A Notice to Vacate is a letter or written document that you should send to your landlord or property manager formally notifying them of your intent to vacate when your lease expires and that you won't be renewing your lease. You can also send a notice to vacate if you are breaking your lease and moving from your apartment early. It's a good idea to let your landlord or property manager know your intentions if you plan to leave at the end of your lease term, even if your lease agreement does not require it.
Similarly, a landlord can send a tenant a notice to vacate or a Lease Termination Notice to end a month-to-month tenancy or if you violate your lease agreement. A notice to vacate that is sent by a landlord is also known as an eviction notice and notified a tenant of a landlord's intent to terminate or end the lease.
While in most states, 30 days notice will be sufficient, others are more stringent and require a 60-day notice to vacate. For example, in California, landlords are required to provide tenants who have lived in an apartment for over 1-year a 60-day notice to vacate. Many large cities also have similar requirements.
When you should send a notice to vacate letter depends on where you live. In New York City, by law, most landlords will offer you a lease renewal approximately 90 days or so before your lease expires. As such, it's good practice to respond to the landlord's lease renewal offer or send a separate notification to your landlord or property manager that you won't be renewing your lease. In general, the timing of your notice is often written in your lease agreement. While a lot of properties in New York City requires 30 days of notice, some lease agreements may require 60 days. To verify the notice required, refer to your lease agreement.
If you are unsure what to include in your notice, read below for more information and a sample notice for future use.
1. Review Your Lease Before Drafting a Notice to Vacate
Before writing your notice to vacate, you should thoroughly review your lease agreement and become familiar with your local laws. Typically, your lease will explain how much notice is required. It will indicate how much notice is required and what manner you should provide notice.
Even if your landlord or property manager does not require a formal notice to vacate, it is probably in your best interest to send one anyways. Writing a friendly 30 day moving out notice to your landlord is always a good idea.
2. Make it Formal
It is advisable that you keep the letter as formal as possible. Therefore, it is best to type the letter and send it to your landlord with your original signature. Also, make sure that you keep a copy for your records.
The notice to vacate should be polite and professionals. Try your best to avoid being combative. Lastly, make sure you include your contact information together with a forwarding address. Your landlord will need this information to return your security deposit and contact you if there are any issues that they need to speak with you about or possibly forward your mail.
3. Include the Date
Be sure to include the date in your Notice to Vacate. This will record that you sent your notice timely, according to your lease agreement and New York City rental laws.
4. Don't Forget the Final Walk Through
Also, remember that you still must do a property walk-through with the owner or property manager to inspect and note any repairs that need to be conducted beyond normal wear and tear. Typically, this amount will be deducted from your security deposit.
5. Be Prepared to Negotiate a Termination Fee
Lastly, if you are breaking your lease, be prepared to sustain some additional fees and money. Breaking a lease without cause can cost you two or three months of additional rent, as well as your security deposit. Typically, it's best to negotiate this prior to sending a lease termination or notice to vacate letter to your landlord. However, in many cities and states, landlords have a duty to mitigate their damages when a tenant breaks his or her lease. This means that landlords cannot hold tenants financially responsible for the remainder of their lease agreement without making a good faith effort to find a replacement tenant to begin occupying the apartment as soon as possible. However, if, after a good faith effort, the landlord cannot find a replacement, you will be financially responsible for the remainder of your lease agreement and any other legal damages.
Here's a sample letter/notice to vacate that you can use when you provide notice to your landlord.
(Address of Your Apartment, Apt ###)
(New York, New York, ZIP Code)
(Landlord or Property Manager's Name)
(Landlord or Property Manager's Address)
Re: Notice to Vacate
Dear (insert landlord or property manager's name)
Please be advised that this letter is my written (30, 60, or 90) day notice, pursuant to my lease, dated (insert date) that I will be vacating my apartment when my lease ends on (insert lease end date). (Or insert whatever date you plan to vacate).
(this section is optional and is considered more like a courtesy to your landlord) I am leaving due to the fact that (insert reason, such as going to school, relocating, or rent too expensive).
Please contact me immediately to schedule a walk-through and an inspection of the apartment. Additionally, please let me know when my security deposit of $ (amount indicated in your lease agreement) will be returned. Furthermore, within two days after your walk-through, I ask that you provide me with an itemized list of deductions that you will be taking out from my security deposit for repairs and damages that are beyond normal wear and tear, if applicable.
My forwarding address and contact number are below for all future correspondence.
(insert address, phone number, and email address)
(Your Name & Signature).
When the time comes that you want or need to move from your apartment, you should give your landlord the proper legal notice, as required by your lease agreement. If you fail to give proper notice, you risk losing your security deposit. Or, even worse, you could also risk having a costly lawsuit filed against you because you failed to give your landlord proper notice.