Moving out of your house or rental unit takes a lot of work. One thing you don’t want to forget is giving your landlord proper notice that you intend to vacate. If you don’t give your moving-out notice to your landlord correctly, you could be forced to pay rent for an extra month or longer!
In order to avoid losing your security deposit, it is important to serve notice that you are leaving correctly. Your lease agreement should clearly state the required notice time. You and the property management company should have a copy of the lease agreement, and you should have signed it before moving into the rental property.
Different property managers handle their lease agreements in different ways. A lease agreement is a contract signed between the property owner or manager and the renter. They can contain the eviction process and eviction notices to what may be considered harassment.
One thing they should all have in common is stating the amount of time they want before you vacate the premises. A common agreement may want at least 30 days’ notice before you move out. There are some property owners that want a 45 or 60-day notice. Verify what your lease says about a move-out notice and abide by it. Keep in mind it is the agreement that you already made.
You should keep a record of your notice so that the property owner is unable to dispute the date it was submitted. You can also serve notice and give your intent to vacate earlier than the required time frame in the lease agreement.
Jenny was a great tenant. She paid her rent on time and kept an immaculate home. Any landlord would have killed to have her as a tenant in their home. Her lease end date was the end of June. When the end of June approached, she began packing and preparing to move. She had a new place lined up and due to start paying rent on July 1st.
Finally, June 30th rolled around and her moving truck, along with a few friends came and packed her home and moved her to her new place. She was so excited. Her last business with her old landlord was to drop off the keys. Her landlord’s office was closed because it was the weekend, so she dropped the keys in the box. She sighed because she had so much unpacking to do.
Monday afternoon she was back at work feeling accomplished given she had moved all her belongings into her new place over the weekend. When she sat down at her desk after lunch, she noticed she had an email from her previous landlord. “That was quick,” she thought as she opened it up.
When she read her email her heart sunk, it appears the landlord was going to charge her for one MORE month’s rent because she had not served a 30-day notice.
We all know someone or have dealt with a similar situation. Once you get into the groove of moving, it is hard to remember that one vital action you must take. Give your landlord a notice that you intend to move, sign an intent to vacate, and keep it on record FIRST.
It is usually best practice to give your notice as soon as you know you don’t plan to re-sign the lease. This way, both you and the landlord are aware that you are going to be gone when your lease ends. This is beneficial for the tenant and landlord.
The tenant can look for a new home and move without any worry. The landlord can begin to show the house and start their tenant screening process to fill the house shortly after you leave.
The last place to look for a proper move-out notice is the landlord-tenant law for your state. The landlord and tenant laws take precedent over any disputes and miscommunications between you and the landlord. If you are uneasy about the wording in your lease agreement, you would look to landlord-tenant law. This is a rare situation, but the law is there to protect both the landlords and the tenants. It protects from tenant harassment and landlord harassment and is the deciding factor if a case ever makes it to litigation.
If you are unsure of when to give your moving out notice, check the lease agreement first. If it isn’t clearly stated, or you are uneasy with the wording, check with your state’s laws and follow it when serving your notice.
Last but not least, it is important to be courteous and respectful when it comes to moving out. It may be your last interaction with the landlord, but your future home’s property manager could contact them with questions. It is best to leave on a good foot, and not give them any reason to give you a bad reference. A future landlord would call the previous one to find out if you paid rent on time, kept the house in good condition, and gave proper notice.
It is also important to keep in mind that the property managers want to lease out your current home as soon as possible. Giving proper notice will allow them to start their process that can be expensive and time-consuming. Put yourself in the property owner’s shoes when it comes to considering your notice to vacate.
Matthew is the CEO of Evernest. He is a student of the book Good to Great and is passionate about building the best property management company on the planet (and maybe even the universe if Elon Musk will hurry up). You can usually find Matthew at the baseball field with his son, at a dance recital with his daughter, or at his favorite restaurant with his wife, when he’s not in the office. And if you can’t find him in any of those places, it probably means he’s traveling.