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A notice to vacate is often the first step in the process of terminating a residential lease agreement or commercial lease . This happens because a tenant is ready to move on or the landlord finds a tenant that is better suited to the property.
Irrespective of why it is given, it’s important to understand what a notice to vacate is and how it works. In this post, we’ll look at notices to vacate in more detail.
What is a Notice to Vacate?
A notice to vacate is a written statement given by a tenant to a landlord informing the landlord that they plan to move out of the home or apartment when the lease ends. A notice to vacate can also be given by a landlord to a tenant when the landlord ends the lease agreement and requires the tenant to vacate the property.
It should be distinguished from other clauses in lease agreements like a break clause or early termination clause which also relate to the termination of a lease agreement, but in different circumstances and have different requirements.
Here is an article about notice to vacate letters.
Purpose of Notice to Vacate Letters
When a tenant moves out of a rental property, the landlord will need to spend time and money to fill the property. This takes time because the landlord will have to advertise the home or apartment, find prospective tenants, and screen them. So, the main purpose of giving a notice to vacate to the landlord is to enable them to find new tenants and minimize the time they’ll lose out on rental income.
Likewise, a landlord should give a notice to vacate well in advance to enable the tenant to find a suitable home or apartment they can move into.
How To Write a Notice to Vacate Letter
The notice to vacate should set out all the basic information that makes the purpose of the letter clear. It should also show that either the tenant or the landlord has followed the necessary steps to commence the move out process.
As such, the notice should contain the following information:
- The tenant’s name and address . This shows who the letter is from or directed to, depending on the circumstances, and should contain the tenant’s current address.
- The landlord's name and address . This is the contact information that the landlord has provided in terms of the lease agreement.
- Date . This is the date on which the notice is prepared.
- The purpose of the notice . The notice should clearly state that it's a notice of to vacate.
- Requested move out date . The notice should indicate the date on which the tenant will vacate the property or the date on which the landlord requests that the tenant vacate the property.
- The advance move out notice . Each state requires an amount of time that must be given in terms of a notice to vacate in order to legally terminate the lease agreement. Depending on the state and the type of lease agreement, the amount of notice can vary between seven days to 60 days.
- The need for a move out inspection . Certain states require a landlord to perform a move out inspection when a tenant vacates a home or apartment. The tenant needs to be informed on this date and the time at which the inspection will happen.
- The security deposit return . Each state has different rules for how and when a security deposit must be returned to the tenant. The notice to vacate should clearly set out that the tenant is entitled to the return of the security deposit and when this return will happen.
- Forwarding address . When the tenant prepares a notice to vacate, they should include the address where they can be reached and where the security deposit can be sent after they vacated the rental.
- Tenant signature . Depending on who sends the notice to vacate, it must be signed by either the tenant or the landlord.
Here is an article about how to write a notice to vacate.
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When To Use a Notice to Vacate Letters
There are different scenarios when notice to vacate letters are used. These are:
- Tenant to landlord no-cause notice to terminate . The first type of notice to vacate is the notice to vacate letter from a tenant to a landlord that serves as a termination letter of the lease. In terms of this notice the tenant informs the land that they will not be renewing the lease and that they will vacate the rental property. This notice should be given well in advance of the lease renewal. Typically, a 30-day notice is required.
- Landlord to tenant no-cause notice to terminate . The second type of notice to vacate is similar to the first but it's a notice that is sent by the landlord to the tenant that requests the tenant to vacate the property and informs them that the lease will not be renewed. This form of notice is quite uncommon because landlords want to have tenants in their properties.
- Landlord to tenant cause notice to terminate . The cause notice to terminate from the landlord to the tenant happens when the tenant has done something in violation of the lease agreement . This can include anything from the failure to pay rent to having an authorized guests or other lease violations. This type of notice requires the reason for the notice and allow the tenants a certain period of time to correct their violations. It's important to keep in mind, that while certain violations require the landlord to allow the tenants to correct them, others don't. For example, damaging the rental property does not require the landlord to allow the tenant to correct. The tenant fails to correct the violation, the lease will terminate.
- Tenant to landlord cause notice to terminate . The final form of notice to vacate is a cause notice to terminate by the tenant to the landlord when the landlord is in violation of the lease agreement though, for example, if the landlord does not adequately maintain the property as they are supposed to in terms of the lease agreement, the tenant will give this notice to the landlord.
Here is an article about the several types of notice to vacate.
Get Help With A Notice To Vacate
At any time when a lease terminates, whether there’s cause or no-cause, it’s necessary to send a notice to vacate. For any tenant or landlord doing this, it’s essential that the notice contains all the necessary information. If it doesn’t, it could lead to issues and disputes later.
As a result, it’s often recommended that tenants or landlords get help with preparing notices to vacate. Fortunately, real estate lawyers have the necessary skills and experience to assist landlords and tenants. To find out more about notices to vacate or get help in preparing one, visit our website where we have resources and lawyers available.
Meet some of our Notice to Vacate Lawyers
I joined Enterprise Law Group, LLP as an Associate in March 2020. My practice has involved a wide range of legal matters from commercial real estate, finance and international business transactions to litigation matters including commercial disputes, personal injury and medical malpractice. Proficient in Spanish, I graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, and the University of Southern California. Prior to my legal career, I sought diverse professional experiences. After graduating from college, I orchestrated my own volunteering experience in southern Peru with a small non-profit organization. Later I gained valuable professional experience as part of a U.S. Senate campaign, and after that I joined the public policy team at Greater Louisville, Inc., Louisville's Chamber of Commerce affiliate. Prior to law school, I embarked on a month long excursion with the Northern Outdoor Leadership School in Alaska, which gave me a new found appreciation for sustainability.
Agnes Mombrun Geter is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Mombrun Law, PLLC. She is an experienced attorney and is a member of the Florida Bar, New Jersey Bar, and the Pennsylvania Bar. The firm's practice focuses on Estate Planning, Business Law, and Debt Settlement including IRS Debt Relief. The firm's goal is to simplify the law and provide clients with the confidence and information necessary to make their decisions. The firm also provides project-based legal services to other attorneys and law firms, along with assisting as personal counsel and local counsel on legal matters.
Have over 40+ years of corporate and commercial law experience.
I am a business attorney with years of experience advising individual entrepreneurs and small businesses on issues ranging from entity selection/formation to employment law compliance, to intellectual property protection and exploitation. I often act as General Counsel for my clients fulfilling the legal function as part of a team of managers. I look forward to learning more about your business and how I may be of assistance.
Corporate and transactional attorney in sixth year of practice. Focus areas include general corporate counsel, labor and employment law, business partnership matters, securities matters related to privately-held companies, and regulatory compliance in securities and finance matters.
Forest is a general practice lawyer. He provides legal advice regarding small business law, contracts, estates and trusts, administrative law, corporate governance and compliance. Forest practiced complex commercial litigation in Florida for eight years, representing clients such as Host Marriott, Kellogg School of Business, and Toyota. Since moving to Nashville in 2005, he has provided legal advice to clients forming new businesses, planning for the future, and seeking funding through the use of equity and/or debt in their businesses. This advice has included the selection of business type, assistance in drafting and editing their business plans and offering material, reviewing proposed term sheets, and conducting due diligence. Forest is a member of the Florida, Tennessee, and Texas Bars; in addition. Forest has held a Series 7, General Securities Representative Exam, Series 24, General Securities Principal, and Series 63, Uniform Securities Agent State Law.
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