When a lease ends, it is time for the landlord and tenant to agree on what happens next.
Depending on the lease agreement, this could mean vacating the property or continuing to pay rent.
For whichever case, a written notice is always required. Having everything in writing is important because it is the best way to prove something in court.
In this guide, we will be going over the process of writing a lease termination letter to a tenant. We will go over the entire process and even include a sample lease termination letter that you can find on DoorLoop's Resources Page.
To get started, let's go over the purpose of a lease termination letter as well as some other important notes.
What Is a Lease Termination Letter?
When a landlord chooses to terminate the lease instead of keeping the tenant, state laws generally require that the landlord give the tenant proper notice with enough time. This time is typically from around 30 days to 60 days, but it depends on the state and the rental agreement.
This lease termination letter essentially also serves as a notice to vacate the premises. When tenants receive the letter, they are given an indicated amount of time to leave the property. If the tenant remains on the property after the end of the lease date, they can face serious consequences.
As you can probably tell, this letter is extremely important. And, it is essential that the document contains many important details that pertain to the tenant's lease. These details include the notice period, what will happen with the security deposit, and much more.
Another good thing to add to these letters is a copy of the inspection that was done when they moved in. This way, they know in what condition they should be leaving the rental unit before they leave. Now, before we get into the specifics of how the letter should be written, let's go over some important notes.
When Should The Letter Be Provided?
The answer to this question very much depends on the kind of lease. For a month-to-month lease, the letter should be provided with at least 30 days of notice. For a fixed-term lease, the landlord should provide a 30, 60, or 90-day notice. These are just general ranges but they can be different depending on the local laws.
Also, there may be some cases where the landlord is unable to terminate the lease. This is especially true when the landlord is trying to end the lease agreement early. For landlords trying to do that, they will likely need to discuss it with an attorney and provide an early lease termination letter.
Is A Lease Termination Letter The Same As An Eviction Notice?
The short answer to this question is that no, they are not the same thing. One of the main differences is that a lease termination letter simply means that the lease is finishing. This typically means that the agreed-upon date when the lease expires is coming, and the tenant is being notified of that.
An eviction notice is much more severe. When an eviction notice is sent out, it typically means that an eviction process is going to begin. These processes typically occur because of something that the tenant did, like not paying rent or illegal activity. If you want to learn everything about evictions, make sure to visit DoorLoop's Full Guide On Evictions.
So, now that we have those important distinctions out of the way, let's get into writing the letter itself.
Writing A Lease Termination Letter
In this section, we will be going over the whole process of writing a lease termination letter for a tenant. Make sure to note that this is not the only way that the letter can be written and the information included depends largely on the landlord's specific circumstances.
Similar to every letter that landlords write, an introduction should be included near the top. This introduction gives the tenant all the necessary information that the tenant needs to contact the landlord if anything.
The next paragraph of the letter should cover the general purpose of the letter. Since this letter is to notify the tenant of the termination of a lease, the purpose would be just that. It is important to note in the letter the date of the lease agreement as well as the date on which it will be officially terminated.
Apart from that, it is important to include how much time the tenant actually has to vacate the property. You can either provide a number of days or a certain date. Also, explain that a copy of the original lease agreement is attached for their review. This way, they can look over it to answer any questions or concerns.
The next section of the letter should serve to explain what will happen with the inspections. Landlords typically choose to have two main inspections, one at move-in and one at move-out. This section of the letter explains to the tenant that a date should be scheduled for the move-out inspection to be conducted.
Landlords will usually either provide the dates themselves and let the tenant choose or allow the tenant to choose the date. If the landlord wants to save time, they will just set the date of the move-out inspection to the move-out date.
It may also be a good idea to include a note about the inspections being compared. This may encourage the tenant to have the property in good condition for when the move-out inspection is going to occur.
One of the final parts of the letter should include a request to the tenant to provide any forwarding address. It is important that the landlord have this information because there may be communications after the tenant moves out.
The most important reason for the landlord to have this information, however, is to return the security deposit. Although state and local laws mostly govern what happens with security deposits, different rental agreements may have different specifications.
Then, lastly, it is nice to include a quick note about the tenant and how they may contact you with any questions or concerns.
Remember that this entire template can be found simply by visiting DoorLoop’s Resources Page.
Tips For Writing The Lease Termination Letter
Below are some general tips for writing the lease termination letter that should be taken into account.
Follow The Law And The Lease
This is extremely important when it comes to anything in property management. There is normally some information in your state's laws regarding information that must be included in the letter as well as how much time must be given and how it should be delivered.
It is also important to look over the lease to make sure that you are following any of the information that is included there. Checking all of this before sending out the letter mitigates the risk of a legal dispute in the future.
Proofreading the letter is extremely important. This is not necessarily because of the spelling, but more importantly because of dates and other information. If there is a mistake in the letter, like a wrong date or wrong address, there will be confusion between the tenant and the landlord in the future.
The Earlier The Better
It is important that whenever a landlord finds out that a tenant must be vacated, they send the letter as quickly as possible. This way, they can give the tenant even more notice than necessary, which is never a bad thing. Also, if the lease is being terminated early, the tenant should be given as much notice as possible.
There should always be a clear reason for termination included in the letter. It is important that this reason be clear and precise to give the tenant a clear idea of why they are receiving the notice.