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Letter to Landlord | Moving Out

June 20, 2012

Alright, we know why you're here. You're intent on ditching your poor, considerate landlord and leaving her for a new household. BUT WAIT.

You've gotta give her your 30-day notice before moving out, as per the lease on your month-to-month rent. But how do you do that without sounding like a jerk?

Here's 6 things you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT FORGET to include on your letter to your landlord about moving out. This will save you time, hassle, social interaction with your landlord (the horror!), and possibly legal fees in the future.

1. State Formally Your 30-Day Notice Requirement As a Tenant

At the start of your letter, state very explicitly that you hereby are alerting the landlord that you are moving out in or within 30 days, as per your lease requirement that requires a 30-day notice. This is very important, to be usable as proof in the future should any disputes occur. A simple "I'm leaving the apartment, so long suckers" is not acceptable in this instance (though unarguably more satisfying).

2. Landlord Letter | Leave The Current AND Move-Out Date

Putting the current date on the letter ensures that, for future reference, it is completely clear when you sent the letter to your landlord. In the case of a civil dispute, this is very important, to show that you did (or didn't) follow the 30-day notice for the lease. In terms of the move-out date, it doesn't necessarily have to be in exactly thirty days; you can move out before, however, you'll still be paying rent for the extra days unless the landlord has already found a new tenant. Alert your landlord in your letter that you'll be returning your keys, and that all your belongings will be out of the apartment by that date.

3. Ask For the Return of your Security Deposit

Make sure you alert her that you'll be needing your security deposit back! Otherwise, it could always get lost in the mess of moving. State that you ask that it be returned within 30 days of you vacating the apartment, as required by the lease and NYC laws. How is she going to get it back to you? Well, that brings us to...

4. Leave Your Forwarding Address

Do it. Don't forget this. If your landlord doesn't know where to send your security deposit, it'll be a gigantic hassle resulting in angry feelings and possibly sad puppies. In addition, if your former landlord needs to contact you about anything, this is a convenient way to ensure further communication.

5. Ensure the Integrity of Your Landlord - Tenant Relationship

In other words, be nice (preferably). Apologize that you're leaving and say something like:

"Thank you so much for being my landlord. You were always [available/gracious/friendly and inviting], and I genuinely enjoyed living here. Also, you're beautiful.*"

*Maybe leave that last line out.

Being courteous or friendly ensures that you won't get slapped with a hefty fee off your security deposit for miscellaneous charges, and that if you're someday broke and need a place to stay for a night, the landlords will abstain from calling the police and instead gently kick you off their front steps.

6. Don't Forget to Make a Hard Copy

For legal reasons, keeping a hard copy of the letter you send is a good way for providing against any trouble. Print it out, put it in a safe box, and just leave it there until after you've received your security deposit and the process of moving is completely done. If this is too much trouble, e-mail it to yourself and an online mail account that you can access from anywhere.

That's it! Go out into the wild, and start writing your own letters to landlords!

Looking for excellent landlords? Well, AddressReport provides info about complaints for every building in NY. So you can get a pretty idea of who's good, who's bad, and who's just meh.