What does it mean when you get a notice to vacate?
Either the landlord or the tenant can send a notice to vacate to provide information about vacating residence or to give their intention of vacating. In most cases, though, it is the landlord who sends the notice as the end date of a lease approaches.
There can be several reasons why you would give your tenant a notice to vacate form. But the most common reason is when the tenant disobeys the terms of your lease or because of non-payment of rentals. But when a tenant gives you a notice of intent to vacate, it’s to give indication their intent of vacating the premises.
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When to give a notice to vacate?
Always read the lease agreement first to determine when to give a notice to vacate template as such notice period must be clearly mentioned in the agreement. Make sure to follow the protocol so there would be no misunderstanding. Here are some tips to consider when giving your tenants a notice to vacate:
- Check the details of your rental agreement before filling up a notice to vacate form. The conditions in the contract may include the terms when your tenant should move out. This gives you an idea on how to deal with the process. If you’re breaking the lease, you should know the terms for this too.
- For tenants, they should provide their contact information including their new address so you know where to send your security deposit check. If the tenant maintained the apartment well, you should send the check accordingly.
- Include in your letter the date to prove that you’re sending the notice within the designated time frame as stipulated in your lease agreement.
- Keep the letter clear and simple. Only provide relevant and specific details.
- Your letter should have a tone of politeness and formality.
- You should have familiarity with the landlord-tenant laws and your own rights in case you’re breaking the lease. Also, state the reasons for this.
- If you’re not sending the letter by email or giving it to your tenant personally, it’s best to send it through certified mail.
Keep in mind that your goal for sending a notice is to look for a new tenant ASAP. The same thing goes if you receive an intent to vacate letter from your tenants. This is why you have to give your notice in a timely manner. This move maintains a good standing with your tenants and while keeping a spotless rental history.
How much notice do you have to give tenants to move out?
As a landlord, you would send a notice to vacate template asking your tenant to vacate the residence within a set time frame. You would present this to tenant at the end of the lease period or earlier, if there was a breach in the agreement. This could be a 30-day notice, 60-day notice, 90-day notice or a 3-day notice. Here are the details:
- 30-day notice
This notice applies to most fixed-term agreements or monthly leases. You can give this type of notice to tenants on a month-to-month lease but only if the tenant has stayed in the residence for less than one year.
- 60-day notice
This notice applies if the tenant stayed in the property for more than one year.
- 90-day notice
This notice applies if the tenant lives in a subsidized housing. In this case, you must give a reason why he you’re terminating the tenancy.
- 3-day notice
Use this notice in cases where the tenant violates the terms of the lease agreement. You can also give a conditional notice wherein the tenant should fulfill certain conditions within the given amount of time so they can continue living in the residence.
But if the tenant decides to vacate without waiting for 30, 60 or 90 days, this would allow you to start advertising for a new tenant.
Writing a notice to vacate letter
As a landlord, you would give a notice to vacate where you state your intent of ending the lease so your tenant can vacate the rented premises. When the letter comes from the tenant, it’s called an notice of intent to vacate. Such a letter is a requirement for most people who rent, no matter how long the lease is.
Even if the lease has an official end or termination date, it’s recommended to write this letter. Here are some pointers for you to draft your own notice to vacate letter:
- Review again your lease agreement before writing the notice. Do this to know exactly what to include, how to present the information, and other pertinent details.
- Type the letter and remember to keep a copy for yourself. It’s recommended to include a handwritten signature. So, you should print the letter out and sign it. Before giving the letter to your tenant, have it photocopied and keep it in your records.
- Make sure to include the date of your letter. This proves that you sent the notice in the proper time frame.
- Make sure that the latter is both straightforward and polite. You don’t need to bring up any unresolved complaints or issues that you have here.
- Include your updated contact information in case your tenant needs to reach out for whatever reason.
- The letter isn’t the last step before your tenant moves out. You should also perform a property walkout with your tenant to document the things that need fixing or any deductions from their security deposit.
Now that you know what to include in your notice, you can start writing your letter. Remember to maintain a respectful in the tone throughout the document. This ensures that you maintain a good relationship even after your tenant leaves.
What can tenants do when they receive a notice to vacate?
Sometimes a notice to vacate can just be a scare tactic perpetrated by landlords. Therefore, if a tenant receives one, they shouldn’t panic right away. Here are some simple steps tenants can take when they receive such a notice:
Tenants shouldn’t panic as it is not the end of the world. While it feels intimidating to receive a scary letter like a notice to vacate, it might just be something a landlord does to make the tenant more aware or obedient.
- Have a discussion with the landlord or property manager
These are the people who send notices to tenants. Therefore, any or all the questions tenants have should and can go to them. If the landlord isn’t available, go back to step 1 – breathe and do not panic. Give the landlord a call and ask for an appointment.
- Pay the rent!
This step is most crucial as it is the most common reason why tenants receive such a notice. Keep in mind that such a notice can be a warning. But landlords can use them in the course of an eviction if the tenants still refuse to pay. The moral of the story here is: tenants should pay their rents – the sooner the better.
- Ask for more information about the notice
Most tenants might not know this, but they have the right to challenge a notice to vacate. They can make an argument about the notice if:
It wasn’t handed to them properly.
They disagree with the landlord’s reason for the notice.
They received it for no specific reason or for the purpose of ending a tenancy with fixed terms.
They believe that they received the notice because they exercised their legal rights.
If tenants need further assistance on the matter, they can call the Consumer Affairs Office in their locale and ask for more information about their options.
The bottom line to all these is that tenants don’t have to panic when they receive a notice to vacate form. If they have more questions and curiosities, doing research can help out too.
Can a notice to vacate be withdrawn?
Here are some recommendations tenants can follow should they receive a notice to vacate letter from their landlord but they still want to extend their lease:
- Notify the landlord as soon as possible of their intent.
- Provide notice to withdraw the notice to vacate.
- Come to an agreement with the landlord and put it in writing.
There may be a need to negotiate over the payment of any costs caused by this withdrawal. As long as both parties agree and everything is in writing, the landlord-tenant relationship may continue.
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