Updated May 2023
One of the most challenging experiences for many landlords is terminating a lease with a tenant. While finding good tenants can feel like a struggle, lease terminations can be a minefield!
Getting the very first steps in the process right, starting with your 30-day notice to vacate letter, can protect your legal rights and reinforce your ethical position.
Whether you’re breaking a lease with good tenants for administrative reasons or trying to regain control of your property from a tenant who is not living up to their end of a contract, there can be potential for misunderstanding and conflict. Appropriate and legally accurate communications can help minimize these issues.
A notice to vacate letter to the tenant, which usually must provide 30 days to comply, is the first step in the process.
If done correctly, this may be all that is required to terminate your landlord-tenant relationship. If they dispute the termination of the lease, this letter will form an important part of your legal paperwork for eviction.
In this article, you’ll find detailed instructions on how to properly compose a 30-day notice to tenant. We’ll explain what needs to be included in the letter and why, as well as how and when the notice should be delivered to be legally binding. Taking the time to get this notice right can save you in the long-term.
A Table Of Contents For Lease Termination Letters
We know how difficult it can be to find clear information about creating lease termination letters, so we’ve done the hard work for you.
- What Is A Lease Termination Letter?
- When To Provide An End Of Lease Notice
- Preparing A Simple 30-Day Notice To Tenant Letter
- The 30-Day Notice To Tenant Form
- On What Grounds Can A Landlord End A Tenancy?
- FAQs About 30-Day Notice To Tenant Forms
- How Do You Write A 30-Day Notice?
- Does A 30-Day Notice Letter Have To Be Notarized?
- Can 30-Day Tenant Notice Letters Be Delivered Via Email?
- What Happens When You Give A 30-Day Notice?
- What Happens If A Tenant Refuses To Leave After A 30-Day Notice Letter?
- Can You Give A 30-Day Notice Mid-Month?
- How Much Notice Does A Landlord Need To Give?
- How Do You Politely Ask A Tenant To Move Out?
- Final Tips & Notes
A lease termination letter indicates the early ending of a lease or the ending of a month-to-month lease renewal cycle. It may also be sent out to terminate a long-term rolling lease that automatically renews unless either the landlord or tenant indicates a desire to terminate.
This letter can be prepared by a tenant to give to a landlord or vice versa. When this form is issued, the lease is terminated.
New landlords (and tenants) can find the specific terminology used in real estate and property management overwhelming. There are many words that carry specific meanings in legal documentation, and terms such as ‘termination’ and ‘eviction’ can be confusing and seem combative.
Eviction refers to the legal, court action that is taken when a tenant will not accept that their lease is no longer valid. This usually happens after a lease termination letter is sent to the tenant outlining why they are being asked to vacate the property, and the tenant disputes the facts presented or simply refuses to leave.
Termination, on the other hand, does not carry the same negative connotations. For example, the tenant may be aware that you plan to sell the property in two months. Nevertheless, you still need to send them a notice of termination to officially document the end of their month-to-month agreement.
While lease termination notices can be used for eviction cases, this page focuses on 30-day notices, which are rarely used in eviction cases. The time period on termination notices that are eviction-worthy can be as little as one day or as long as three weeks, depending on the situation.
Just as landlords and tenants have different responsibilities throughout tenancy, they also have different procedures to follow at the end of the rental period. The notices, paperwork, and rules that need to be followed are going to have some variations depending on the role each person has in the end-of-lease process.
End-of-lease notices can be divided into two main categories:
- End-of-lease letter to tenant from landlord
- End-of-lease letter to landlord from tenant
This page provides resources for landlords, so we’ll focus on the second category.
Landlords will likely need to turn to a 30-day notice to vacate in the following situations:
- Lease will not be renewed
- Month-to-month lease will be ending
- Lease terms were broken
- No cause termination (legal in some states)
- Property will be sold, demolished, or otherwise unavailable for rent
As you can see, there are a wide variety of situations in which you may need to put this form to good use, but the form will need to be tailored to suit the specific case.
When you are putting together an end of lease notice, there are certain things that must be included:
- When the lease will be terminated
- Why the lease will be terminated
- If there is any cure (or fix) the tenant can undertake to prevent termination
- How long the tenant has to fix things, if applicable
The notice to vacate letter doesn’t have to be very long to include this information. While many tenants will take this letter as an eviction notice, remember that this is not an eviction. It is a termination letter to end a lease that requires 30 days of notice.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the 30-day notice to tenant, it’s important to become familiar with the specific information required and why it’s important to include these things in the lease termination letter.
Let’s take a look at our sample 30-day notice letter to tenant to move out form, which you can find here:
|30 Day Notice Form|
All notices sent to tenants should include basic information, including all of the following:
- Name and address of landlord
- Name and address of tenant
- Property in question
Without this information on the letter itself, it’s possible that the letter won’t be considered appropriate or official by a court if your case comes to that point. For that reason, you always want to include these kinds of basic facts. Additionally, send this type of letter by certified mail so you have a receipt.
While you may feel like you have a good relationship with your tenant and would like to deliver the letter to them personally, avoid doing this. Hand-delivering or slipping it under their door gives them grounds to claim they never received the notice. If you wish, you can inform the tenant of your intention to send the letter, but it should still be sent by certified mail.
The single most important piece of information you must include in this letter is when the lease will be terminated. If the tenant does not know when they are expected to vacate the property, it will be impossible for them to leave at the appropriate time.
Since this is a 30-day notice to vacate for termination, you may expect that the date should be 30 days from when you send the letter. However, identifying the right date is often more complicated.
In most states, the 30 days must include a full calendar month, so it’s very likely that your date will have to be just over 30 days out. Additionally, some states require that you give extra notice of termination in specific situations, such as:
- You will be moving into the property (60-day notice)
- The original lease was not broken and was a term lease (60-day notice)
- Additional notice as detailed in the rental agreement (30 days or the terms in the rental agreement, whichever is longer)
For that reason, it’s good to plan ahead and be sure to send out this notice with accurate dates and in a timely manner. Keeping this documentation very accurate is the key to succeeding if your case should be forced to go to eviction court.
The next part of the letter details what the tenant is required to do within the notice period provided. Examples of required actions that might be listed in the letter include:
- Pay your rent
- Vacate the premises
- Cure the breach
Whichever of these items applies must be done in a specific amount of time (usually shorter than the full notice period) in order to prevent termination, if that is an option. The letter then states that if the tenant does not take action, you will file for eviction.
If you’re sending this 30-day notice because of a breach of contract, you would want to add another sentence or two detailing what clause of the lease contract was broken and what the tenant can do to amend that breach. This is important to give your tenant the proper chance to make things right.
If this is a no-cause termination, the end of a month-to-month lease, or another situation for which there is no cure, you don’t need to worry about giving the tenant a chance to repair any issues.
If you’re in doubt about whether your 30-day notice letter provides all the relevant information, consider the following a final checklist. Answering the simple questions of who, what, when, why, and how should cover all the essential information.
- Who: Start with the tenant names, rental property address, landlord names, and the names of any other involved individuals.
- What: State clearly what the notice is conveying. Is this a notice to pay rent or move out? Is this a notice to move out within 30 days, no matter what? Explain what’s going on.
- When: Cover by when the tenant must take action or move out of the rental property; make sure to give an exact date that complies with your local laws.
- Why: Explain why this is happening. If possible, reference the specific part of your lease agreement that is in question or allows this notice to be sent.
- How: Talk about what will happen if the 30 days pass and nothing changes (i.e., file for eviction). Let the tenant know they can contact you with any questions.
For more thorough examples of what this type of notice will look like, you can view our sample template form here.
While specific circumstances under which a landlord might want to terminate a lease agreement can vary greatly, there are three main grounds under which a landlord can terminate a lease.
1. Lease Period Is Ending
If your lease period is going to end soon, you can give the tenant notice that they will not be able to rent the property any longer. Often, long-term leases are set to auto-renew at the end of a tenancy period unless one party gives notice. For terminating month-to-month leases, notice can be given at any time.
Despite being within your legal rights to terminate a lease at this time, you should provide your tenant with a reason. For example, you intend to renovate the property or move into the property yourself. There may be additional restrictions on whether you can do this if your property is in a rent-control area.
As long as you follow what is legally in the agreement, you can give notice and that will begin the process of ending the tenancy. Just as you are careful about security deposit terms, be sure that all of your rental agreements are very clear about conditions for lease termination so this will never be an issue.
2. Tenant Violated Lease Terms
If the tenant violated the lease agreement, you can give them notice to fix the issue or leave the property. Your state laws will determine if this will be a 30-day, 60-day, or another type of notice. If your tenant does not agree to leave the property, you can move forward to file for eviction and regain control of your property.
3. Tenant Seriously Damaged Property
In certain cases, you may be able to send a very short notice to quit the property to your tenant. Tenants who seriously damage the property, commit crimes at the property, or otherwise jeopardize the property through their actions can be asked to leave much more quickly than standard lease-breakers. Check your local laws for the exact terms of this type of eviction.
It’s important to remember that, as a landlord, you cannot use a 30-day notice letter to change the terms of a lease agreement. The lease agreement itself can only be changed by signing a new agreement between both the landlord and the tenant.
You can send a 30-day notice letter at the end of a lease agreement advising the tenant that the lease can only be renewed by them if they agree to an updated lease agreement. It is then their decision whether to agree to the new lease terms or vacate the property.
Here are the frequently asked questions on how to terminate a lease using a 30-day notice.
You can use the sample notice letter to tenant to move out available on our site as a basis for writing a 30-day termination notice. The letter should be tailored to cover the details in your case. The essential information to provide includes:
- Basic information: Indicate who is the tenant, who is the landlord, what is the address of the property in question, and the names of any other parties involved.
- When to vacate: What is the date by which the tenant will need to vacate. This should be at least 30-days from the date of the letter and in some cases may need to be longer.
- Why the tenant must vacate: Inform them of the reason you’re terminating the lease. If there has been a violation of the conditions of the lease, you should specify where these terms are stated in the lease and exactly how they have been broken.
- What the tenant can do to resolve the issue: If the tenant has the opportunity to resolve an issue and continue with their lease, details on how they can do this should be included in the letter.
- What will happen if they do not comply: Specify what will happen if they do not vacate the property or resolve outstanding issues.
Don’t forget to date and sign the letter and send it by certified post so that you have a receipt of sending. Termination letters do not need to be notarized, just signed by the landlord or their agent.
30-Day termination letters do not have to be notarized to be considered official. They only need to be signed by the landlord or the landlord’s agent. In most cases, eviction letters also do not need to be notarized. However, it is good practice to check the local laws in your state or county. For example, in Florida, your eviction notice, but not your termination notice, should be notarized by a County Clerk.
In most states, 30-day tenant notice letters can be delivered via email if both the landlord and the tenant have agreed to the use of online communication channels. This stipulation should be included in the lease agreement. Ensure you double check the rules about the use of email in your area as they do vary.
Once you give your tenant a 30-day notice, it’s time to wait. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do until the tenant contacts you, takes action, or overstays their tenancy period. If the tenant decides to challenge the 30-day notice early, you may be able to move forward with an eviction case.
If the tenant pays up or fixes the breach of lease, you can move on with your normal landlord duties. The 30-day written notice will no longer be in action, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for future violations.
Finally, you can file for eviction proceedings as soon as the tenant overstays their lease period after receiving the written notice. From there, the court system will guide you through the eviction process.
If, having received appropriate written notice from the landlord, a tenant refuses to vacate a property, the landlord is within their rights to file an eviction lawsuit. The exact process for this varies based on local laws, but there are consistent steps across the board. You should file an eviction complaint with the local county clerk, and an eviction notice will then be delivered to your tenant by the authorities.
A judge will then review the eviction case to ensure that it’s legal. You should provide a copy of the signed lease, a record of all payment, and copies of all relevant communications between yourself and the tenant as supporting evidence, including your 30-day tenant notice letter.
If the judge agrees that the eviction of the tenant is legal and that they must vacate the property, the tenant will have a deadline to do this and pay any fees. If they do not comply, local law enforcement will be called in.
Yes, you can give a 30-day notice at any time during a tenancy period. However, there may be state or local laws that require tenants to have at least a full calendar month to prepare to move out.
This means that if you were to deliver a 30-day written notice mid-month, the dates the tenant would need to leave by would be more than 30 days out. To find out how you need to date and utilize your 30-day notice, make sure to familiarize yourself with your local and state laws to be sure you follow what notice is required.
Exactly how much notice a landlord needs to give to terminate a lease with a tenant depends on the details listed in the lease agreement. In most cases, a 30-day notice period is standard for rolling monthly contracts, or if you need to end a fixed-term contract early. That 30 days is considered a full calendar month, so it can be slightly longer depending on the month of the year.
Some rental agreements will stipulate a longer notice period, and you should choose 30 days or the notice period indicated in the contract, whichever is longer.
There are also some special cases for which local laws require a longer notice period. For example, many states require that landlords give a 60-day notice period to tenants if their intention is to move into the property themselves.
If you’re looking to get rid of tenants without sending a 30-day notice or filing for eviction, you will need to be smart and careful about how you handle things. Doing anything to intimidate your tenant or force them into leaving is illegal, so be sure you are not doing either of these things.
That being said, you are allowed to come to an agreement with a tenant for them to leave early, and there are two methods that may be successful in this way.
1. The Cash For Keys Method
Are you planning on filing for eviction but hoping the tenant will leave sooner on their own? It is possible to offer them a cash for keys arrangement. In this situation, both you and the tenant will sign an agreement that says you will not file for eviction or collect any further rent, and they in turn will return the keys.
This can be beneficial in situations even with good tenants. If you want to stop renting the property but the tenancy period is not up, you may be able to offer your tenant an upfront lump sum to move out early. Depending on your financial situation, this may or may not be beneficial to you. Regardless, it is an option.
2. Simply Ask
In some cases, you may be able to ask your tenant if they would be willing to shorten their lease period. Clearly explaining why you’re requesting this is sure to help your case, but not all tenants will be comfortable with the idea.
To further incentivize your tenant to consider moving out early, you may offer to help them cover moving costs or help them get in contact with other local landlords who may have properties available.
Using the 30-day notice for a tenant to move out over a contract breach or another issue isn’t difficult. As long as you put together the necessary information as outlined in our guide and template above, you’ll have a legally correct document ready to send to your tenant to help you to quickly regain possession of your property.
Remember, when sending this type of notice, every state and locale may have its own rules about how much notice you need to give to a tenant depending on the issue. Be sure to cross-reference those laws before sending out your document.
Finally, we want to reiterate that sending your complete termination letter via certified mail is your best choice, to ensure proper delivery and proof of delivery. You never know if you might need it!