With the high cost of good accommodation in New York, renting out a piece of property can be a great source of income. However, if you intend to maintain your business lawfully, there are a few things you need to know, such as how to draft a New York lease termination letter.

There are state-specific laws and regulations that you need to adhere to so that you avoid any problems with tenants or law enforcement officials. The following article will cover how you can draft a New York lease termination letter correctly.

Lease Termination Letter?

A residential lease termination letter is the written notice that the landlord provides to the tenant to terminate a lease agreement. This is a lawful requirement in a month-to-month lease situation where the landlord wants to terminate the lease early. In New York, a lease termination letter must be accompanied by a 30-day notice period.

Proper Notice

In circumstances where the landlord wants to lawfully terminate a lease agreement, for example, when a tenant misses their rent payment date, New York law requires that you give your tenant a month's notice. However, this usually applies to a month-to-month tenancy. Other types of tenancies may have different requirements for what is considered proper notice, such as:

  • Seven days termination notice for a week-to-week tenancy
  • No required termination notices on a fixed-term tenancy other than a month-to-month lease. Here the landlord will allow the tenant to stay until the end of the lease agreement, which is usually on the next rent payment date

State Laws

There are specific laws that you need to keep in mind besides how much notice is required for a New York lease termination. Consider the following New York notice requirements:

Penalties for Not Giving Your Tenant Notice

Landlords who fail to provide proper New York lease termination notice may be found to have breached New York State law. The consequences of this include not being able to take possession of their rental building as well as difficulties in finding new tenants.

The landlord will also be liable to pay legal fees and penalties as determined by the courts. The only way to challenge this ruling would be to prove that you had legal cause to immediately terminate the lease agreement before the end of the lease term.

Legal cause that is admissible in court includes situations where the tenant was conducting illegal activities on the premises, such as dealing drugs, or was endangering the safety of other tenants. However, the tenant's failure to meet a rent payment date is not considered enough cause for not providing a New York lease termination notice.

Termination of Tenancy Without Specific Term

As a landlord, the best way to terminate a tenancy that does not have a specified lease term is simply not to renew the lease when it expires. Here the landlord is not required by law to provide notice or any reasons for refusing to renew the lease agreement. However, it is illegal for the landlord to refuse a lease renewal due to any discriminatory or retaliatory motives.

Termination of Tenancy With Specific Term

Lease termination of a tenancy with a specific term is not easy in situations where-by the tenant has been renting the premises for more than one year without any issues. If they have been using the premises for less than a year then you can evict them with no cause.

In this case, you can issue your tenant with a legal document known as a notice to vacate which would usually give them at least one month from the current date to vacate the building. Just like when prematurely terminating a month-to-month tenancy, you will need to provide legal cause for this action.

How To Write One

As a landlord or property manager, you need to know how best to write a lease termination letter in a way that protects you from any legal backlash. Before initiating the lease termination process, think carefully about the following:

  • The type of lease agreement that you have with your tenant must be your first consideration because this will determine your obligations regarding how much notice you need to provide
  • What are your reasons for choosing to terminate the lease early? If your motives are discriminatory, you could face legal action as this goes against New York law

In that regard, certain details must be included in your lease termination letter, such as:

  • Names, contact details, and addresses of both parties involved (landlord/tenant)
  • The street address and/or unit number of the property in question
  • Your reasons for terminating the lease agreement, if required
  • A copy of the original lease, clearly showing when it started and the proposed end date
  • The details of the security deposit
  • Your signature is on the bottom of the legal document, next to the current date.

Build Your Own

While the process of drafting a New York lease termination letter is not difficult, missing any important details could be costly. To make it easy and ensure you comply with the law, why not use the ready-made templates available at DoorLoop, such as:


If you are terminating your lease and need the tenant to sign, or you want to sign a new lease with a new tenant, you want to make the process as easy and efficient as possible.

With DoorLoop, you can get your agreemenets eSigned in a few seconds. You can also get to the eSignature step much faster by creating reusable templates that are autofilled with tenants' information.

DoorLoop also makes it so simple to find the best tenants in the first place by syndicating your lisitngs on popular websites Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads,, and more. You can also make sure you're bringing in the best tenants by screening your prospects in seconds through DoorLoop.

For more information about DoorLoop, learn more or schedule a free demo.

The Bottom Line

In New York, the responsibility to provide notice in the form of a lease termination letter lies on the shoulders of the landlord. Failure to do so may result in legal action being brought against you as well as future problems when it comes to renting out your property.

This article has, hopefully, provided you with all the information you will need when drafting your New York lease termination letter. If you have any problems, we are here to help. Take a look at our lease termination templates and choose one which suits your location and circumstances.


Under What Circumstances Can a Landlord Withhold the Security Deposit?

The law in New York requires the landlord to return the security deposit in full to the tenant within 30 days of the building being vacated. However, there are certain situations where the landlord has the right to withhold the security deposit, such as:

  • There has been damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear. This includes, for example, holes in the walls, broken windows, or fire and water damage
  • The full amount for rent has not been paid
  • Unpaid increase in real estate taxes if the tenant was supposed to pay the taxes according to the lease agreement

Can a Tenant Be Allowed To Stay Without Signing a Lease Agreement?

Yes, if both you and the tenant have a verbal or written agreement, you can allow a tenant to stay on your property. In such cases, the renter will be called a tenant-at-will and the agreement is usually at least one month. The termination of such an agreement will still require a 30-day notice to be issued to the tenant.

There are many reasons why you may choose to enter into such an agreement with a tenant, for example, they have poor credit which makes it difficult to qualify for a long-term lease, or they are still bound by the lease from their previous tenancy.

What if a Tenant Refuses To Vacate the Premises?

When dealing with a tenant who refuses to vacate your property, you should obtain an eviction order from the court that will force the tenant to leave. If they still refuse to leave after being served the court order, you can report to the county sheriff's office and they will come and physically remove the tenant on the deadline of the court order.

Can I customize my own form or agreement?

Yes, you always can, however if you want to be 100% sure you are protected, you should consult an attorney in your local area.

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David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!