Moving out soon? It’s time to tell your landlord so that they know how to plan, can schedule showings, and can find a new tenant for your rental unit.

The question is: how do you let your landlord know you’re moving out?

Today, we’ll cover how to give notice to your landlord so that you can make sure you cross all your Ts and dot all your Is before moving. 

That can help you get your security deposit back and ensure a good reference from your landlord if you move in the future. 

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How to tell your landlord you’re moving out

If you’re wondering how to give notice to your landlord, what you will want to do is write a notice to vacate. It’s a way to get the ball rolling and start the moving process off right, keeping things cordial with your landlord.

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Read on for more details about how this works.

How does a notice to vacate work?

A notice to vacate is an official, legally binding document that you provide to your landlord to let them know your last day living at your current apartment or home. This can be at any time–at the end of a rental agreement or in the middle of a rental agreement, though there may be consequences if you terminate your lease early (more on this below). 

In general, it is recommended to sign two letters and send them both to your landlord to sign as well. Then, if you include an envelope and return postage, your landlord can send you back your copy after they’ve signed. Alternatively, if your lease allows it, the signing can be done in person. If your lease specifies a notice to vacate to be done a certain way, keep this in mind before sending your notice.

What to consider when terminating a lease early

Even if you had full intentions to stay at your current apartment until the end of your lease, things don’t always go as planned. For instance, maybe you got a new job in another city, or you had some financial aid issues with your college and have to move back home temporarily.

If you terminate your lease early, that is called breaking the lease. When you break a year lease six months early, you might be liable for the rent for the remaining months of the year unless you work something out with your landlord, such as having someone take over your lease. 

Also, if you terminate a lease early, you may avoid having to pay for the remaining rent for the year if the landlord finds someone else to rent the apartment. If so, you generally only have to pay rent for the waiting period between when your notice is up and until they find someone to move in. 

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Note: The time it takes to rent your apartment can vary from a day to a few months and by the season. For instance, it can be more difficult to rent an apartment in the summertime when everyone is moving but easier to rent in the winter when there are fewer rentals on the market. The city and season make a huge difference.

You have the right to break your lease early in the following circumstances (in general):

  • You are active duty military and must deploy.
  • Your apartment puts your health or safety at risk (e.g., no heating, unsafe wiring, etc.). 
  • Your landlord violates your rental agreement in some manner, such as by switching the locks while you’re living there without providing you a key or continuously coming by your apartment without notice for inspections, showings, etc.

When do I have to give a notice to vacate?

That depends on your lease and state. Generally, if you are month to month, a landlord needs at least 20 to 30 days’ notice. Some leases even specify a certain day you must provide notice. That’s why it’s important to double-check your lease before sending a notice to vacate.

If you need to move out quickly and didn’t get your notice to vacate in by the deadline, that is okay. Most likely, you will just need to pay that month’s rent or the next month’s rent.

Belongings packed in moving boxes in preparation for a move | Bellhop

Do I have to give a 30-day move-out notice to my landlord?

Not always. To find out how much notice you need to give a landlord, check your rental agreement. This will outline the terms you agreed to at the beginning of your lease, including the number of days a landlord needs. 
While you might not have to give a 30-day notice to your landlord, it is a professional courtesy to allow your landlord time to find a new tenant to occupy the space. Also, if you are required to give a certain number of days’ notice but end up not doing so, you could risk your security deposit, additional months’ worth of rent, and other penalties.

Can I rescind my 30-day notice if I change my mind or am unable to move out?

Ultimately, this is up to the landlord and state. If you have provided a notice to vacate, the landlord is not required to allow you to continue living there past the 30 days. 

However, depending on the circumstances, they might be willing to work with you. The best thing you can do is communicate with your landlord and be respectful when sending a notice to vacate. Burning bridges may cause you problems with rescinding a 30-day notice, so be polite, and you may have a better chance of having things work out in your favor.

How do you write a notice to move out?

Think of a simple 30-day notice to your landlord like a letter. The first thing you’ll want to do is examine your current lease to ensure you provide the notice on the right date. Then, you’ll want to add your name, address, and contact information, the date you sign the letter, and your landlord’s name and address. (Feel free to look up move-out notice templates online if you prefer!)

It doesn’t need to be long. You’ll simply want to include that you are providing a 30-day notice to move out per the requirements outlined in your lease, the actual date you intend to vacate your rental, and your new address or PO Box so that your landlord knows where they can contact you in the future if needed and for your security deposit (which they generally have 30 days to send you after you move out). 

Leave a spot for you and your landlord to sign and a respectful closing, and you’re in good hands. While it is not required, you can feel free to add your reason for moving. However, it’s best to keep this brief and not dwell on any problems with your landlord or current rental so as to keep the landlord as a reference and ensure no problems arise down the line.

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Need help moving?

Now that you know how to give notice to a landlord, the next step is to start moving. And what better way is there to do that than to get a friendly team of local or long-distance movers to help you out? That’s what Bellhop is here for! We accommodate apartment moves of all sizes with a full range of residential moving services, including loading, unloading, delivery, and much more. You an also check out this guide for tips on comparing moving company quotes.
Find movers near you today.

Tyler Brown