Whether you want to avoid your lease automatically renewing (possibly because you received a Notice of Rent Increase) or found another rental that works better for you, you must inform your landlord within the proper notice period of your plans using a Notice to Vacate Letter.
What does a notice to vacate mean?
Simply put, a notice to vacate is a letter that you, the tenant, send to your landlord to inform them that you intend to vacate the premises.
How Much Notice To Give Landlords to Move Out
The answer to this question depends on several factors, including your state or country and your lease. To be on the safe side, you need to give your landlord at least 30 days’ notice before moving out. Some landlords may bear 60 or 90 days notice, so checking your lease agreement before giving notice is superb.
Reasons to Use Notice-to-Vacate Letter
For landlords and tenants, several scenarios necessitate using a notice to vacate letter. Many jurisdictions have different rules governing these situations, so check local laws before taking action.
From Landlords To Tenants
The following are five common cases that require a notice to vacate.
- Broken lease terms: When a tenant commits a breach of the lease agreement that does not require an immediate eviction, the landlord can send a notice to vacate letter. For example, a landlord determines that a tenant has violated the property’s no-smoking policy. The letter should explain why the violation invalidates the lease.
- Causeless termination: Some states permit landlords to end lease agreements without cause. However, no-cause jurisdictions still require property owners to give adequate notice for tenants to leave the premises. Landlords can use a notice to vacate for this purpose.
- Lease nonrenewal: Tenants and landlords can decide not to renew a lease. As a landlord, some reasons for nonrenewal include plans to sell the property or make improvements. This decision requires a notice to vacate with at least 30 days’ notice (some states require 60 days).
- Month-to-month tenancy end: Month-to-month lease agreements can end quickly and do not provide long-term stability. Landlords with these arrangements must provide renters enough time to exit the property, even when the lease has expired.
- Unrentable property: Landlords can use a notice to vacate when they want to take a property off the rental market. For example, a property owner decides to move into a property or move a family member into the unit. Landlords may need to follow specific guidelines for these situations in certain states.
From Tenants To Landlords
While the reasons for sending the letter may differ, most notices to vacate fall into one of these main categories.
- Cause Notice to Vacate. A cause notice to vacate from a tenant to a landlord occurs when the landlord breaches the lease agreement. A landlord failing to take care of repairs is the most common reason to send this type of notice. Typically, landlords have three to seven days to make critical repairs (like a broken heater in winter) and 10 to 30 days to make noncritical repairs (like a leaky faucet or torn screen).
- No-Cause Notice to Vacate. A tenant sends this notice to vacate when they want to move out, not due to any wrongdoing by the landlord. This document is a tenant’s lease termination letter and should include information like the tenant’s forwarding address and lease term end date. Both state laws and the type of lease can affect the required notice period, ranging from 30 to 90 days.
When Can Tenants Break a Lease Without Penalty?
In general, tenants can only get out of a lease at the end of the lease term. Breaking a lease early usually requires tenants to pay their landlord an early termination fee.
However, there are several situations where a renter may be able to break a lease early without penalty.
- Medical reasons: Tenants that suffer from a new or worsening medical condition may qualify for breaking a lease without penalty. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects disabled tenants by requiring landlords to provide reasonable accommodations upon request. Courts have ruled that breaking a lease without paying termination fees can be a reasonable accommodation for tenants with qualifying disabilities.
- Domestic violence/sexual assault: Most states have laws that protect domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Qualifying tenants can generally terminate their lease early without penalty but may have to give their landlord a certain amount of notice.
- Landlord illegally enters the property: Landlords must give proper notice and have a legal justification to enter a rental unit. If a landlord fails to do so or harasses the tenant, the tenant may have the right to break the lease.
- Landlord failure to conduct critical repairs: Tenants have a legal right to a habitable living space. A tenant has grounds to break a lease if a landlord fails to make repairs that affect the tenant’s health and safety within a reasonable time.
- Military deployment: Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), active-duty military members who receive deployment orders can break a lease without penalty. The protection covers service members who sign leases and subsequently receive orders to deploy and remain deployed for at least 90 days. These tenants must notify their landlords in writing at least 30 days before vacating the premises and provide proof of the military order.
- Illegal rental property: Tenants of properties that are not legal rental units can terminate their rental agreements penalty-free. Furthermore, some state laws entitle such tenants to a portion of the rent paid during their occupancy and additional funds to help them find another rental.
How Do You Write a Notice to Vacate?
First, download a notice to vacate template and fill out the necessary information. Ensure the move-out date you put in the notice is at least 30 days after the postmark date on your letter.
Then, send the letter by registered or certified mail, so there is proof of mailing and delivery.
Keep copies of the letter, the mailing/certified receipt, and the lease agreement until your landlord has returned your security deposit.
You can write your tenant notice to vacate letter or make the most of our free notice to vacate letter template. All legal terms are filled in, so you must add your personal information.
How to Send a Notice to Vacate
First, you’ll need to complete a notice to vacate template, which provides the formatting and necessary language required for your notice. All you have to do is add your details.
When filling out your notice to vacate, make sure you send it within the time frame required by the lease agreement.
Most leases require notice 30 days before you plan to move out (or the lease expires), and some may require 60 to 90 days.
Once you’ve written your letter, you need proof that the notice was postmarked at least 30 days (or the time frame required by your lease) before the move-out date and a tracking number to prove that you delivered the notice to your landlord.
Notice to Vacate FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about notice to vacate letters:
Do I need to send an intent to vacate letter if I break the lease?
Yes, you should still use a notice to vacate letter if you want to break your lease.
It would be best if you gave a time frame for your move, and the more time you can give the landlord, the better chance you have of avoiding additional penalties.
Does sending a written notice to vacate guarantee the landlord will return my security deposit in full?
No, there’s never any guarantee you will get any or all of your security deposit back.
The lease usually states the conditions for a return in total, but there may be deductions for repairs for any damage you caused to the property or to cover unpaid rent.
That said, sending a proper notice to your landlord increases your chances of getting back some or all of your deposit.
Can I call my landlord and tell them I’m moving?
Yes, you can inform your landlord verbally of your plans to move, but you won’t have a written record of giving your landlord proper notice.
It is always best to send them a written notice in addition to a phone call or in-person conversation in case there’s any question in the future about when you delivered the notice and when you plan to move out.
What is the difference between a notice to vacate and eviction?
The tenant writes a notice to vacate to inform the landlord of his or her intention to move out of the rental property. This typically happens 30, 60, or 90 days before the intended move-out date or according to the requirements of the lease agreement.
An eviction notice, sometimes called a notice to quit or notice of termination is written by the landlord to inform the tenant of the number of days they have to cure a problem (like past-due rent) or move out.