Not Renewing Your Lease? How to Write a Lease Termination Letter (Free Templates)

Whether you're moving to a new city, need a bigger place or simply feel ready for a change, you'll need to give your landlord a letter stating you're not renewing your lease. A lease termination letter is usually the best way to notify your property manager or landlord that you have an intent to vacate and will be moving out of the apartment.

What is a lease termination letter?

A lease termination letter is a written document that informs your landlord or property manager of your desire to move out of your current rental and end your lease agreement.

Also known as a notice of “intent to vacate," a lease termination letter gets sent by a tenant to a landlord in one of two situations:

  1. At the agreed-upon end to a lease agreement
  2. When the tenant must break a lease earlier than expected

When to give move-out notice

While your lease may require a specific amount of time, giving your landlord 30, 45 or 60 days notice is acceptable. Be sure to check your lease or ask if you're unsure.

Preparing to write a letter saying you're not renewing your lease

Man reviewing lease.

There are a few important steps to take before writing a lease termination letter. You'll need to check your apartment lease for possible penalties and speak with your property manager directly.

1. Check your apartment lease

It's important to understand the terms of your lease, especially when it comes to giving move-out notice. It may require a certain amount of advance notice, such as 30- or 60- days. Take the time to read over that section to confirm that the wording of your lease termination letter, as well as your planned notification process, complies with your lease.

Remember: If you are breaking your lease, there will be additional considerations you will need to take into account, as well as possible penalties.

While some leases may not require the tenant to give written move-out notice when the lease expires, there are several sets of circumstances that do require tenants to provide their landlords with a lease termination letter when there's an intent to vacate.

You may need to write a formal lease termination letter if your lease:

  • Is being broken before the end of the terms expire
  • Originally had terms, but the terms were not renewed by both parties signing a new lease, causing the tenant to automatically roll into a month-to-month lease
  • Was signed specifically as a month-to-month lease
  • Is a term lease that automatically renews, but the tenant intends to vacate instead of allowing the lease to auto-renew

2. Get your questions answered

If you have any questions regarding the lease termination process, you should speak directly with your property manager or landlord. Bring your copy of the lease along so they can point out specific text and sections and be sure to go over exactly what you need to do to stay in compliance with your lease. You can also ask about security deposits and move-out procedures.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a Tenant Rights section on their website that may answer questions specific to your state.

3. Give written notice

For most leases, you will need to give written notice of your intention to vacate your apartment. It's important to review your specific lease to ensure that you have included all the required information.

How to write a lease termination letter

Woman composing a letter.

A lease termination letter should include several key pieces of information. Your landlord will be looking for the following:

  • Date of the letter
  • Your intended move-out date
  • Whether or not the lease has expired or it is being broken
  • Special circumstances or reasons for breaking, or not renewing, the lease
  • Forwarding address
  • Address of the property you are vacating

Tips for writing a lease termination letter

There are several things to keep in mind when writing a lease termination letter. Before you begin, it's crucial to read your lease carefully. It may include specific instructions on what to include in your letter and how to deliver it.

  • Keep an exact copy of your letter. If you're required to submit your notice in writing, be sure to photocopy it for your personal records.
  • While writing, be straightforward and polite. This is not the time to mention any grievances you have.
  • You must include your contact information in order to receive your security deposit
  • Request a formal walk-through of your apartment with a property manager to document anything that needs repairing or deducted from your deposit — if necessary.
  • Be prepared for additional fees and penalties if you're breaking your lease early. You should expect to pay up to two months' worth of rent and your deposit.
  • Check your lease for specific instructions on delivering a lease termination letter. You should consider sending your letter via Certified Mail –– request a return receipt for added protection.

Sample letter to a landlord when you're not renewing a lease

Use these templates as starting points for your lease termination letter. Your specific circumstances may require different wording or formatting, so be sure to check your lease for detailed instructions.

How to print a sample letter to give your landlord:

  1. Choose the sample letter that best suits your needs and unique situation.
  2. Click the link to your chosen letter to download it.
  3. Once downloaded, edit the PDF digitally to fill in your relevant information.
  4. Once the sample letter is complete, email, mail or hand-deliver it to your property manager or landlord.

Sample: Lease termination letter

Intent to vacate an apartment.

Use this sample letter to give proper notice to your property manager or landlord of your intent to vacate your rental upon your lease's agreed-upon expiration date.

[Your name]

[Your current apartment address]

[Date]

[Apartment manager / lessor's name]

[Apartment manager / lessor's address] Note: Please read your lease carefully. Sometimes, the address for a notice of intent to vacate is different from the apartment management office.

Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate

Dear [Name of Manager or Lessor],

This letter constitutes my written [number of days notice that you need to give] -day notice that I will be leaving my apartment on [date], the end of my current lease.

I am leaving because [reason]. Note: Here, give a diplomatic reason for moving out, such as receiving a new job or receiving a rent increase. Be polite, as you may need to use the contact as a referral in the future.

I expect that my security deposit of [dollar amount], given to you on [date], will be refunded in full since the apartment has been left in good condition.

You can reach me at [phone number] or [new address] after [date of moving day].

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Sample: Early lease termination letter

Notice of intent to vacate early.

If you need to break your lease early, use this sample letter as a starting point to notify your landlord. Note that you'll likely be subject to additional requirements or penalties as a result of the broken lease agreement.

[Your name]

[Your current apartment address]

[Date]

[Apartment manager / lessor's name]

[Apartment manager / lessor's address] Note: Please read your lease carefully. Sometimes, the address for a notice of intent to vacate is different from the apartment management office.

Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate Early

Dear [Name of Manager or Lessor],

This letter constitutes my written [number of days notice that you need to give] -day notice that I will be leaving my apartment on [date].

My lease expires on [date], but it's necessary that I vacate earlier for [reason]. Note: Provide a clear reason for leaving early, being sure to specify if your circumstances fit the criteria for a non-penalized lease break per your lease agreement.

My new forwarding address is [address]. Please forward my security deposit to my new address within [amount of time]. Note: In some cases, a broken lease may void your refunded security deposit. It may also incur other fees. Be sure to check your lease for specific details or speak with your property manager directly.

I can be reached at [phone number] or [new address] after [date of moving day].

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Sample: Security deposit follow-up

Security deposit follow up.

Once you've moved out, it might be necessary to send a follow-up letter to receive your refunded security deposit. Below is a sample letter you can use to follow up on your deposit.

[Your name]

[Your new apartment address]

[Date]

[Apartment manager / lessor's name]

[Apartment manager / lessor's address] Note: Please read your lease carefully. Sometimes, the address for a notice of intent to vacate is different from the apartment management office.

Re: Security Deposit Final Matters

Dear [Name of Manager or Lessor],

This letter is a follow-up regarding the return of my security deposit, which I have not yet received from you. Per the terms of our former lease, it is your legal obligation to return my security deposit in full.

Given the excellent move-out condition of my [property type], I expect you to return my entire security deposit of [dollar amount]. If for some reason you feel that you are not required to refund my entire deposit, you must provide me with an itemized statement listing all charges. Please know that if you fail to do so, this letter serves as written notice of my intention to pursue my claim for the full amount of my initial deposit.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Time to get started on your not renewing a lease letter

With these sample letters to landlords, it's easy to give move-out notice. Just fill in the blanks and check your lease for any other information required. Be aware that if you are not leaving at the end of your current lease, and instead are terminating your lease — additional language and procedures may follow. Consult your landlord to confirm.

Have any tips for getting ready to move to a new apartment? We'd love to hear them!

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional financial or legal advice as they may deem it necessary.

Rent Editorial TeamAt Rent., our goal is to be the most efficient digital resource to help people find and live in a place they love. We strive to help renters make informed decisions by providing them with valuable information and advice, including money-saving tips, local guides, HD photos and certified ratings and reviews from actual residents.

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