When a tenant wants to move out of a rental unit, it is important that the proper kind of notice be given to the landlord. The following discusses how to end the two most common types of rental agreements. However, it is important that tenants check their own rental agreements to determine what kind of notice must be given before they move out.
Leases: If the tenant moves out at the expiration of a lease, in most cases it is not necessary to give the landlord a written notice. However, the lease should be consulted to be sure a formal notice is not required. If a tenant stays beyond the expiration of the lease, and the landlord accepts the next month’s rent, the tenant then is assumed to be renting under a month-to-month agreement.
A tenant who leaves before a lease expires is responsible for paying the rent for the rest of the lease. However, the landlord must make an effort to re-rent the unit at a reasonable price. If this is not done, the tenant may not be liable for rent beyond a reasonable period of time.
Month-to-Month Rental Agreements: When a tenant wants to end a month-to-month rental agreement, written notice must be given to the landlord. The notice must be received at least 20 days before the end of the rental period (the day before rent is due). The day on which the notice is delivered does not count. A landlord cannot require a tenant to give more than 20 days notice when moving out.
What if a tenant moves out without giving proper notice? The law says the tenant is liable for rent for the lesser of 30 days from the day the next rent is due, or 30 days from the day the landlord learns the tenant has moved out. However, the landlord has a duty to try and find a new renter. If the dwelling is rented before the end of the 30 days, the former tenant must pay only until the new tenant begins paying rent.
When a landlord wants a month-to-month renter to move out, a 20-day notice is required.