How to Write a 30-Day Notice to Your Landlord
When you decide to move out of an apartment or other rental residence, it’s customary to write a letter to your landlord informing them of your decision. It’s not just a courteous gesture that landlords appreciate—it’s an important step that protects both landlords and tenants.
But knowing exactly what to say in your letter might not be obvious. How much information about your move should you share with your landlord, and what should you keep to yourself? What should you say if you need to break your written lease term before its official expiration date?
These are all questions that can make writing a 30-day notice to a landlord stressful and anxiety-inducing. Whether your move is last-minute or a long time coming, here’s everything you need to know about informing your landlord of your move, including:
- What is a 30-day notice, and why is it important?
- What to do before giving notice
- Writing your 30-day notice
- A sample letter for tenants
Let’s get started!
What is a 30-day notice, and why is it important?
A 30-day notice is an official document written by or on behalf of a tenant that informs the tenant’s landlord or leasing agency of the tenant’s intention to vacate the rental premises.
Notices will vary slightly depending on specific lease situations, but generally, a 30-day notice includes information like:
- The move-out date
- Whether the notice satisfies the requirements as stipulated in the lease or rental agreement
- Address of property to vacate
- Forwarding address for the tenant
Providing your landlord with proper notice of your impending move is as beneficial for you as it is for them:
- It protects your reputation: Your credit score is one way future landlords will assess your desirability as a prospective tenant. Your rental history is another. Knowing that you won’t leave them in a lurch with an unrented apartment or unpaid rent improves your chances of getting your new apartment.
- It protects you legally: Depending on the stipulations of your rental agreement, your landlord may be entitled to charge you various fees up to and including the cost of rent if you fail to provide sufficient notice of your intention to vacate the property.
What to do before giving notice
Before you even begin to think about giving your landlord formal, written notice, there are some important steps you need to take as a tenant. Your notice letter is an official document that has legal significance, so it’s important to approach it with the same care and preparation that you would any other legal matter.
The first thing you want to do is read over your lease agreement. If you’re like most renters, you probably haven’t looked at it since you moved in and stuffed it in a drawer. Now’s a good time to take it out and brush up on some of the details. You should review the entire document, but here are some particulars to note as the tenant:
When does your lease expire?
If you’re thinking of moving, you need to know the date that your current lease term expires. In most cases, leases are signed for a specified amount of time, and breaking it before the time is up can be costly. Breaking your lease period early can mean you could:
- Forfeit your security deposit
- Be held responsible for remaining rent
- Incur additional fees and penalties
That said, some landlords are willing to work with tenants who need to move out before their lease period has expired. If that’s your situation, be ready to discuss your options with your property manager.
How much notice does your landlord require?
Whether you rent on a month-to-month basis or you’ve signed a lease or rental agreement for a specific duration, there’s likely a clause in your lease explaining the amount of advance notice your landlord requires before tenants can pack your bags and hand over the keys.
In most cases, 30 days is the standard amount of time a landlord is going to require, although it’s not uncommon for certain landlords to require 60 days’ notice or more. Failure to provide sufficient notice as stipulated in your lease can result in fees not related to breaking the lease.
Other things to review in your lease
Along with your lease expiration date and the notice window required by your landlord, your lease also contains other information that might be useful for you to review before submitting your notice, including:
- Information about your security deposit: If you paid a security deposit when you moved into the rental property, you may be entitled to all or some of that money when you move out—especially if you aren’t terminating the lease early. In some cases, this can be as much as a month’s rent, so it’s important to check.
- Information about any fees you could incur: If your landlord has a policy of assessing fees or penalties for early lease termination, failure to provide notice, or regarding the condition of the property, those fees should be clearly stated in your lease agreement. Knowing what they are before can help you avoid fees later on.
- Information on how to deliver your notice: Many leases will include what’s known as a “delivery clause.” This section contains all the information you need to know regarding where and how to submit your notice to your landlord.
Writing your 30-day notice
Once you’ve closely reviewed your lease terms and have secured your new place, you can start drafting your 30-day notice letter. It’s understandable to feel some trepidation here, but writing your vacate letter doesn’t have to be a struggle. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t include in your notice:
What to say in your notice
When it comes to your notice, it’s best to keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Think of it in functional terms: the notice is meant only to inform your landlord of your intention to leave and the logistical details surrounding your move. Here’s what to include:
- The date: At the very top of your notice, indicate the date you wrote it. Remember, the date should satisfy your landlord’s notice requirement window from your rental agreement.
- Your personal information: Next, you’ll want to include personal and identifying information such as your name and the address and number of the property you intend to leave.
- Your landlord’s name: You should address the letter to your landlord directly. If you don’t know your landlord’s name, you can address the letter to the management company.
- Your intention to vacate: When it comes to the exact language of your notice, keep it brief and straight to the point. Try something like, “This letter serves as official notice of my intention to vacate the property at [your address] effective [the date you plan to move out].”
- A statement of compliance: It’s a good idea to state in your letter that your notice satisfies the requirements of your lease and what those requirements are—that is, that you’re giving your landlord enough advance notice. You can also mention when and how you plan to return your keys.
- Instructions for security deposit: If applicable, let your landlord know how and where to return your security deposit.
- Your contact information: At the end of your letter, be sure to include your current contact information, such as your phone number and forwarding address.
At the end of your notice, close your letter with an appropriate valediction, and be sure to add your signature.
What not to say in your notice letter
No matter the specific reasons behind your move, your notice isn’t an opportunity to assess your rental experience. It’s a purely functional document that relays very specific information, so resist the temptation to explain.
- Avoid explaining your reasons for moving
- Avoid referring to any complaints you have or issues you’ve experienced
- Avoid making qualitative statements about the property or its condition
Your letter should be polite and professional, but brief and direct. You should type your letter and deliver a physical copy to your landlord. You can mail it standard or certified, but dropping it off in person is the best way to ensure it makes it to your landlord’s desk.
A sample letter for tenants
If you’re looking for a template to use when writing a letter to end your tenancy, use this sample letter below to help get you started:
[Your address and unit number]
To [landlord’s name],
This letter serves as official notice of my intention to vacate the property at [your address], effective [the date you plan to move out]. As stipulated by my lease terms, I am providing [number of days] notice ahead of time. Unless otherwise requested, I will plan on returning my keys to your office by 2022.
You can return my security deposit to [new address]—this is also the address any mail can be forwarded to.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything else you need me to do to get this process of the ground. Thank you!
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