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How to Give Notice When Your Lease Is Up

Posted: August 15, 2023
A notice to vacate letter sits on a table next to a calculator.

You’ve decided to leave your residence for a new location for a variety of possible reasons. Before you leave, you’ll have a proper way to leave your residence and an improper way of leaving your residence. Most places require you to give a notice to vacate letter. 

Our Moving Help® guide will assist you in keeping in mind when, how, what, and why you need to give a notice to vacate letter. 

When to Give My Lease Termination Letter

When you’re ready to give your notice to vacate letter, you can’t just give it to your landlord at any time before you leave. You need to pull out your lease contract and read it carefully. After you’re done reading it, read it carefully one more time. 

The most common time frame to give notice is 30 days for your landlord. It’s not a set-in stone rule, however, as some landlords may require a 60-day notice, 90-day notice, or some other time frame of notice. 

If you miss your notice date, it could result in an automatic lease renewal, or you might have to pay fees to get out of your lease contract. 

You’ll want to read the break lease clause and the delivery clause in your lease contract. These sections should tell you how you can break your lease and if any fees apply, along with how to deliver your lease termination letter. 

If you’re still unsure of when you have to give your notice to vacate letter, ask your landlord. 

How to Deliver Your Notice to Vacate

  1. Write your notice to vacate letter on a computer
  2. Print out two copies — one for your landlord and one for your personal records
  3. Deliver it by certified mail and keep the receipt that they received your lease termination letter in your personal records
  4. Deliver it in person or email it to your landlord, but you’ll want to make sure you get some sort of receipt or confirmation that they’ve received your notice to vacate letter

What Do I Need to Write for My Notice to Vacate Letter?

Your notice to vacate letter should contain: 

  • The current date
  • Your home address
  • The lease term
  • The landlord’s name and contact information
  • Your name and contact information
  • The date you will vacate your home (move-out date)
  • That you’re requesting for the return of your security deposit
  • Your forwarding address to send your security deposit
  • Your signature

You don’t have to provide a specific reason you’re not renewing your lease. If you want to give a specific reason, some reasons may include job relocation, relationship status change, or maintenance problems.

It’s also important you leave a forwarding address, and you clean or pay someone to clean your apartment as well as possible. This way, you can get all or most of your security deposit back.

Why Do You Need to Give Notice?

Not only is giving notice most likely in your lease contract, it’s also common courtesy to give notice to vacate. 

It also serves as a record, which is why it’s important to keep all copies of receipts, letters, and other personal records in case you need to sue your landlord for your security deposit. 

Giving your notice to vacate will allow your landlord enough time to prepare to lease your rental to the next tenant. 

After you give your letter, you’ll want to make sure your place is in good condition, which can do by looking at our apartment inspection checklist

You’ll also need to begin moving. We have an apartment moving checklist that you can follow from two to four months away all the way to moving day on steps you need to figure out. 

Moving an apartment isn’t an easy task, so if you need to hire apartment moving labor, check out our Marketplace. Want some tips on how to move? Then check out our apartment moving tips and the best way to move apartments

Make Sure to Deliver Your Notice to Vacate Letter 

You’ll need to make sure you give your notice to vacate letter prior to the time frame in your lease contract. A termination letter will help you and your landlord figure out the final steps needed before you leave your home.

It’s also probably stated in your lease contract agreement, and you don’t want to breach your contract agreement so get started on your notice to vacate right away.