Tenants move out of rental properties all the time. There are certain steps a tenant must follow to legally move out of a rental. One of these steps involves giving the landlord the proper notice prior to moving out. Learn what a notice to vacate is and what you should include in this letter.
What Is a Notice of Intent to Vacate?
A notice of intent to vacate is a written document a tenant must provide the landlord notifying the landlord of the tenant’s desire to move out of the rental. This document serves as the advance notice required under a state’s landlord-tenant law. How much advance notice a tenant is required to give will vary by state, but it is usually between 30 and 60 days’ prior to the desired move-out date. In Mississippi, for instance, the notice to vacate requirement is two months for year-to-year leases, while in Wisconsin, tenants need to give 28 days’ notice. In Washington State, month-to-month tenants must give 20 days’ notice, but there is no set rule for year-to-year or other term rentals except that the tenant must give the amount of notice specified in the rental agreement.
Generally, the tenant should mail this notice to the landlord via certified mail so the tenant has proof that the landlord has actually received it. Check your lease to see if another delivery method is specified.
Landlords generally require tenants to move out at the end of the lease term. If you need to move out mid-month, a landlord may be willing to work out an arrangement with you.
Why Do You Need One?
When a tenant moves out of a rental unit, a landlord will spend time and money trying to fill the vacancy. Finding tenants and screening new tenants do not happen overnight. It can take several weeks to several months, during which time the landlord is losing out on rental income. Landlord-tenant laws try to minimize the negative consequences of a tenant move out by requiring the tenant to give the landlord advance notice.
A notice of intent to vacate is a tenant’s legal proof that he or she has given the landlord the proper notice to move out of the rental. This document is important because it serves as a record that the tenant sent the notice by the required date, can be used to request a move out inspection and provides the landlord with the tenant’s forwarding address where the landlord can send the tenant’s security deposit.
What Should You Include in the Notice?
A Notice of Intent to Vacate should include certain basic information that makes the purpose of the letter clear and shows that the tenant has followed any necessary legal steps to begin the move out process.
- Tenant Name and Address – This shows who the letter is from. This should be the tenant’s current address.
- Landlord Name and Address – This is the contact information the landlord has provided on the lease agreement.
- Date – This is the date the tenant has prepared the letter.
- Purpose of Notice – The letter should clearly state that it is a Notice of the Tenant’s Intent to Vacate the Unit
- Requested Move Out Date – The Notice should include the exact date the tenant wishes to move out of the rental.
- Required Advance Move Out Notice – Each state’s landlord-tenant laws includes the amount of notice a tenant must give a landlord if they want to legally terminate their lease agreement. Depending on local laws and the type of lease, the amount of notice required can vary from 7 days to 60 days.
- Desire For Move Out Inspection – Certain states require a landlord to perform a move-out inspection when a tenant moves out of a unit. The tenant has the right to be informed of the date and time this inspection will occur.
- Security Deposit Return at End Of Lease – Each state has different rules for how and when a landlord must return a tenant’s security deposit. In this letter, the tenant should clearly state they know they are entitled to the return of the security deposit according to the landlord-tenant rules of the state.
- Forwarding Address – The tenant should include the address where he or she can be reached and where the security deposit can be sent after he or she moves out of the rental.
- Tenant Signature – The tenant must sign and date the notice.
Sample Notice of Intent to Vacate
Current Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Day, Month, Year
Landlord Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Notice of Intent to Vacate
Dear Landlord Name,
This Notice is to inform you that I, the Tenant, intent to vacate, the Apartment, Insert Property Address, Unit Number, City, State, Zip Code, on Insert Day, Month, Year. Pursuant to the Lease and to Insert State landlord-tenant law, this constitutes the legally required Insert Number of Days day notice.
Please inform me of the Date and Time the Move Out Inspection will be performed.
My security deposit can be returned to me after the Lease has ended according to the terms of the Lease and landlord-tenant law at the following address.
City, State, Zip Code
Please contact me at, Insert Phone Number or Address, if you have any further questions.