How To Write a Notice To Vacate (+ Free Template)

A notice to vacate is a formal written communication from a landlord or tenant informing the other party of the tenant’s intended departure from a residential rental property.

Managing tenant turnover is a central part of the job of a landlord. Whether it's due to a lease coming to a natural end or problematic tenants, knowing how to draft a notice to vacate is essential.

In many states, both landlords and tenants have the authority to issue a notice to vacate, specifying a particular move-out date, and bringing the lease to an end. 

In this guide, we take a closer look at what a notice to vacate is, what needs to go in one, and practical tips you can employ to create yours. Additionally, we’ve included a free notice to vacate template you can use to help you get started.

What is a notice to vacate?

A notice to vacate is a formal written communication either from a landlord to a tenant or vice versa, which informs the other party of the tenant’s intended departure date from a residential rental property such as an apartment, condo, or house. 

A notice to vacate letter is designed to give the recipient a long enough notice period to make preparations. For example, a notice to vacate given to a tenant should provide a long enough lead time for the tenant to find a new home to move into. And, when a tenant provides a notice to vacate to their landlord it should give the landlord ample time to create a rental property listing and secure a new tenant.

In cases where the notice originates from the tenant to the landlord, the letter should specify the address for the return of the security deposit, provided there is no property damage beyond regular wear and tear.

Related: Past-Due Rent Notice for Landlords [Free Template]

When is a notice to vacate necessary?

It is best practice to send a notice to vacate at least 30 days before the lease termination date. However, often a notice to vacate is sent 60 or even 90 days before the lease termination date. 

A notice to vacate is an obligatory notice even if the landlord or tenant is terminating the lease earlier than the established lease end date. 

It is essential to consult the lease agreement as well as familiarize yourself with local and state laws to ensure you’re giving the required notice period and avoid potential penalties or legal repercussions.

Notice to vacate letter template from a landlord to a tenant

Below we have outlined a simple notice to vacate for landlords. 

You can copy and paste the template into a Google Doc or Word document, and proceed to fill out the relevant fields with your specific information. 

Ensure to thoroughly review the lease agreement, as well as familiarize yourself with applicable state and local laws, to ensure that all the important details are included in the notice.

[Full Name]
[Phone Number]
[Leading Office Address]
[City, State, Zip Code]

_ _ Day Notice to Vacate

Tenant Name(s): ______________________________
Rental Address: ______________________________
Date of Notice: _____________

Dear _____________________:

To the above tenant and all others in possession of the described premises. You are hereby given notice to quit, vacate, and deliver possession of the above premises within _ _ days from the service of this notice.

(Optional) You are being vacated for the following reason(s):


It is understood and agreed upon in the lease signed [ _ _/_ _/_ _ _ _ ] that the tenant is responsible for all repairs and cleaning to restore the above premises to move-in condition (after accounting normal wear and tear).

If failure, refusal, or neglect to complete rent payments, cure the breach, or vacate said premises within _ _ days from this service notice, the leasing office and property management of _____________________ will take legal action as the law requires to evict you and all others from the premises.

Your security deposit of $___________ will be returned in full, partially, or not at all depending on the condition of the premises.

Landlord Name: _____________________
Landlord Signature: _____________________
Landlord Address: _____________________________________________________________
Date: ____________________

Notice to vacate letter template from a tenant to a landlord

We have also drafted a simple notice to vacate template for tenants below. 

You can simply copy and paste the template into a Google Doc or Word document, and fill out the required fields to personalize the notice for your use. 

Once completed, send the letter via email to your landlord or the property management team. For added security, consider sending the letter through mail or delivering it directly to the leasing office.

[Full Name]
[Phone Number]
[City, State, Zip Code]

Re: Notice of Intent to Vacate

Dear [landlord or property manager’s name],

This letter shall serve as my written notice to vacate on [DD/MM/YYYY]. I request to vacate and terminate the lease which was signed and agreed upon on [start of lease date].

I will be moving out of the property at [current full address], at the latest, by [DD/MM/YYYY].

I would like to schedule a move-out walkthrough the week prior to my move for a full inspection of the unit. Please contact me via email at [email address] to schedule a walkthrough.

I believe the property to be in good condition and anticipate my security deposit of [$(amount agreed to in the lease)] will be refunded in full to me.

My security deposit can be sent [new address: number and street name, unit/apt., city, state, zip code].

Thank you,
[Full name and signature]

Types of notices to vacate

There are a few different types of notices to vacate which are used for different purposes and at different times. Below we go through some of these distinct situations and detail how each notice to vacate is different.

Landlord to tenant: Notice to vacate with cause

A notice to vacate with cause from a landlord to a tenant is typically issued when a tenant breaches the terms of the lease agreement. The most common breaches of a lease agreement include failure to pay rent, subletting the property without prior consent, harboring unauthorized pets or guests, or other violations of the lease terms. 

A notice to vacate with cause is generally construed as a warning. A notice to cease or quit. This is not an eviction notice, which usually arises when a tenant remains on the property after lease expiration or termination.

When drafting a notice to vacate with cause as a landlord, it is often necessary to specify how long the tenant has to remedy the lease violation as outlined in the lease agreement. For instance, if a tenant fails to pay rent, landlords typically provide a specific number of days (usually 3–5) for the tenant to make payment along with any applicable late fees.

Should the tenant continue to be in violation of the lease it may become necessary to pursue an eviction.

Tenant to landlord: Notice to vacate with cause

A notice to vacate with cause initiated by a tenant and sent to the landlord normally occurs when the landlord breaches the terms of the lease agreement or when the rental property becomes uninhabitable or unsafe. 

This could be due to various reasons. For example, the landlord doesn’t promptly address maintenance concerns leading to the property becoming uninhabitable. Examples of critical repairs include: broken HVAC system, pest infestations, or an inoperative toilet.

Both landlords and tenants should be aware of which repairs are classified as critical and non-critical. Critical repairs, such as a malfunctioning HVAC system during extreme weather conditions, should ideally be rectified within 1–7 days. Conversely, non-critical repairs, like leaking faucets, minor appliance malfunctions, or screen damages, typically have a longer timeframe, ranging from 10–30 days for resolution.

Tenant to landlord: Notice to vacate without cause

A notice to vacate without cause from a tenant to their landlord signals either the tenant’s desire or necessity to terminate the lease. The no-cause notice functions as a formal lease termination letter, notifying the landlord of the tenant's intention not to renew the lease and to vacate the rental property.

It's worth noting that a no-cause notice to vacate from a landlord is infrequent. Such instances typically arise when the landlord intends to either occupy the premises themselves or place another tenant, undertake property repairs or renovations, or intends to sell the property.

30-day vs. 60-day notice: Understanding the Difference

Notices to vacate normally come as 30-day and 60-day notices. However, while less common, certain regulations mandate 90-day notices for lease agreements, particularly in subsidized housing arrangements. The specific duration required for delivering the notice to vacate is dependent on local and state laws.

As already mentioned, it’s generally advisable for both parties to give as much notice as possible when planning to vacate a property. Offering ample notice fosters a smoother transition and helps maintain amicable relations.

Related: Free Landlord Documents | Lease Agreements and More

Tips for writing a notice to vacate letter

  1. Consult the lease: Prior to drafting the notice, ensure you are aware of the timeframe stipulated in your lease agreement and required by state law. Tenants should also be aware of any lease break clauses in the lease, as well as any additional rent and fees if the notice is not sent within the specified 30, 60, or 90-day period. Landlords must also adhere to all applicable local and state regulations.
  2. Be clear and professional: A notice to vacate can evoke emotional responses. To alleviate any potential stress, maintain a courteous and professional tone. Avoid using the letter as a platform to raise complaints or revisit past issues.
  3. Provide forwarding information: If you're the tenant, include a forwarding address to facilitate the return of your security deposit or any correspondence. In case your new address is not yet confirmed, follow up with your landlord via phone, email, or letter once it's established.
  4. Include a date: Ensure the notice contains a specific date to demonstrate compliance with the notice period outlined in the lease agreement or relevant regulations. This helps avoid misunderstandings regarding deadlines or timelines.

Reducing tenant turnover with tools designed for you

Tenant turnover can be challenging, especially with difficult or unreliable tenants. To streamline the process and reduce turnover, consider utilizing Landlord Studio’s rental listing and tenant screening services. These services make finding tenants easy and allow you to quickly and easily get a comprehensive credit and eviction check as well as a verification of income, on your top qualifying applicants, helping you ensure you select the best possible tenant candidate.

One of the main reasons a landlord issues a notice to vacate is because of late or missed rent payments. To help avoid this scenario, landlords can employ purpose-built tools to make paying rent easier for tenants. 

Landlord Studio’s online rent collection tool enables tenants to set up auto-pay so they never forget the rent again. Plus, landlords control the rent amount, can block partial payments, and all rental income will be delivered directly into the specified bank account and all income automatically tracked in our award-winning rental accounting suite.

Other features that will help you stay on top of your landlord-tenant relations and reduce the risk of having to send (or receive) a notice to vacate include our in-built maintenance tracker, personal reminders and calendar, tenant communication tools, and our lease tracker with document storage. 

Create your free account with Landlord Studio today and learn how it can help you streamline your rental property management and accounting. 

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Notice to vacate frequently asked questions

How should I send a notice to vacate letter?

Sending a notice to vacate can be sensitive, particularly when from the landlord to the tenant. It's advisable to avoid delivering these notices in person. Instead, you can slide the notice under the tenant's door, securely attach it to their front door, or place it in their mailbox. If you're a tenant sending a notice to vacate to your landlord or property manager, you can either email it or drop it off in the leasing office's mailbox.

Is a notice to vacate with cause the same as an eviction notice?

No, a notice to vacate with cause from a landlord to a tenant differs from an eviction notice. Consider this type of notice as a means to address the tenant's wrongdoing and provide a timeline for resolving the issue or terminating the lease. An eviction notice should only be issued after the lease has been terminated, yet the tenant remains on the property.

Can a notice to vacate be rescinded?

If you've secured another tenant who has signed a lease agreement, the notice to vacate cannot be rescinded. However, if a new tenant hasn't been found, you may explore options with the current tenant, such as discussing renewal opportunities or finding ways to re-lease the property.

Is a notice to vacate the same as a non-renewal of lease letter?

A notice to vacate and a non-renewal of lease letter serve different purposes, but they can have similar outcomes depending on the circumstances.

While both documents involve the tenant vacating the property, a notice to vacate is more immediate and can be given at any time during the lease term, while a non-renewal of lease letter is typically given closer to the end of the lease term to inform the other party of the decision not to renew the lease.