leases often have a section telling you where to send notices and how they should be sent.
Using a clear written letter that includes relevant details about the original lease is especially important when you’re sending an early lease termination letter.
Download our free lease termination letter template to make sure you include all necessary information.
Do I Need to Write a Lease Termination Letter?
Some rental agreements require you to send notice to end the landlord-tenant relationship. If you want to end your agreement early, use a lease termination letter to officially communicate that you need to end the agreement.
Some annual rental agreements will automatically renew unless one month or two months’ notice is given. Advance warning gives the landlord time to find another renter and provides the tenant enough time to find a new home.
If you’re moving out early, you should always use a lease termination letter.
Unless you have special circumstances for moving out early, like active military duty or the landlord’s failure to keep the premises in a livable condition, you could be on the hook for rent for the remainder of the lease term unless the landlord finds a new tenant.
What Happens If I Don’t?
If you don’t write and deliver a lease termination letter to your landlord, you could pay penalties and even be taken to court!
Consequences for Landlord
- Legal fees and/or financial penalties
- Lease may be extended automatically
- Attending court proceedings
Consequences for Tenant
- Loss of security deposit
- Payment of rent owed for the remainder of the lease
- Legal action from the landlord for rent owed
- Bad credit for up to seven years if a judge issues a credit judgment
When Is a Lease Termination Letter Most Commonly Used?
People commonly use a lease termination letter to end a lease early when circumstances change for either the tenant or the landlord. For example, a tenant may need to move somewhere else because of a new job, or the landlord may want to sell the property.
Lease termination letters are also commonly used to inform the other party that the lease won’t be renewed at the end of the lease term.
Where Can You Get a Lease Termination Letter?
There’s no one specific form you must use, but the document needs to contain certain key information about the landlord, tenant, and lease agreement in case either party needs to prove that they gave proper notice to terminate the lease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of the most popular questions about lease termination letters that we’ve encountered.
It doesn’t cost anything to write your own lease termination letter, and you can download our free lease termination template to get started. The only cost will be shipping your letter if you choose to deliver it by mail.
A typical lease termination fee depends on the lease and the laws in your area, but it’s usually one or two months’ rent. As a tenant, if the lease doesn’t specify a fee and your landlord can’t find a replacement tenant after a good faith attempt, then you’ll likely be responsible for the rent owed for the rest of the lease term.
Depending on the terms of the lease and the laws in your state, you can move out, sign a new lease, or pay-as-you-go every month. If your landlord ends your lease early without cause, you can sue the landlord for costs associated with your housing search like realtor fees and temporary housing until you find another permanent place to live.
If you were late on rent or significantly damaged the property, you may not be entitled to damages. In most cases, your landlord is required to send you written advance notice (usually 1-2 months in advance) before you have to leave the premises.
No, terminating a lease isn’t necessarily bad. As long as you give proper notice, pay all fees on time, and leave the property in good shape, terminating a lease early shouldn’t affect your credit or rental history.