What is a Lease Termination Letter?


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When you move out of a property, you want to make sure that you strictly follow all of the requirements set out in your rental agreement to avoid any fees or penalties. Sending your landlord or property manager a non-renewal letter is part of the process. If you’re looking for advice or a sample letter to a landlord on not renewing a lease, we’ve got you covered. Find out what every tenant needs to know about sending a non-renewal lease letter.

What is a lease termination letter?

A “Lease Non-Renewal Letter”, also known as a Lease Termination Letter or Notice to Move Out, is a written document telling your landlord that you intend to vacate a property and move into end of your rental agreement. Most rental agreements require you to give this written notice. You will want to check your lease for details on the required information you need to include.

You will typically send a non-renewal lease letter to a landlord in one of two circumstances:

  1. You reach the agreed end of your lease and plan to move
  2. You must break your lease sooner

Your lease may require you to give specific notice. Check your agreement to make sure you know what your landlord expects. Giving 30, 45 or 60 days is common practice.

Why do you need a lease termination letter?

Ending a lease requires tenants to follow a procedure to ensure that they are giving proper notice. A lease non-renewal letter is usually the best way to notify your landlord or property manager that you are ending the lease and moving out of your home.

Before you write the non-renewal lease letter, you’ll want to review your rental agreement to see if you will face any penalties for moving out when you do. It is also recommended that you speak directly with your landlord. Be sure to carefully check the section of your rental agreement that describes tenants giving notice of their intention to move out. This will help you confirm that any wording you plan to use and the notification process you follow conform to the lease you signed.

While not all rental agreements require the tenant to give written notice to move when the lease expires, some situations will still require a formal letter to be sent to your landlord. Here are some examples:

  • You have signed a monthly rental contract
  • You initially agreed to a lease, but neither you nor the landlord renewed the terms, and you automatically entered into a monthly lease.
  • You have a rental period that renews automatically, you want to move instead of letting the agreement renew automatically
  • You break a lease before the contract expires

Remember that if you break a lease, you will need to take into account additional considerations such as possible penalties and fees. For example, some rental agreements require a tenant breaking a lease prematurely to pay up to two months’ rent in addition to losing the security deposit.

Tips for writing a non-renewal lease letter

You’ll want to keep a few best practice tips in mind when writing your non-lease renewal letter:

  • Before you begin, check your rental agreement for specific instructions on what to include in your letter and how to deliver it to your landlord.
  • Keep your writing polite and simple. This letter is not the occasion to express your grievances.
  • Be sure to include your contact details and your property’s new address so your landlord can return your security deposit to you.
  • Keep an exact copy of the letter for yourself. Photocopy the letter so you have it for your records.
  • Follow specific instructions regarding the delivery of a non-renewal lease letter, as outlined in your lease. Consider sending the letter by registered mail, even if your agreement does not require it, asking for a return receipt to offer additional protection.

You may also want to request an official tour of your property with your landlord or property manager. Walking through the unit with your landlord will give you a chance to document anything you will need to repair or have deducted from your security deposit.

Example of a letter of non-renewal of a lease

If you don’t know how to start writing your letter, using a basic template can help. You can adapt this sample letter of non-renewal of a lease for an apartment according to your needs:

[Your Name]
[Your Apartment Street Address] [Your Unit Number]
[City, State ZIP Code]
[Date]
[Name of Your Landlord and Property Management Company]
[Address as Printed on Your Lease]
[City, State ZIP Code]

Dear [Name of Landlord/Property Manager]:

This letter serves as my writing [give the number of days as required by your lease agreement]-one day of notice that I will move out of my unit on [move-out date], the end of the current lease.

Please indicate when you will return my $ security deposit[enter amount as stated in your lease]. Please also indicate if you will deduct an amount due to damage not corresponding to normal wear and tear.

[Although the following information isn’t strictly required, it works well as a professional courtesy:] I’m leaving because of [a rent increase, new job, etc.].

You can reach me at [phone number, email, and new address] after [moving day].

Regards,
[Your Signature]
[Your Name]
[Your Apartment Number]

Whether you need to break a rental agreement or just don’t plan on renewing your lease when the current term expires, you want to properly notify your landlord or property manager before you move out. Sending a non-renewal lease letter provides a formal record of your intentions. Once you understand the basics, you’ll have the confidence to write and send one when you’re ready to leave your current location.

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