30-Day Notice to Vacate: Free Template for Landlords in 2022
You want to evict a tenant.
Perhaps they’ve violated the terms of your lease agreement or have caused damage to your property. Whatever the case may be, you should have the right to evict your tenant as long as you have a just cause.
And you can.
However, you need to go through the proper channels.
This includes creating a 30-day notice to vacate. The document is designed to inform your tenant of your intention to evict. It may also include information on what they can do to prevent the eviction, such as making good on the issue raised in the notice.
What Is a 30-Day Notice to Vacate?
A 30-day notice to vacate is a legal document that a landlord sends to a tenant who they wish to evict. Alternative terms include eviction notice or lease termination letter. As the name implies, the document gives the tenant 30 days’ notice of their eviction, which gives them enough time to make new living arrangements or contest the reason for eviction stated in the letter.
Landlords typically use a notice to vacate to evict problematic tenants.
But these notices work the other way around.
Tenants have the right to deliver a 30-day notice to vacate to their landlords. This is usually done in the build-up to a lease renewal. If the tenant doesn’t wish to renew the lease after it expires, they must send a notice to vacate to inform their landlord of their intention to leave the property. In the case of tenants, a 30-day notice to vacate serves as legal proof that the tenant provided their landlord with formal notice. As the landlord, you must acknowledge this document when you receive it.
A tenant may use a notice to vacate if they wish to end their lease agreement early. If this is the case, the tenant may have to accept any penalties in their lease agreement related to early termination.
Why 30 Days?
The majority of states specify that you must provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice when sending a lease termination letter. The idea is that your tenant can use this period to seek alternative living arrangements or build a defense against the grounds for eviction stated in the letter.
While most states stick to 30 days, several require you to provide a longer notice period if certain conditions are met. For example, tenants in California have the right to a 60-day notice if they’ve rented your property for at least a year. Similarly, New York gives tenants the right to a 90-day notice if they’ve lived in the rented property for at least two years or if their lease agreement has at least two years left to run.
When Should You Use a Lease Termination Letter?
You must have a legitimate reason to evict your tenant before you send them a 30-day notice to vacate. A notice can’t be sent if you simply want to remove the tenant to make way for a new tenant to rent your property.
Generally speaking, you’ll use one of these letters if the tenant violates a clause in the lease agreement, as would be the case in the following examples:
- The tenant has brought a pet into the property when you have a specific no-pets clause written into the agreement.
- Your tenant hasn’t maintained the property to the standards specified in the lease agreement.
- People are living in your property who aren’t named as tenants on your lease agreement.
- The property is in a noise-controlled area and your tenant is making too much noise.
- The tenant has missed a rent payment.
You may also be able to issue a lease termination letter due to external factors. The most common is choosing to take your property off the rental market.
Sending an Eviction Notice Without Cause
A landlord can send a 30-day notice to vacate letter without cause if the tenant is on a month-to-month rental agreement. In these cases, you haven’t agreed to a fixed lease term with the tenant, meaning your lease essentially refreshes each month.
The main exception to this is if your property is in a city or state that has rent control provisions. You may have to provide just cause to evict a tenant on a month-to-month contract in the same way as you would when sending an eviction notice to somebody on a fixed lease.
When Should You Avoid Sending a Lease Termination Letter?
Unless your tenant is on a month-to-month contract, you can’t send a notice to evict if you don’t have just cause. In other words, you can’t send a notice to somebody who has followed your lease agreement to the letter, unless they’re nearing the end of the agreement and you don’t wish to renew. If you don’t have just cause, such as evidence of a missed payment or proof the tenant has violated your lease agreement, don’t send a 30-day notice to vacate.
Furthermore, the Fair Housing Act prohibits you from evicting a tenant based on discriminatory reasons. As such, you can’t evict a tenant due to their race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or disability status. You also can’t evict tenants based on their familial status.
The laws surrounding evictions are stringent for several reasons.
First, your tenants have the right to expect fair treatment if they follow your lease agreement. Trying to evict a tenant who hasn’t provided just cause for eviction is a violation of those rights, which gives the tenant the option for legal recourse.
Second, eviction is one of the fastest legal processes in the United States. You can complete them within a matter of weeks. Strict adherence to the rules is the price landlords pay for that speed. Failure to follow the rules delays the eviction process and potentially demonstrates that you don’t have just cause to evict your tenant.
The Types of Eviction Notices
Though most eviction notices fall under the general umbrella of a 30-day notice to evict from landlord, there are actually several types of notice.
Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
As the name implies, you’ll use this type of lease termination letter if your tenant fails to pay their rent. The letter tells the tenant they need to make good on the missed rent payment or vacate the property within 30 days. This type of notice may include information about any late fees and penalty charges for missing a payment. You must also specify these fees in your lease agreement.
Notice to Quit
You can use a notice to quit in cases where you wish to end the lease for a situation that isn’t related to the tenant violating the lease agreement.
The most common of these notices are those provided to tenants on month-to-month contracts. If you’re not tied into a fixed term with your tenant and you want them to move out, you can send a notice to quit giving them 30 days’ notice.
Some circumstances allow you to send a notice to quit to a tenant who is on a fixed lease. For example, you may wish to move back into your rental property. As it’s your property, you have the right to evict your tenant in this situation, though you must meet your obligation to live in the property. Using a notice to quit to evict a tenant only to then rent the property to another tenant could have legal ramifications.
Similarly, you may be able to use a notice to quit if you wish to renovate your property. Specific rules about this depend on the state and city. Contact an attorney if you’re unsure about your rights in this situation.
Notice of Termination of Lease by Landlord
You have several options when a lease agreement ends. You can sign another agreement with your tenant with a new fixed lease or move them onto a month-to-month contract. Alternatively, you can use the end of a lease agreement to issue a 30-day notice to vacate.
This notice is mostly a formality that informs your tenant that their agreement is coming to an end and you don’t wish to renew it. You don’t need to provide any cause for the eviction with a notice of termination of lease by landlord.
Cure or Quit Notice
You have two options if your tenant violates their lease. One is an unconditional quit notice, which is discussed below. The second is a cure or quit notice.
With this notice, you issue a 30-day notice to vacate with a clause stating you’ll withdraw the notice if the tenant fixes the issue stated in the letter. For example, you may give a tenant who misses a rent payment a grace period to make good on the missed payment, after which you’ll withdraw your eviction notice. Alternatively, you may use this notice to give your tenant a set amount of time to remove a pet from the building or get a handle on noise violations.
This type of notice usually specifies a timeframe in which the tenant must “cure” the problem cited. If the tenant fails to fix the issue, they’re evicted.
Unconditional Quit Notice
You’ll use this type of notice if your tenant violates the lease agreement and you don’t wish to give them the chance to rectify the issue. However, many states don’t allow you to send these notices unless the tenant has repeatedly broken the agreement:
- Being late with their rent payment on several occasions.
- Continually violating a clause in the lease agreement despite receiving instructions to stop.
You may also use this type of notice if the tenant causes serious damage to your property. Plus, an unconditional quit notice is usually issued if you discover the tenant is engaged in illegal activity on your premises. If your tenant doesn’t leave your property after receiving this notice, you can file an eviction lawsuit to remove them from the premises.
The Information to Include in Your Eviction Notice
An eviction notice needs to contain very specific information. This ensures the tenant understands the reason you’re evicting them. As mentioned previously, failure to follow your state’s rules when writing an eviction notice may invalidate the letter, forcing you to re-do the process until you get it right.
We provide a free 30-day notice to vacate template if you don’t want to write this letter yourself. But if you do wish to write the letter, follow these steps.
Step No. 1 – Address All Tenants Named on the Lease Directly
You must address your letter directly to the tenants named on your lease agreement. That means avoiding generic terminology, such as “tenants”. This step ensures the tenant can’t dispute the fact that the letter is addressed to them. Furthermore, it ensures that all tenants on the lease agreement are aware of the situation. After all, you may have several tenants in the same property, with some being unaware of a violation committed by one of the other tenants.
In cases where you have multiple tenants, some states allow you to address the letter solely to the tenant who violated the lease agreement. Others force you to evict all tenants at the same time, even if only one has violated the lease. Speak to an attorney to discuss your options, especially if you wish to retain your other tenants.
Step No. 2 – List Your Lease Information
This is another step taken to ensure a tenant can’t argue that the letter doesn’t specify them or the property they’re renting.
The list of your lease information includes the basics about your property and the lease agreement, including the full address and the date you and your tenant signed the lease.
Step No. 3 – Notify the Tenant of Your Decision to Evict
With the formalities out of the way, move straight onto the reason behind sending the notice. State that this is an eviction notice in your opening sentence, along with the date by which the tenant has to move out of your property. While this is usually a 30-day notice to vacate, some states have additional rules or longer notice periods.
As a side-note, don’t ramble or beat around the bush with your lease termination letter. This is a legal document so remove any emotion from your writing. Instead, treat what you’re writing as a simple statement of facts.
Step No. 4 – Specify Just Cause for the Eviction
You must provide a reason for the eviction. Even in cases where you’re simply terminating a lease that’s come to the end of its fixed period, you must inform your tenant of that fact.
It’s not enough to list the reasons for eviction. Provide justification for each one. For example, if you’re evicting the tenant due to missed rent payments, list the amount owed and the date(s) the tenant missed. You should define any penalties or late fees the tenant must pay. Similar information needs to be included for any other reason. If the tenant is being evicted due to noise complaints, list the dates and times you received the complaints.
The point here is to ensure the tenant fully understands why they’re being evicted. Furthermore, giving a detailed reason demonstrates this is not a spur-of-the-moment decision on your behalf. You’re showing the tenant that you have evidence of misdoing that is grounds for evicting them.
Step No. 5 – Conclude the Letter
Finish the letter with a statement of what will happen next. This will depend on the type of 30-day notice to vacate letter you’re sending. With a cure or quit notice, you’ll tell the tenant what they can do to fix the issue, along with a timeframe. Unconditional quit notices may end by informing the tenant of the legal ramifications of a decision not to leave your property, such as you pursuing an eviction lawsuit.
Conclude the letter formally, sign and date it, and make a copy for your records.
Step No. 6 – Serve the Notice to Vacate
You can often serve the notice directly by posting it to the property or delivering it to the tenant by hand. But some states may require you to serve the notice in a more official capacity, such as sending it alongside a court order or having a law enforcement office deliver the notice.
After serving the notice, your tenant will ideally vacate the property without any issues. If they contest the notice, you must engage the services of an attorney, gather evidence, and work through official channels to complete the eviction.
When Should You Hire an Attorney?
It’s a good idea to work with an attorney from the moment you choose to rent out your property. Your attorney can help you draft a lease agreement that specifies potential lease violations and solidifies the rights of you and your tenant. As a result, your tenant won’t be able to use a poorly-written lease agreement against you if they try to defend against your 30-day notice to vacate.
Once the agreement is written, you likely won’t require an attorney again until you have to evict a tenant. Some landlords choose to handle the eviction themselves, which is a possibility. As long as you follow the rules in your state and have just cause, you can evict a tenant without legal help. Still, it’s best to contact an attorney to help you file the appropriate forms and take the correct steps when evicting. As mentioned, evictions require you to follow detailed rules, meaning mistakes are often costly.
Hire an attorney to help you draft your 30-day notice to vacate letter. It’s prudent to retain your attorney if your tenant intends to fight against the eviction or if you have to comply with rent control or housing program rules when evicting.
Finally, hire an attorney if you know your tenant is experiencing financial difficulties. If a tenant files for bankruptcy, they’re entitled to an Automatic Stay under Rule 4001 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. The Automatic Stay prevents lawsuits, collection actions, and evictions based on failure to pay rent for a set period. This presents more complex issues that may delay your eviction efforts.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Write a 30-Day Notice to Vacate?
The steps shared in this article demonstrate how to write a 30-day notice to vacate letter. You must remove all emotion from the equation. Treat the eviction like the business issue it is. Bringing emotion into the equation can lead to poor decision-making and provide tenants with a defense against your notice to evict.
If you don’t want to write the letter yourself, we offer a sample of 30-day notice to vacate letters that you can use as templates.
What Is a Lease Termination Letter?
A lease termination letter is an alternative term for a 30-day notice to vacate. The term also applies in cases where you must provide more than 30 days’ notice. You may send a lease termination letter if a lease agreement is coming to an end, the tenant has violated the lease agreement, or external factors mean you must remove your tenant from your property.
When Should You Provide an End-of-Lease Notice?
In most states, you must provide an end-of-lease notice at least 30 days before the lease concludes. As mentioned in the article, some states have longer notice periods or criteria in place that require different notice periods. Consult a local attorney if you’re unsure about when you should provide notice.
Get Your Free 30-Day Notice to Vacate Template
The key takeaway from this article is that you’re legally obliged to provide a written notice to any tenant you wish to evict. You can’t simply tell a tenant to leave without giving them the opportunity to make good on the issue raised, form a defense, or find a new place to live.
With eviction processes being governed by strict rules, it’s often difficult to write a lease termination letter properly. Instead of struggling with terminology, formatting, and the information you need to include, use our 30-day notice to vacate template. This template features standard formatting and legal terminology, allowing you to insert the details related to the eviction.
My name is Nick Caucci and I help run the Rentroom blog. Over the years, I have seen and helped many different property managers and owner-operators streamline their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly workflows.