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How to Write a Lease Termination Letter to Give Your Tenants Notice to Vacate

how to write an eviction notice
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There are times when you may need to evict a tenant for failure to pay rent or for breaching their lease in some way. Or perhaps the lease has run its course and you feel there may be a more suitable tenant for your property.

In most states, you’re required to provide at least 30 days’ notice if there is no particular reason to ask a tenant to move out. When violations happen, or failure to pay rent comes up, a landlord may provide less notice. Having to evict a tenant or ask them to move out is hopefully rare, but it’s still important to know how to write a 30 day notice to vacate. Failing to provide a 30 day notice to the tenant or a notice of termination of the lease could complicate the process, so follow our sample lease termination letter to do it correctly.

What is a landlord’s notice to vacate?

Often referred to as a 30 day notice to vacate, it’s an official letter asking a tenant to move out. The termination of rental agreement letter by the landlord notifies the tenant in writing to avoid any misunderstandings and protect you legally if the tenant refuses to move out. This is different than the notice to vacate letter a tenant would have to write if they do not wish to renew their contract with you.

Why is a 30-day notice to tenant important?

In most states, the 30-day notice to vacate is legally required. Your tenants will need time to find another rental to live in, as well as pack and move out. Not sending the 30-day notice to the tenant will cause you trouble if you can’t prove in a court of law that you properly notified your tenant by providing them with a notice of termination of the lease.

When do you use a 30-day notice to vacate?

As the owner of the property, you have a right to provide a 30-day notice to the tenant — as long as the reason is valid and the tenant was properly notified in writing. Termination of rental agreement letter or end of lease letter by the landlord can be broken down into two main types:

Notice of termination of the lease with cause

You can issue this letter after you’ve warned a tenant to correct a lease violation, as long as the individual is not protected by COVID-19 eviction moratoriums. Tenants may also send a landlord a notice of termination of the lease with cause if the owner has breached the rental agreement, such as failing to make repairs in a timely manner.

Notice of termination of the lease without cause

Unless you own in a rent-control area, landlords can issue a 30-day notice to vacate if the lease ends and the tenants are renting month-to-month. The landlord doesn’t have to provide a reason for why they decided to ask the tenant to leave.

The different situations when a notice to vacate comes into play

A 30 day notice to tenant or lease termination letter is needed for several scenarios:

The lease may be ending soon and you don’t wish to renew

Just like the tenant, a landlord has a right to decide whether to continue renting their property. You may be selling the property, want to make improvements or find an alternative tenant. Sending the tenant a 30 day notice to vacate without cause informs them they should find alternative housing arrangements and move out.

The tenant stopped paying rent

In this scenario, you’ll need to provide a notice to vacate with the cause. Before you do, you should provide the tenant a “Pay Rent or Quit” notice detailing how much they owe with a deadline. If the tenant does not pay the back rent, you can then provide a notice to vacate or start eviction proceedings.

The tenant has violated the terms of their lease

If a tenant has broken rules specified in the lease, they’re in breach of their signed contract. You can send a notice of termination of the lease, but as with failure to pay rent, it’s best to provide them with a warning first. Sending a letter pointing out the violation, such as a no-pet or no-smoking policy, and providing them with a short window of time to correct the violation. If they ignore your written request, you can send a notice of termination of the lease with a cause.

What should you include in a landlord notice of termination of the lease?

It’s important to write your notice of termination lease carefully. A clearly written letter will minimize any misunderstandings, provide the tenant guidance on the move-out process, and will serve as evidence if the tenant refuses to leave and eviction proceedings must be started. A 30-day notice to vacate should be created on your letterhead with details of why key dates in the process and any other instructions your tenant needs to know.

Landlord-to-tenant notice to vacate letter template

According to LegalZoom, you should write your landlord-to-tenant notice to vacate letter on official company letterhead and include the following information:

  • Date of the notice
  • Tenant’s name and rental address
  • A request asking the tenant to vacate the rental by a specific date, typically at least 30 days out
  • The reason for termination if there is cause
  • Reference to the section in the lease which allows you to terminate the agreement
  • Move-out instructions, including keys, must be returned and the tenant must leave the premises in “broom-clean” or “good” condition
  • The time and date you’d like to do the final walk-through of the property
  • A request for the tenant’s new mailing address where the security deposit (minus any damages) will be returned to

Best practices when delivering a landlord notice to vacate

Some tenants may not take kindly to a notice to vacate. Avoid delivering the letter in person. Additionally, slipping the notice under their door or personally putting it in their mailbox or taping it to their door can be argued later that it was never received.

It’s best to keep confrontation to a minimum and mail the letter instead. Sending the letter by certified mail ensures your tenant receives it — and you are provided with official confirmation that the tenant personally signed for the notice.

The bottom line

A notice to vacate is sometimes necessary to end a lease early or to have a tenant on an indefinite month-to-month agreement move out. Knowing how to correctly write the notice will save you from any misunderstandings or having to pursue eviction proceedings. Fortunately, the letter is simple enough to draft on your own when you follow the template provided.

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