How to Write a 30-Day Notice
As a landlord, there may come a time when you need to terminate a lease with one of your tenants. Thirty-five million Americans move every year, and 21 percent of those are renters. Terminating a lease may be a part of the process which begins by delivering a lease termination letter.
Terminating a lease also gives you the ability to renovate your property. Or you can switch to a long-term lease instead of a month-to-month lease. A lease termination letter is most commonly sent 30 days ahead of the move-out date, often referred to as a 30-day notice.
Here's what you need to know to write a lease termination letter.
What is a lease termination letter?
The 30-day notice is a lease termination letter. Specifically, it's meant to inform the tenant that their lease is either ending early or will not be renewed. It can be written by the landlord and given to the tenant, or vice versa.
In short, a lease termination letter is the first step to ending a lease.
Termination vs. eviction
For new landlords, these two terms can be confusing and quite similar. Eviction is the legal process to remove tenants who refuse to leave. This is done through a court proceeding to allow both the landlord and tenant to state their case.
Termination, however, can be a positive thing. It's simply the ending of the lease. The termination letter is the official way to let tenants know their lease is about to end. It doesn't mean the tenant did something wrong — it could simply mean that the lease is about to end.
On the other hand, this termination letter lays the legal foundation for eviction should the tenant decide not to leave.
Here's an overview of the process:
- The landlord sends the 30-day termination notice
- If the tenant leaves on time, the lease is terminated successfully
- If the tenant doesn't leave on time, the landlord can start the eviction process
- If the court sides with the landlord, the tenant is evicted
When to provide notice
Many tenants may fear receiving a lease termination letter. For the sake of creating good relationships with your tenants, it's best to give them plenty of notice. After all, they will need to start looking for new housing.
While 30-day notices are often the most common, you can also write a three-day, 15-day or 60-day notice. For instance, three-day notices are commonly used when the lease agreement was violated. This can include the tenants having pets, causing a nuisance, destroying property or using the property for illegal purposes.
Sixty-day notices, on the other hand, are often used to end long-term leases that last for more than a year. That way, the tenants have plenty of time to find a new place to live. The extra time is often considered a courtesy.
Just be sure to check your state and local laws. Some states require 60-day notices for all terminations, while others require only 15-day notices.
Preparing a 30-day notice
When preparing a 30-day notice, there are certain things you'll need to include:
- When the lease will be terminated
- Why the lease will be terminated
- How long the tenant has to fix things
As well as necessary information about the lease:
- Name and address of the landlord
- Name and address of the tenant
- Property of the lease in question
Should you ever need to move onto eviction, your notice needs to include this basic information. Otherwise, your notice may not be considered valid. If you're ever unsure about what exactly needs to be included, most states have clear and easy-to-read guidelines for writing your 30-day notice.
Serving your notice
Once you've written the 30-day notice, you'll have to serve the notice to your tenants. The easiest way is to send the notice via certified mail. That way, you have proof the tenant received the notice. Additionally, you can hand-deliver the notice in person, or give the notice to a member of their household with directions to give it to the tenant.
Although there are various ways to write a 30-day notice, here's one example.
Notice to quit
To: [Tenant Name]
Located at: [Tennant Address]
You are hereby put on notice that your month-to-month tenancy of the above premises is terminating. You must vacate and surrender the premises upon thirty (30) days of this notice. Therefore, you must vacate the premises by [Date of Termination].
If you do not vacate the premises by then, you are notified that your landlord will take legal action to recover the debts owed, possession of the premises, damages, attorney's fees and other costs as allowed by applicable law. Communications about this matter may be sent to your landlord's address below.
On the day of move-out, both parties should perform the move-out inspection. This will occur on the termination date or on any date agreed upon by the landlord and tenant.
Should your landlord file a court action to evict you, you will be able to state the reasons why you should not be evicted. You have the right to consult a lawyer, and if you believe you have a valid defense, you should contact one promptly.
Your landlord may not take unilateral steps to prevent your access to the premises or shut off utilities until a court order is issued for a sheriff to remove you. You will have legal recourse if your landlord unlawfully attempts to evict you.
Served on [Date Served],
Sign: [Landlord's signature], Date: [Date signed]
Print: [Landlord's printed name]
Proof of Service
I, [Name of server], certify that on [Date served] I served this notice to [Tenant's name] by [Method of serving].
Writing a 30-day notice isn't terribly difficult. As long as you include all the necessary information, it can be as short and friendly as you'd like.
By giving your tenants plenty of time to move out and find a new place to live, a 30-day notice can help build rapport and strengthen your relationship.
Just remember that every state has its own rules and regulations about sending a notice. Be sure to check local laws before sending your lease termination letter.