What Landlords Should Know About Move-out Letters

A landlord oversees passing a move-out letter to their renters. Though it seems an undesirable task to perform, it’s an essential part of the role. It helps you minimize financial losses or complaints when a tenant fails to pay rent, commits massive property damage, other lease violations, or continues to create a public disturbance.

Writing a move-out letter serves as protection when you encounter tenants that resist moving out. You can state the move-out date and your expectation of the unit being returned to the same condition it was when they moved in. If a rental property is in good condition, it will be quicker to conduct a property showing and reduce the vacancy period.

Empty rentals can cause a landlord to spend more on marketing and maintenance costs. Repairs and cleaning fees also need to be paid to get the unit rent-ready.

Landlords would also need to spare time to respond to inquiries from potential new tenants, conduct property tours, craft a lease or rental agreement, and create ads and post them on property listing sites.

For landlords to avoid facing the issue of tenant turnover, they need to be more thorough in choosing responsible tenants by developing a comprehensive tenant screening. If you land high-quality renters, then your rental property is protected and when the lease term expires, the tenant will also fulfill an end-of-tenancy cleaning.

Why is a Move-out Letter Necessary?

Once the lease ends, the tenancy can be extended if the tenant agrees to renew the lease term or both you and them are open to a month-to-month lease. But if the landlord or tenant decides not to continue, a notice to vacate letter is necessary.

person signing a letter

Even if a lease agreement contains the tenancy end date, some states still mandate that a move-out notice is issued. If your state doesn’t require you to do this, it can still be a good practice since it prepares your tenant on what to do before moving out.

Conflicts are reduced and renters will also learn that an end-of-tenancy cleaning is expected from them before they can leave the unit as part of the move-out requirements.

Creating a notice to vacate letter may be an additional task for landlords but it serves a vital purpose. It advises the renters to turn over a well-maintained rental space so that attending to repairs is vastly reduced. You can immediately schedule requests for property showings from potential tenants.

What Benefits Do Move-out Letters Provide?

A move-out notice provides several benefits for both the tenant and landlord, so our best tips include them.

It maintains a positive relationship between the landlord and tenant. When you send a move-out notice, you can state how grateful you are to the tenant for choosing to stay in your rental property and complying with the policies outlined in the lease agreement.
It limits conflicts. A written notice to vacate letter acts to guide the tenants on what needs to be done before they leave the unit and provides a list of things to accomplish.
It provides enough time. A move-out notice prepares tenants better for the tasks they need to check off so they meet the expectations

Writing Tips to Follow When Creating a Notice to Vacate Letter

Since rental properties are different from each other, move-out notices will also be different. It’s advisable to arrange a consultation with a lawyer or check with a landlord trade association before sending a notice to vacate to the tenant.

two people writing in front of a laptop

Tips to get you started:

  1. State the date of delivery when you send the move-out notice either through email or in person
  2. Provide your updated contact information
  3. Write the complete move-out date and provide a reason. If a lease renewal is possible, include the process and the new rental fee in case the rate is adjusted
  4. Mention the move-out inspection procedures, such as:
  5. Be clear about stating any important date such as:
    • The date that the renter is expected to vacate the property
    • The date that the final inspection is conducted
  6. Provide complete instructions on handing back the keys
  7. Write down helpful information on whether an attachment is issued with the letter, such as a property move-out checklist
  8. Communicate the process of the security deposit refund
    • The tenant must know how the refund of the security deposit will be done (sending through Certified mail makes it easy to track when the tenant received it or you can also send it via electronic transfer)

The Best Time to Send a Move-out Letter

When should landlords send a notice to vacate? It actually depends on your state and local laws so it’s better to find out the current policies first in your area to determine the proper notice period for sending a move-out letter.

Does a Move-out Letter Differ from an Eviction Notice?

Yes, a notice ot vacate letter and an eviction notice are different. Tenants may move out for various reasons and an eviction happens when a renter refuses to comply with the lease agreement. The landlord must follow the formal eviction process.

person writing in a notebook

The procedure of eviction/breaking a lease varies, so it’s best to review the process for legality according to state laws where you operate.

How to Prepare a Move-out Checklist

Before a tenant leaves the unit, the landlord can issue a move-out checklist listing the duties of the tenant. It may differ based on the type of rental unit. The checklist informs the tenants what they must fulfill to receive the refund of the security deposit in full.

Landlords must be aware of the difference between damages caused by normal wear and tear and damages resulting from tenant abuse or neglect. They’re not allowed to deduct repair fees or replacement charges on damage attributed to normal use.

Bottom Line

It’s good practice for landlords to provide move-out letters prior to the end of the tenancy. Still, the notice to vacate has limited functions. It’s still recommended that landlords screen their prospective tenants properly to keep an outstanding rental unit and attract new tenants right away.

Are you seeking a trusted property manager to help you maintain your rental space or reduce your rental property vacancies? If yes, get in touch with McKenna & Vane Property Management today!