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How Much Notice Do You Have To Give Your Landlord?

Serving your landlord notice is the first step in your move out process. Knowing how to properly serve notice to your landlord will ensure you follow the appropriate steps towards getting back your full security deposit.

A quick story first.

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 friend 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.

How do you keep this from happening to you?

Let’s look at two simple steps to help you avoid this type of situation . . .

1. What does your lease say? Your lease is the most important document in your relationship with your landlord. It defines, or should define, the entire relationship and the move out notice is typically addressed in it. Most leases require a minimum of a 30 day notice before moving. However, I have seen some as high as 45 days or 60 days. 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.

Sometimes I get the question, “Even though it is a 30-day notice, may I submit my notice earlier than 30 days?” The answer to this is “yes.” You need to make sure that you keep a copy of the notice you submitted in case the landlord doesn’t keep good records.

2. What does Landlord Tenant Law say? There are certain cases where the Landlord and Tenant law of a State defines proper move out notice and regardless of what your lease says, both sides (landlord and tenant) have to abide by this law. This is in very rare cases, but if you think your notice provision in your lease looks a little fishy, then it maybe worth looking into.

So the two questions you need to be asking yourself when you consider submitting your move out notice are, “What does my lease say?” And “What does the Landlord Tenant Law say?”

Good luck with your move!