Even though most people think of moving in as the hard part, it can actually be harder to move out of an apartment or rental house. You generally have to give 30 days notice to landlord when you send an intent to vacate letter. Here are some tips for doing it the right way!
Read your rental agreement to find out if you need to give a 30 day notice to landlord.
One of the most important things to make sure of when you’re giving 30 days notice to landlord is if your lease is even legally binding. Just because you signed it and your landlord signed it doesn’t mean it’s a legal lease. Different states have different laws regarding the wording landlords can put into leases, but many still choose not to. Some landlords may choose to put clauses in the lease that require you to go to extreme measures to move out. Your lease could also state you have to live there for a set number of months (a 12-month lease or a 6-month lease) before you can break the lease.
Some landlords, especially those who are not bound by large corporations, may be more willing to let you out of a lease early if you give them an intent to vacate letter. They may require you to provide proof of extenuating circumstances or other things. These landlords might not report you to a credit bureau for breaking the lease, but most large rental corporations will.
Even if you find your lease is not legally binding, it’s still a great idea to give your landlord an intent to vacate letter. It’s just a decent thing to do and might be able to help you have a good rental reference, get your deposit back and keep your landlord happy so the move-out process goes smoothly.
Put your intent to vacate letter in writing and get proof.
It’s important you send your landlord a copy of your intent to vacate letter. Giving 30 days notice to landlord might seem like a good idea over the phone, in person or even in text or email, but the key here is sending an actual letter. Some people may avoid writing a letter because they don’t know where to start, but there are simple templates you can use to write your 30 days notice to landlord!
If you live in an apartment building, you can drop the letter off, but it’s almost always better to mail it. While sending things certified can be expensive, it might be worth the cost. Spending a few extra dollars to send the intent to vacate letter will give you proof that the landlord received it. If things get nasty or you end up in court with your landlord, he or she can’t say they never received it.
Here are sample letters you can use!
You can copy and paste these letters right into a document to fill out and print off. They’re easy to use and could help you let your landlord know you plan to move! Don’t have a printer? Your library card could get you access to one! Libraries may charge for you to print things off, but it’s usually only between five and 15 cents per page!
Dear [Landlord’s Name],
Please accept this letter as written notice of my intention to vacate my apartment at [address] in 30 days from [today’s date]. This letter fulfills the 30-day intent to vacate requirement. Please schedule a walk through one week prior to my move out date. I would like my security deposit of $_____ refunded in full.
Sincerely, Your Name (sign above here when you print it off)
If you would like a more detailed letter to use to send to your landlord, try this one:
[City, State, Zip]
[Landlord address from lease]
[City, State, Zip]
Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate
This letter serves as my written 30-day notice that I will be moving out of my apartment on (date).
I am leaving because [why you are leaving] (Even if you’re leaving because the rental is the problem, don’t be rude about it! This is your rental history to consider, but make sure your landlord knows there are problems with the rental so he or she can fix them when you move out).
Please let me know when I will receive my security deposit back of [$ ].
[Your Name] (Sign above once you print off)
Remember your deposit and ask for a reference.
While your deposit is not the most important thing when you’re moving out, it is helpful. That money is yours and, as long as you haven’t done damage to the rental, you deserve it back. Always ask for your deposit back when you’re giving 30 days notice to landlord. Many landlords may just choose to keep the deposit or may not even bring it up, you should always bring it up! If your landlord pushes back on you about giving your deposit back, make sure you’re prepared with your copy of the lease and let your landlord walk through the rental to see there is no damage.
As long as things have gone smoothly with your landlord while you’re moving out, you should ask to use him or her as a rental reference. This can help you make sure you’re able to rent in the future. Don’t just blindly assume you can use the landlord as a reference. Asking first will remind them you were a good tenant during your time and might make it easier for them to talk about you when your future landlords call for the reference.
Consider hiring an attorney.
If things get nasty when you’re trying to move out of your rental, you might need legal help. When you give your intent to vacate with 30 days notice to landlord, your landlord might not agree. If your landlord threatens to take you to court or tries threatening you with other legal actions, make sure you’re prepared. Even if you think you can’t afford it or you aren’t able to find one, resources are available! You might be surprised to find many lawyers offer free service and pro bono service to people in need. Check out everything we’ve found about getting legal help here!