Sometimes you just need a new place.  Leave that apartment behind and find a new path.  Perhaps it’s a new job, a new family circumstance or a new adventure.  

Whatever it is, it’s time to move.  So, how do you tell the landlord or property manager?

Generally speaking, you need to write something called a “Notice to Vacate Letter” or a “Notice of Intent to Vacate”.  Huh? What’s that? Sounds like something written by a lawyer, right?  

So, what is a notice to vacate?

It’s actually something that’s pretty straightforward to write and it’s the kind of thing you can quickly and easily write yourself – no lawyers required.  It’s just a written notice that you plan to move out of your place, that you will not renew your lease, and to give the property owners your planned date to move.  

How do you give notice?  

Depending on your lease, sometimes it actually needs to be a real, printed letter with a “wet” (in ink) signature.  Crazy, we know. I bet there are still some landlords asking for them to be faxed in! More often, happily, an email with a notice to vacate will suffice, but check your lease to know for sure.   

When do you give notice?

That depends on two things.  First, when do you want to move, and second, when is your lease up?  Assuming you’re moving when your lease is up, you need to know what your lease says about serving a notice to vacate.  Do you have to give 30 days’ notice? 45? Some leases may require as much as 90 days notice of intent to vacate, so you should make sure you know what the lease says.  

Again, assuming you’re moving when your lease is up, make sure you give notice before that 30-90 day notice period to avoid any awkward conversations with your landlord.

What if you need to move before your lease is up?

Here you have a couple of options.  Usually, your lease spells out what happens when you want to break the lease.  Pro Tip – this is usually negotiable. In most places, they’ll let you out of the lease for a one to two month break fee, less if you can give them lots of notice.  

So, in this situation, we’d suggest talking to your landlord before writing a notice to vacate to talk over your options with them. Most landlords should be pretty understanding – it may seem unusual to you, but landlords have to deal with this kind of thing all the time.

Want some help writing a notice to vacate letter?  How about a template?

Here’s a template you can use to put together your own:

[First and Last Name]
[Street Address, Apartment Number]
[City/State/Zip]
Email: [Your Email Address] [Date] [Landlord Name]
[Landlord Address]

Dear [Landlord’s Name],

I’ve loved living here, but it’s time to move.  This letter is to provide formal written notice of my intention to vacate my [apartment/home] on [Planned move date].  My lease requires [number of days notice] and here I am giving you even more notice.  

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a walkthrough of the apartment, you can reach me at [phone number and/or email address].  

I believe that my [apartment/home] is in good condition with normal wear and tear only and look forward to receiving a full refund of my security deposit of [$____].  You can mail it to me here:

[New address]

Thanks for being a great landlord,

[Your Signature] [Your Full Name]

Hope that helps.  Now, back to looking for the next amazing place – on Dwellsy, of course!

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