What Landlords Should Know About Move-out Letters

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What Landlords Should Know About Move-out Letters

Maintaining positive landlord-tenant relationships and protecting your rights as a landlord requires having a straightforward move-out procedure. A move-out letter plays a crucial role in achieving this. These letters allow for effective communication, establish your tenant’s decision to leave, and comply with legal requirements.

Here at JMAX Property Management, we have put together this article so you can learn what goes into making move-out letters.

Purpose of a Move-out Letter

Rental agreements usually include the termination date; however, your state laws may still require you to provide notice if you or your renter decide to end the tenancy.

Even if a move-out letter is not required, preparing one still plays an essential role by explicitly defining tenant move-out expectations and may reduce the likelihood of disputes. You can also use this letter to outline your inspection methods and set expectations for what the tenants should do to prepare for them.

As a landlord, you may find tenant turnover difficult and time-consuming, but having a move-out letter may help reduce some of the stress. If your tenant leaves the property in good shape, you will save time and money on repairs, allowing you to lease it to a new tenant sooner.

Benefits of Sending a Move-out Letter

When terminating a tenancy, move-out letters offer both landlords and tenants several advantages. 

an open mailbox full of letters

Here are examples of important benefits of using move-out letters:

  • Is a gesture of good faith. This document can reinforce the landlord-tenant relationship and helps the renter leaves on good terms. It could also be a way to thank your tenants for choosing to stay at your property and abiding by the rental contract.
  • Provides renters with ample time to move out. When given sufficient notice, a move-out letter gives your tenant time to accomplish all of the outlined move-out activities.
  • Sets your tenants’ expectations. By outlining all move-out instructions in an easy-to-read document, a move-out letter can help reduce any miscommunications.

Tips for Writing a Tenant Move-out Letter

Based on your rental property’s needs or specialized requirements, the information highlighted in the tenant move-out letter may vary. Here are some general guidelines to get you started:

  • Include the date of delivery regardless of whether it is sent via mail or in person.
  • Include your contact details in case the tenant has questions about the process or deadlines.
  • Indicate the date your tenants are expected to move out by and provide an explanation. If your tenants have the option to renew, offer information on what the process looks like including if there will be a renewal screening check. Also, discuss any rent increases.
  • Highlight any inspection instructions. Outline how you plan to conduct the move-out walk-through inspections whether together with the tenant or separately and establish cleaning expectations.
home inspector in a yellow vest and hard hat checking a window
  • Outline crucial dates. Include the lease end date or the tenant’s move-out date and the date of the move-out inspection.
  • Explain the process for leaving keys behind. Indicate whether the letter includes an additional document such as a move-out checklist that they need to complete.
  • Be clear about when the tenants could expect the security deposit reimbursement and how it will be sent to them. It’s strongly advised that you send the deposit via Certified Mail to record the date of receipt or an electronic payment method where there is a footprint of the transaction.

Timeline for Sending the Move-out Letter

The state or local housing laws regulate the timeline for when you should send the move-out letter. Be up to date with your state rules to guarantee compliance. It’s important to follow the correct amount of notice you are expected to provide your tenants.

The Difference Between a Move-out Letter and an Eviction Notice

There are different reasons for ending a lease agreement. A move-out letter is used when the lease is coming to a natural end. The worst-case scenario for a landlord to end a lease would come in the form of an eviction of a tenant who did not follow the lease terms. 

document with the words “eviction notice” in red

When evicting a renter, a move-out letter is unlikely to be required, and you will need to follow a different, specific legal process to do so correctly. Always remember that eviction procedures differ by state, so consult with your legal counsel or let a property manager do it on your behalf to ensure you comply with state and federal eviction laws.

Move-out Checklist

In general, a move-out checklist can assist in outlining a tenant’s tasks and responsibilities when leaving your rental property. Depending on your rental property type, what is included in the checklist may differ. A move-out checklist may also highlight the expectations tenants must meet to receive all or part of their security deposit back. As the landlord, you must carefully assess if your rental property has typical wear and tear or damage caused by tenant neglect or abuse.

Detailed Tenant Screening

Even well-written move-out letters will be futile if they are sent to tenants who do not obey the lease terms in the first place. To ensure you are leasing to the right tenant, always conduct a comprehensive screening process. This way, you may be more likely to choose a reliable tenant who will pay their rent on time, protect your investment, and carefully follow the move-out instructions. 

Bottom Line

The move-out letter can play a key part in protecting your landlord-tenant relationship while making the end-of-tenancy process go by smoothly. 

However, if you don’t know where to begin, JMAX Property Management can help. We are a full-service property management company that can market your property to the right audience, screen tenants extensively, and initiate the move-out process including writing the move-out letter. Contact us today!