When Your Lease Ends: Sample Letter to Landlord
When a lease ends, renters and tenants have a few choices. They can move out, continue renting on a month-to-month lease, or sign a new lease. The options available to the tenant depend on the terms of the lease agreement and, where necessary, state law.
Under some state laws, the tenant must give a 30-day or 60-day notice to vacate the rental unit. In other states, tenants who stay in the rental unit after lease expiration are automatically shifted to a month-to-month tenancy.
This article explores why and how tenants should give written notice to landlords before they move.
Although many tenants tell their landlords they are leaving at the end of the lease term, a lease termination letter offers more protection for the tenant. Tenants not at the end of their lease may also use a lease termination letter. Tenants considering an early termination of a lease, if allowed, can send a letter with a proposed lease termination date.
So, even though the tenant and the landlord know when the rental agreement ends, tenants should give written notice of their intent to vacate the rental property.
Reasons To Give Notice
Here are a few reasons tenants should give written notice before they lease the rental property:
- Courtesy. You may need a landlord reference in the future, and providing notice helps maintain goodwill.
- It helps your landlord plan. The sooner the landlord knows a tenant is leaving, the sooner they can find new tenants for the rental unit.
- Security deposit. A lease termination letter is an opportunity to remind the landlord that the tenant expects a return of their security deposit.
- Preserving the record. Putting things in writing helps create a record and is helpful in the event of a dispute.
Sending the Lease Termination Letter
Timing is critical when giving written notice. Local laws and the lease agreement often dictate the amount of time for giving notice. Although the notice period varies from state to state, notice periods are often 30-day notice periods. Tenants should check their local laws and the lease agreement to learn the specific amount of notice to give the landlord.
Given the importance of a termination lease letter, tenants should send a copy via certified mail with a return receipt. Sending a letter this way gives the tenant proof that they gave proper notice to the landlord.
After you leave the rental unit, you should inform your landlord, in writing, of your new address so they can send your security deposit refund to you.
Below are two sample letters to use when ending a lease agreement. Please note these are samples and not templates and cannot replace legal advice.
Sample Letter One
[your name and address]
[Landlord's name and official address, as listed in the lease]
Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate
This letter is my written notice of termination of my current lease agreement. This letter meets the [number of days] notice requirement per the lease. As stated in the lease, the end date of this lease agreement is [month, day, year].
Please recall that I made a security deposit of $______ on [Date]. I expect to receive that deposit refunded in full following the final walkthrough. Since I am leaving the rental unit in good condition, I expect a full refund of my deposit.
My contact information is as follows:
Jane Doe 555 Sycamore Lane Atlanta, Georgia (zip code)
Very truly yours,
Sample Letter Two
[Your name and new address]
[Property Manager name and address]
Re: Request to Return Security Deposit
Dear [Property Manager],
Under [applicable state statute], please forward my security deposit and accrued interest to the following forwarding address: Jane Doe, 555 Sycamore Lane, Atlanta, Georgia (zip code).
Per our written lease, I expect the return of my entire security deposit and any accrued interest as required by law. If you believe you can retain any part of the deposit, please provide me with a detailed itemized list of all charges.
Very truly yours,
Get Legal Help
Tenancy issues are relatively complex. If you are contemplating ending your lease, consult a landlord-tenant law attorney first. Landlord-tenant law is a specialized area of real estate law, and landlord-tenant attorneys can help you protect your rights. Speak with a local landlord-tenant attorney today.
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