Terminating an apartment lease can mean both a pleasant change and a bit of paperwork. Even if you are buddies with your landlord, treat the end of your lease like the business matter that it is. Provide notice of your intent to vacate the premises in a timely manner as determined in your lease, and include all the details you want to document in case there are any future disputes. Be professional by sending a professional letter to your landlord or leasing agent that clearly states your plans to leave.
Locate your apartment lease and review the agreed-upon terms, such as length of notice and early-termination fees.
Determine whom the letter should be addressed to. For example, it could be a homeowner/landlord, leasing company or real estate agent.
Address the letter to the correct person with a complete name and address, and add the date when the letter was written before your greeting.
Begin your letter with a formal "To Whom It May Concern" greeting, or use the person's name.
Start with a clear opening that will state your intention to move out. For example: "This letter is to inform you of our intent to end our lease of the property on 1111 Elm St."
Include the date that you will leave the property. The date will match the end date on your lease. Or if you are breaking the lease, choose a date at least 30 days from your letter date to give ample time to re-rent the property.
Reference your lease whenever possible. For example, if utilities are addressed in your lease, state the date you will disconnect your utility services. For example, "Per our agreement in Section 4 of our lease, I will disconnect the utilities and place them back in the leasing company's name as of Oct. 31, 2010."
Set a date for a walk-through. Include a time when you think you'll have completed your move and a cleanup (prior to the day the lease ends), and ask the landlord to perform a walk-through with you.
Assure the landlord that you will return the apartment keys, mailbox keys and garage remote controls, if necessary, on the date of termination.
Set a date to receive your security deposit. Check your state laws to determine how long a landlord may hold your security deposit, what kind of documentation the landlord needs to provide to keep portions of your deposit and whether your deposit should have been held in an interest-bearing account. State all those facts in your letter.
Know the law. Review your lease and check out the regional renter laws so you follow any necessary steps to give proper notice. If you have a dispute or question, contact your local landlord/tenant mediation firm, which will often provide assistance at a low cost or for free. Don't assume your letter will be received. Send it by certified mail and also send an e-mail copy of the letter to your landlord if possible. Send a copy to yourself as well, so you have some record of your e-mail being sent.
Tips and warnings
- Know the law. Review your lease and check out the regional renter laws so you follow any necessary steps to give proper notice.
- If you have a dispute or question, contact your local landlord/tenant mediation firm, which will often provide assistance at a low cost or for free.
- Don't assume your letter will be received. Send it by certified mail and also send an e-mail copy of the letter to your landlord if possible. Send a copy to yourself as well, so you have some record of your e-mail being sent.