If you are sure you intend to move and you have a move date, it’s time to prepare your 30-day written notice to the landlord or management company. You should provide the notice to vacate the property whether you have a 12-month or month-to-month lease and regardless of whether you have a written lease. The notice provides you with legal protection and sets the tone for an orderly process as you go through the final inspection and move-out. Prevent problems by composing a proper 30-day rental notice that includes the necessary statements and information to meet your legal and ethical responsibility.
Address the 30-day notice to the landlord or representative who will receive the letter. Include the name, business name and full address.
Date your written 30-day notice well enough in advance of the start date of the period referenced in your notice. This is the date on which you compose or mail the letter, which will differ from the start date of the notice period if you mail the 30-day notice well enough in advance to reach the landlord before the start date of the 30-day period.
Use a start date for the 30-day period as required by your lease. Follow your lease if it requires that the notice is dated on the first of the month or requires that the landlord received the notice before the first of the month. Dating or submitting the notice after the first of the month can mean that is does not take effect until the first of the next month. This issue might be more important for month-to-month renters.
Include a statement in your notice that makes clear the date on which you intend the 30-day notice to notice to begin. For instance, write that the 30-day period that is your notice starts on May 1 and not the date on which the landlord receives the notice.
Begin your letter with the phrase, “You are hereby notified” or similar language and follow with the statement that you will vacate the property at the given address on the specified date.
Explain in your notice how you will return the keys to the landlord. For instance, you will leave the keys on a counter or deliver them in person.
Provide in the notice instructions and a forwarding address for mailing your security deposit. Include contact information such as telephone numbers and email addresses so the landlord can contact you if there are problems.
Close the notice with your printed full name, under which you should affix your signature and the date you signed.
- Mail the notice by certified mail and request a return receipt for your records. Hand deliver a copy of the notice to your landlord and also send the notice certified and first class if you are concerned about your landlord refusing to sign for certified mail. Keep a copy of the notice for your files.
- Make sure you send the notice to the correct address, such as a management company instead of the property owner, as noted in your lease agreement.
- Send a notice to vacate even if you do not have a written lease or if your written lease has an end date. Rental leases often renew automatically if you or the landlord does not expressly end the lease with notice.
- Follow the requirements of your lease and your state’s landlord-tenant laws when preparing and mailing your 30-day notice. Some states designate the date the landlord receives the notice as the starting date of the 30-day notice period. Your lease might require a 45-day or 60-day notice or one week’s notice for a week-to-week lease.
- Mistakes or omissions in your written 30-day notice can leave you open to debt, legal action or loss of your security deposit, especially if you have had problems with the landlord.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.