In many cases, tenants and landlords or property managers have excellent relationships, with residents staying in their units for years with no problems. However, if a tenant experiences life changes or finds a better deal, or if the landlord or property manager decides it's not in his best interest to continue renting, rental agreements may come to an end. The first step in this process is to write a tenancy-termination letter.
Two main types of tenancy-termination letters exist. The first is the tenancy-termination letter a tenant gives to a landlord when she wants to move out. The second is the tenancy-termination letter a landlord gives to a tenant when he wants to exercise the right to evict a tenant or to not renew a lease, as stipulated in the original lease agreement.
Both landlord-to-tenant and tenant-to-landlord tenancy-termination letters should include basic information such as the addresses, names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of both parties. They also should include the date, a subject line and formal opening and closing lines. The closing paragraph should politely indicate how and when to contact the landlord or tenant with questions or concerns. Block business format is standard.
A tenant-to-landlord tenancy-termination letter must state the intent of the tenant to vacate the rented property and clarify what the property is in the body of the letter with an address or apartment number. It should give a date on which the tenant will vacate and quote from the original lease to show that the tenant has fulfilled the requirements to leave. Ideally, the letter also should indicate a forwarding address or tell when a forwarding address will be available. Tenants also may give a reason for vacating and ask to schedule and be present for a move-out inspection.
Landlord-to-tenant tenancy-termination letters stipulate that the landlord is exercising the right to evict or not renew the tenant's lease. They give a date by which the tenant must vacate. Most landlords quote from the original lease to show they are exercising these rights legally, and they typically spell out the reason for termination, especially in the case of evictions.
Giving the Letter
Most leases stipulate whether a landlord or tenant has to give a tenancy-termination letter. The lease also contains provisions about proper notice. For example, a lease may require a tenant to give a landlord a tenancy-termination letter 30 or 60 days before the date of vacancy, in compliance with state laws. If these provisions aren't followed, the tenancy-termination letter may be voided in some cases. Tenants always should give their letters directly to the landlord or property manager, although certified mail also is acceptable. Landlords and property managers may give the letter directly to tenants, but they often leave them at the tenant's door.
A tenancy-termination letter does not always spell the end of tenancy. For example, if a tenant changes his mind about moving and the landlord or property manager hasn't yet found another renter, the landlord may let the tenant stay in the rented unit. However, that both parties are agreeing to put the tenancy-termination letter aside should be in writing, with signatures from everyone involved. Copies of all documentation should be in the resident's file.