When it comes time for a tenant to move on from one of your rental properties, you need to make sure you have the right tools to remind them it’s time to go. Most tenants will be aware that their lease is up and talk with you about the upcoming changes.
In some cases, you will need to know how to write a notice to vacate letter to a tenant. Your tenant may not be aware that it is time for them to vacate the property. Whether this is because you are ending the tenancy or they simply aren’t paying attention, you have a responsibility to let them know.
How do you write a notice to vacate a property the right way? As a landlord, you need to be sure you are doing everything by the book. Any broken laws or ordinances can lead to serious delays and loss of income, and you should avoid that at all costs.
Today, learn more about the notice to vacate letter, check out our notice to vacate template, and find out how to write a notice to vacate letter to a tenant.
A Table Of Contents For Notice To Vacate Letters
- What Is A Notice To Vacate Letter?
- When Do You Use A Notice To Vacate Letter?
- 30-Day Versus 60-Day Notices
- How To Write A Notice To Vacate Letter To Tenants
- What Happens Next?
- Notice To Vacate FAQs
The first thing you need to get a good understanding of is what this notice is. There are many different notices that landlords use while working with tenants, and that can make the entire process confusing.
A notice to vacate, at the broadest understanding, is a letter from you to your tenant giving them notice of when they are expected to leave the property. While a notice to vacate can be used in cases of both termination and eviction, it is more likely to be used for termination cases.
Eviction Or Termination?
What is the difference between eviction and termination when dealing with this type of notice?
An eviction occurs whenever court action is required to get a tenant to agree to leave a property after their lease is broken or no longer valid. A termination, on the other hand, is what initially happens whenever either party wants to end the lease agreement or the lease agreement is broken.
Termination can be a good thing as well. For example, a tenant may have already told you that they plan to move out at the end of their agreement, but you would still want to send a notice to vacate or lease termination letter to formally end the agreement.
Also Used By Tenants
This type of letter is not only used by landlords but by tenants as well. There may come a time when a tenant sends you a notice of their intent to vacate. Whether you are coming up on the end of a year-long tenancy or working on a month-to-month rental, the tenant is giving you advanced, required notice of their departure.
There are a few cases when you will need to use a notice to vacate letter or a lease termination letter. Each of these cases is likely to come with specific rules, and those rules will depend on your local and state laws:
Nonrenewal Of Lease
Have you or the tenant decided not to renew the lease, and the tenant will be vacating the property at the end of the tenancy period? If so, you should send a notice to vacate with at least 30 days notice to morally end the lease agreement terms upon move out.
Ending Month-To-Month Tenancy
As month-to-month tenancies don’t have the long-term stability of a longer lease agreement, you must give tenants sufficient notice when it is coming up on time for them to move out. Giving notice with enough time will allow tenants to come to you with any questions and also prepare to find somewhere else to live as soon as possible.
Lease Terms Were Broken
If the terms of your lease agreement were broken but you do not believe the tenant needs to be urgently evicted for the issues, you can issue a notice to vacate. Your notice should include the reasons the lease agreement will be considered invalid. If the tenant decides not to honor your request, you would need to file for an eviction.
No Cause Termination
In some states and areas, you are required to have a specific reason for ending a lease agreement. In other states, you are able to terminate a lease agreement at any time for any reason.
If you work in a no-cause area, you will still be required to give tenants enough notice to move out of the property safely. Using a notice to vacate can give this information to your tenant.
No Longer Rentable
Finally, you may use the notice to vacate whenever you’ve decided to sell, remodel, move into, or otherwise remove the property from the rental market. Some states have specific rules about this situation, so be sure you are read up on your local guidelines.
When putting together a lease termination or notice to vacate letter, you will always want to be aware of how much notice you should give your tenants. The two most commonly used forms for these situations are 30-day notices and 60-day notices.
Which of these notices should be used is largely dependent on local and state laws affecting your rental. Some states require more notice than others, so you will want to be sure you adhere to these rules.
It is in your best interest to let your tenant know of your intent for them to vacate the property as soon as possible. If you can give 60 days’ notice to your tenants, that is recommended.
The more time you give your tenant, the more time you have to work out any potential problems before the move out date. Plus, most tenants appreciate the extra heads up.
When you’re dealing with a tenant who is not paying their rent or otherwise breaking the rules of the rental agreement, you may be within your rights to use a shorter notice. In many states, for example, you can use a 5-day notice to compel tenants to pay their rent or vacate the property.
The information that should be included in this type of notice to pay or quit is a little bit different than the broader notice to vacate, but the notice to vacate letter can be adapted for these situations as well.
The key questions to ask yourself while writing the notice will be the same regardless of which base template you use:
- Are you within your legal rights to ask your tenant to vacate?
- What is the tenant being asked to do? Make sure this is clear in the notice.
- How much time does the tenant have to act or respond to the notice?
- Can the tenant make amends or are they required to move out?
As long as the notice to vacate covers the answers to all of these questions clearly, it can be used for any time period according to your state and local laws.
As a landlord, it can be very helpful to have a notice to vacate template on file. Whenever the situation arises when you need to use it, you can simply load up the file, add the necessary details, and move on with your business.
What should be in your template when writing this type of notice?
There are a few specific things you must be sure to include to ensure your notice conveys all of the necessary information to the tenants.
Basic Identifying Information
Any lease termination letter or notice to vacate a property needs to begin with the following identifying information:
- The property address
- Tenancy period
- Landlord name and contact information
- Tenant names and contact information
While all parties involved know this information, it should be included on every rental document. Including this information ensures that no one will be confused about what property is in question, and the documents will stand up to legal scrutiny more effectively with this information.
Next, you want to outline why the tenant is being asked to vacate the property. If the lease is not being renewed, write that. If you are going to be selling the property, write that. If the tenant broke the terms of the lease agreement so they need to leave, write that.
Ultimately, there are many reasons you might be putting in this section. The key point is that you ensure the information is as clear as possible. If you are terminating the lease early, make sure that any reason given here is in line with local rules and ordinances.
Move Out Date And Process
Now, detail the following information for the tenant:
- What date they must move out by
- What the move-out process is
- When inspection will occur
- What will happen with their security deposit
While many tenants may be familiar with how moving out of a rental property works, it is best to make sure you and the tenant are on the same page about every step of the process. Explaining your process here will prevent miscommunications.
Questions And Concerns
Finally, make sure to put down information about who to contact with any questions and concerns the tenant may have regarding the notice to vacate. Being open to questions will help to open up communication and prevent any issues between both parties.
What happens after you send a notice to vacate to a tenant?
In most cases, the tenant will follow through with the request and move out by the prescribed date. They may have questions or concerns leading up to that date, but landlords and tenants can typically work out any problems and move along to the move-out process.
In some cases, however, the tenant may disagree with the request or flat-out refuse to move out. That is when you can move forward with the eviction process. Most states allow for the notice to vacate to act as the first step in the eviction process, meaning you can file for eviction as soon as they do not move out by the requested date.
To learn more about how to evict a tenant, check out our complete guide here.
How Do I Write A Letter To Tell A Tenant To Move Out?
To get the complete run-through of how to write a letter to a tenant to move out, scroll up to read more about the notice to vacate letter. This letter has many components that you want to get right, and we have created a complete guide for you to follow.
If you want to quickly confirm that you have everything your letter needs before it can be sent, use this quick checklist:
- Property address
- Tenant names
- Details of when the tenant must vacate
- Explanation of why, if applicable
- Information about the move-out procedure
- Contact information they can use if they have any questions
As long as your letter contains all of the above, as well as any information that is required by the state, you are ready to send it. The notice doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to convey the information your tenants need to receive before they are asked to leave the property.
Does Email Count As Written Notice To Vacate?
With how useful technology is today, you might be wondering if you can simply send your tenant an email with the same information as the notice to vacate. The answer is yes, you can, but also, you might not want to rely on that.
In most cases, you want to make sure the tenant receives their notice by mail. This is due to the way that legal documents are processed, and it is even better if you ensure they sign on delivery or deliver the letter yourself.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. If you want to rely on electronic communication, you can have your tenant sign an agreement indicating if they are comfortable with only receiving things electronically. If they have agreed, you can send an email only as your letter to vacate.
If you are unsure, your best bet is to send the email but also to mail or deliver a copy directly. This will ensure the tenant has received the document.
How Does A Landlord End A Tenancy Agreement?
There are a few different ways and reasons for a landlord to end a tenancy agreement:
- Pay rent or quit: The tenant must pay overdue rent or leave the property.
- Cure or quit: The tenant must remedy issues that are breaking the lease agreement or leave the property.
- Unconditional quit: The tenant has either done something that cannot be remedied or no-cause termination is happening.
The general notice to vacate we have talked about today is used for the unconditional quit situations. This means there is nothing the tenant can do to fix the situation; they must leave the property. As previously mentioned, this can be because they broke the lease agreement but it can also be because the landlord or the tenant no longer wants to continue the tenancy.
In cases where there is a potential cure for the situation, you should use the proper eviction notices for those specific situations.
Can I File For Eviction After Sending A Notice To Vacate?
While a notice to vacate is not the typical eviction notice used by landlords, it is possible to file for eviction after sending this notice. Of course, specific conditions must be met.
If you send this notice and doing so is within your legal rights, the tenant must move out by the date stated. A tenant not moving out is cause for filing for eviction, and you can begin the eviction process as soon as they do not leave the property on time. You have given them notice, and they did not leave. Now, it is within your rights to file for eviction.
Keep Everyone On The Same Page
Determining how to write a notice to vacate to send to a tenant can be confusing if you have never done it before. How do you know what the right words are? How can you be sure you covered everything? How do you write a notice to vacate a property from scratch?
Of course, you just need to remember these things:
- Make sure you are within your legal rights to ask the tenant to leave.
- Send the notice with the appropriate amount of time.
- Follow our guidelines for how to write your own notice to vacate template.
Carefully following these steps will ensure you are doing the right thing as a landlord. You have a responsibility to inform you tenants about their need to vacate as early as possible, and the notice to vacate can help you to do just that. Use it wisely, and you will find that the communication between you and tenants as they move out will be better than ever before.