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How to Give a Notice to Vacate When You’re Moving Out

Relocating to a new place is exciting, but before you pack up and move out of your current living space, you must deliver a notice to vacate in order to fulfill the legal requirements of your rental agreement.

Don’t lose your security deposit or face a costly lawsuit by failing to provide notice. Read on to discover MYMOVE’s best tips regarding how and when to tell your landlord you’re moving out. We’ve even included a sample template below to help you find the right words and learn how to write a 30-day notice.

What is a notice to vacate?

According to the Law Dictionary, a notice to vacate is a lease termination letter delivered by the tenant to the landlord, giving notice that he or she will leave the premises within a specific amount of time. This 30-day notice can take effect on the rental due date during a periodic lease or on the end date of a rental agreement term.

How to give notice that you’re moving out

Once you’ve decided to move out and determined how far in advance you must let your landlord know, you’ll need to give your 30-day notice by writing a lease termination letter. Before you write your notice, it’s important to follow these steps to ensure you’re adhering to your rental agreement:

Step 1: Start by reading your rental agreement

This doesn’t mean just skimming through it to get to the good parts. Read it thoroughly. Make sure you understand everything that’s contained within it. Many apartment complexes that rent to you on a month-to-month basis will require that you give at least a 30 day move out notice to landlord, but this could vary and it might actually be greater than 30 days.

If you’ve signed an apartment rental lease promising to stick around for a specific length of time and you’ve still got a long way to go before it’s up, discuss your options with your landlord first to see if you can arrive at an agreeable solution that’ll pave the way for you to kick up dust without fear of getting sued for breaking the lease.

But if you decide to break your lease early, you may face financial consequences. If you examine your lease, you’ll see a section outlining the break lease clause (also known as the termination clause). This clause outlines penalties you may have to pay for ending your lease early. Some landlords allow renters to break the lease early without penalty, as long as they’re given a 60-day move out notice and a break lease fee.

Be sure to determine the exact number of days notice your landlord requires. This will help you avoid additional legal or financial penalties. Though 30 days is the most common, some landlords require up to a 60-day move out notice or even a 90-day move out notice.

Another section within your rental agreement that you should read over before moving out is the delivery clause. This section delineates exactly how your 30-day move out notice to your landlord should be delivered. It may need to be mailed via certified letter or delivered in person. Read your contract carefully to make sure you follow the agreed-upon delivery protocol.

Step 2: Put your move out notice in writing

Next, make it official by putting your intent to leave in writing. If you don’t have a computer, find someone that does or go to the library — you don’t want your 30-day notice to be hand-written because it leaves open the opportunity for someone to misread what you wrote.

If you follow MYMOVE’s template for a 30-day notice below, you’ll cover all the areas needed to satisfy the agreement terms with your landlord. The template includes all of the straightforward information your landlord requires, such as name, date, current address, new address, whether you’ve met the approved notice range, and phone number.

It’s important to make sure your landlord receives a hard copy of the notice instead of relying on sending a digital copy. When you deliver your notice of intent in person or via certified mail, you ensure that your landlord receives the legal document in a timely and documentable fashion.

Step 3: Determine the best way to deliver your notice to vacate to your landlord

Though we’ve already determined that the best way to deliver a notice to vacate the premises is with a hard copy, there are still two more options to consider regarding how to deliver your lease termination letter.

The quickest and easiest way to make sure your landlord receives your 30-day notice is by handing it over in person. There is no room for mystery or wondering when the news will arrive. Delivering the notice in person also gives you the chance to clarify anything on the spot and avoid further delays.

On the other hand, sending the notice by mail is still a good option, especially if you have it certified and require the letter to be signed for upon delivery. This will ensure that the lease termination letter is delivered to the correct recipient.

Step 4: Keep a record

Make a copy of the lease termination letter and keep it for your records. If you have to send the letter to an out-of-state address, be sure to allow an extra seven days for it to travel through the mail. Also, consider sending the 30-day notice with delivery confirmation so that you’ll have proof the intended recipient actually received it.

Follow this notice to vacate letter template

Use this move out notice sample to frame your written notice, taking the landlord or property management company’s name and address from your lease and filling in the blanks where indicated.

Date (Be certain that the date of your letter is at least 30 days from your scheduled move-out date. If your rental agreement stipulates that you have to give a different length of notice, be sure to care for this.)

Your Name

Your Address and Apartment Number

City, State, and ZIP Code

Attention: Your Landlord’s Name (or the name of the property management company)

Your Landlord’s Address

City, State, and ZIP Code

Please accept this written notification that I will be vacating my residence at the address provided below, effective MM/DD/YYYY.

(Re-type your address here.)

Your Address and Apartment Number

City, State, and ZIP Code

This notice satisfies the required notice of XX days, which was stipulated on my original rental agreement. I will deliver all keys for the property to the business office on or before the date indicated above. Please send my refundable deposit and any other money owed to me to the address below.

(Enter your new address here.)

Your Name

Your New Address

City, State, and ZIP Code

Please feel free to contact me by phone if you have any questions at (enter a phone number where your landlord can reach you).

Sincerely, Your Name (typed)

Your Signature

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does a notice to vacate work?

A notice to vacate serves as a lease termination letter, announcing to your landlord your plans to leave the premises within a specified period of time, usually 30 days.

When do I have to give a notice to vacate?

The required amount of time may vary from landlord to landlord, so it’s important to review your rental agreement for the exact amount of time needed. Many tenants are required to provide at least 30 days’ notice, but some may require 45, 60, or even 90 days.

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

If you want to avoid legal and/or financial consequences, you must give your landlord notice before moving out. Review your contract to determine exactly how much time your landlord requires.

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

Yes, if your landlord decides to work with you, although he or she is not legally bound to do so. Once you provide written notice to vacate, the landlord may begin the re-rental process, so your options may become very limited very quickly.


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