You absolutely love your current apartment. Everything about it has been perfect, but you realize it's time to move on. Even though your lease has a defined end date, it's common courtesy to notify your landlord that you're ready to move.
Submitting a 30-day notice letter to your landlord is the proper way to get the ball rolling. Not only will it ensure everyone is on the same page about you moving out, it makes sure you're all on the same schedule.
Why do I give a notice to vacate?
One of the hardest things to remember about leasing an apartment is that it's a legal transaction. You sign a legal document to move in, so you need to create a document when you want to move out.
A notice to vacate is the letter you give your landlord stating your intention to terminate your lease. The specifics of how to submit this letter — and when — is usually a part of your rental agreement. Even if your lease has a set end date and that's when you're moving out, submitting an official letter makes your intentions clear and avoids confusion.
Is a 30-day notice letter to my landlord the norm?
While it's pretty standard to provide 30 days' notice of your intent to move out, not every lease sets the notification period to the same amount of days. Some landlords may want more notice, transforming your 30-day notice letter to a 45- or 60-day letter.
Your lease provides any clarification you need on when to send this letter, so it's best to check it well before you plan on moving out.
What should the notice letter look like?
There are a few essential elements that belong in your notice to vacate letter and a few best practices to follow. First, make sure your letter has:
- Your name, your current address and the date
- The date on which you plan to move out
- A forwarding address where your security deposit can go
- Acknowledgment that a final inspection will occur
Additionally, it's best if you:
- Review your lease before writing your letter to check not only on a time frame to give notice but other requirements for moving out.
- Type your letter rather than write it by hand. Use a pen for your signature, but typing the letter makes it easier to keep a record for yourself.
- Keep the tone straightforward and polite. Stay on the topic of giving your notice and don't bring up other issues or complaints.
Even if your lease doesn't require you to send a formal letter if you're moving out on the actual date your rental agreement ends, err on the side of caution and do so anyway. This gives you a paper trail and offers you legal protection should any issues arise down the road.
A 30-day notice letter template
This template can help you get started when it's time to write your own 30-day notice letter to your landlord. Simply download the 30-day notice sample letter and replace the sections in parenthesis ( ) with your information.
(Street address and unit number)
(City, State and ZIP Code)
(Landlord or property manager's name)
(City, State and ZIP Code)
Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate
Dear (Landlord or property manager's name),
This letter is to inform you of my official 30-day notice to vacate. I'd like to terminate the lease signed on (Month, Date, Year) for the property located at (Your address with apartment number). I will move out on (Date).
I will return my keys on (Move out date) to (Specific address) per the terms of my lease.
I'm also aware a final inspection of the apartment will take place, the results of which could potentially impact my security deposit. Please let me know, via email at (Your email address), if the full amount is not being returned. You can return my security deposit to (Forwarding address.)
Should you have any questions, or need to reach me after I move out, you can contact me at (Phone number) or (Email address).
(Your name and signature)
Sharing why you're moving out
This is an optional bit of information you can include in your letter. It's not necessary to tell your landlord why you're moving out, but sometimes it's nice for them to know that it's not the apartment driving you away.
If you'd like, add in a sentence to your letter along these lines: I've enjoyed living here and am moving out because of a (new job/relocation opportunity/roommate opportunity, etc.).
If you're moving out because of an issue with the apartment and want to share it here, that's OK, too, just try and remain diplomatic. You don't want to use your letter as an opportunity to accuse your landlord of anything. Try something like: I'm leaving because of (a rent increase, issue with apartment). You don't need to get really detailed, either.
Again, this additional line is completely optional and up to you entirely.
What happens after your notice to vacate?
Once you've submitted your official letter, it's a good idea to reach out to your landlord and informally share your plans. You can also notify them your letter is coming and address any questions they may have without having to wait.
The next steps involve planning your move. If you haven't found a new place to live yet, get searching. You may also want to schedule movers since you've now established your move-out day with your 30-day notice letter to your landlord.
What if I forget?
The biggest possible issue, should you forget to send a 30-day notice letter to your landlord, is penalties. You could end up on the hook for extra fees as high as another month's rent. You could also end up dealing with an automatic lease renewal, which means having to break your lease to move out. This could lead to even more charges and potential problems since you've missed your window to easily vacate the apartment.
To avoid forgetting, as soon as you know you're going to move, set a reminder for yourself to give 30-day notice and mark the cut-off date in your calendar. Give yourself as many ways as possible to get that letter sent.
Handling the termination of your lease right
Moving from one home to another is always full of little details. From scheduling movers to packing all your stuff, the weeks leading up to a move are busy.
Before you get into the weeds of your actual move, take the right steps to properly prepare your landlord. That all starts by giving notice of your intent to vacate. It will be the easiest and the less time-consuming thing you have to do during the move-out process and could make a big difference.