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Vacate Notice Letter: How to tell your landlord you’re moving
7 steps to making your move easier, plus a free vacate notice letter template
Telling your landlord you’re moving may seem easy enough (and it can be!). But if your situation isn’t 100% straightforward—maybe you’re trying to break your lease or your roommates want to continue renting the apartment—you might feel a little stuck or uncertain. Notifying your landlord that you are moving doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow your lease requirements. And by proactively communicating with your landlord, you may even be able to get out of your lease if you need to move early. Here’s how to notify your landlord that you are moving and how to create a vacate notice letter.
7 Steps towards preparing to move and providing a moving notice
- Read your lease. Make sure you know what you agreed to when you moved in and coordinate your move-out date with the end of your lease. While most properties require a 30-day notice, some require 45 or even 60 (oof!). Check out Roost’s What to know before you sign that lease agreement for additional guidance. Your lease agreement will also tell you what could happen if you move out before the end of your lease.
- Tell your landlord you are moving out. Many property managers and landlords require a written vacate notice letter (email or mail) in advance of your move, usually at least 30 days in advance. Make sure you put it in writing and determine if you need to deliver a hard copy in addition to an electronic one. Use the template below to cover the areas needed to satisfy your lease agreement.
“I tell all of my tenants that if they notify me as soon as they know they’re moving,” says Samuels. “Then I’ll work with them on the specific move-out date and prorate them any rent for only the days they lived there. In exchange for the flexible moving date, we ask that they allow us to show the property to new prospective tenants when needed.“
— Bill Samuel of Blue Ladder Development
- Ask about the process and requirements for moving out. You may need to wrap doors and walls, protect elevators, reserve an extra parking spot or move during approved hours. Following the policies is key to ensuring you get your entire security deposit back.
- Clean out your storage unit. If your rental property has a storage unit space, make sure you remove all of your items from it before you move out, so you’re not scrambling the day of the move, or worse yet, forget.
- Take care of your trash/junk. Don’t leave anything behind for your landlord. They’ll have to charge you and you’re less likely to get a good reference in the future. Schedule to have a service like 1800GotJunk to show up at the tail end of your move.
- Pay your bills and call your providers. Don’t forget to pay your bills in full and ensure utility services are moved, so you aren’t stuck paying for services at two addresses after you’ve moved — and so your landlord doesn’t have to pay them, either.
- Request a change of address. Contact the post office to make sure to get your mail at your new place. You can do this online and it takes just a couple of minutes.
Here’s a handy template for your vacate notice (email or letter)
Dear (Name of landlord or property manager),
Thank you for renting (unit X) to me, but I have decided to move. This communication satisfies my lease requirement to give you (X) day’s notice. I will deliver all keys for the property to the business office before my move-out date.
Please advise me on when my security deposit of $ (amount agreed upon in your lease) will be returned, as well as if you anticipate any reason to not refund the full amount. Please let me know if there is a policy for moving out of the building that I need to follow. I can be reached by (this email and/or enter phone number).
My new address is:
(enter an address here)
Signature (if letter)
FAQs about moving out
1. What if I’m leaving, but my roommates are staying behind?
If you’re moving but your roommates are not, you should still provide a vacate notice letter to the landlord. Read your lease carefully to see if it includes specific requirements for multi-tenant renting. There may be an abbreviated inspection of some part of the property — for example, your bedroom — to verify that your security deposit can be returned.
2. Can I give notice early – 60 or 90 days before my departure?
Yes, you can always choose to give notice early, but you should never give notice late. When you give notice early, you make the process convenient for your landlord, which can accelerate the process and make the move-out process go more smoothly. To prevent confusion, be sure the date you plan to vacate is clearly stated.
3. If I give notice to vacate within 60 days, do I still have to pay rent if I leave in 30?
You should consult your lease and possibly an attorney for information that is accurate in your situation. In general, however, a notice to vacate is intended to be followed “within” a certain timeframe, rather than “on” the last day of the timeframe. Your landlord may not argue if they have people waiting to move-in – but if they are struggling to fill a vacancy you may find it harder to wriggle out of paying.
4. Can I break my lease if I don’t have money to pay the last month’s rent?
In general there is always a penalty for breaking a lease. If you break it to avoid paying the last month you could find that your entire security deposit will be used to make up for it and you may find yourself in small claims court. Always talk to your landlord if you are struggling to see if you can work out something amicably.
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