When you rent an apartment, you usually must sign a lease for six months, a year or two years. Even if you have a month to month rental agreement, you must tell your landlord in writing if you plan to move. Besides being legally required, it is a courteous thing to do so your landlord is not stuck with an empty apartment that he has no time to re-rent.
If you are not going to renew your lease, send your landlord a letter informing him of this at least 60 days before the lease ends. Some leases automatically renew if you do not send such a notice, which legally obligates you to remain in the property for another year. In addition, it is good practice to give the landlord advance notice so that he can schedule your move-out inspection and search for new tenants.
Your termination letter should inform your landlord of the date you intend to vacate the property. You should also request a move-out inspection, give the landlord several dates and times to choose from and tell her when you will return your keys. Finally, you should give the landlord your forwarding address so she can send your security deposit or letter explaining why you are not receiving a deposit refund.
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If you terminate your lease early, you may have to pay an early termination fee. If so, you should mention the amount of the fee in your notice of termination and tell the landlord how and when you are going to pay it. You must pay all termination fees and rent due before the day your lease terminates. Contact your landlord if you are not sure how much you must pay for early termination.
Landlords have the right to terminate or not renew leases. State laws vary regarding how much written notice the landlord must give tenants before terminating a lease. In some states, such as North Carolina, landlords must give tenants only a seven-day notice, while in other states, such as Delaware, landlords must give tenants a 60-day notice. In most states, landlords must give tenants a 30-day notice before terminating a lease.