Many leases stipulate that you must give 30 days' notice to your landlord before you move out, according to Justia.com. Even if your lease does not require this, it is considerate to let your landlord know as soon as possible that you will be vacating. Leaving your landlord with a good impression of you could mean that you get more of your deposit back and get a good reference if any new landlords ask for one.
Use a Business Letter Format
Although a signed, handwritten note is enough to give legal written notice, it is proper and professional to type out a business letter. This format begins with your name and address at the top, followed by the date and then your landlord's name and address. You can begin your letter with "To Landlord:" if you don't know your landlord personally.
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Give Notice and the Moving Date
Begin the body of your letter by stating that you are giving 30 days' notice, and then give the date that you will be moving out. This is probably the most important information that your landlord will need, and so should be discussed first. If you are not completely sure of the day you will be moving, give a general idea such as "the end of the month" and that you will get in touch later with the specific date. Don't put off giving notice just because your plans are not firm.
Schedule Inspection and Deposit Return
Your landlord will want to inspect the rental before he returns your deposit. If you would like to be there for the inspection to dispute any charges that your landlord wants to deduct, make that clear in your letter. Also remind your landlord of the amount of your deposit, and ask that it be returned when you move out.
Check your lease, as well as state and local tenant laws, to determine when you can expect your security deposit back. In many areas, landlords may have anywhere from 14-60 days to get your deposit in the mail.
Provide New Address
If possible, provide your landlord with your new mailing address. Your landlord will need this if he will be returning your deposit by mail after you move out. It's important to note that if your landlord doesn't have your new address and can't mail the deposit, your state's laws may allow her to keep the deposit after a period of time, according to Nolo.com.
In addition, your landlord may need to reach you about returning left-behind property or mail that is delivered to your old home. If you anticipate any ongoing issues with your landlord, such as the potential for a lawsuit over deposits or property damage, providing your mailing address helps to ensure that you'll receive proper service of any legal actions.
If you don't yet have your new address, consider asking a friend or family member if they are willing to temporarily accept your mail until you are settled in your new home. You could also get a post office box or arrange for a mail forwarding service to receive and then send your mail on to you.
Update Contact Information
The landlord may want to contact you before you leave to ask if it is OK to show the rental to possible new tenants. Also, a landlord may offer to rent at a lower price if it means you will stay. Or she may want to reach you after you have moved because there is a problem. In all of these cases she will need to have a way to get in touch with you. If your landlord does not already have your email address or phone number, include it at the end of your letter.