What Landlords Should Know About Move-Out Letters

What Landlords Should Know About Move-Out Letters

Communicating with tenants is crucial if you want to become a successful rental property owner. As a landlord, you need to know how to draft and send formal letters and notices whenever necessary. One of the most important documents to draft is a move-out letter. 

Although move-out letters are not often required by law, sending one to your tenants can make the end of the tenancy process smooth. If you want to learn more about the purpose and importance of this kind of document, keep on reading!

The Purpose of a Move-Out Letter

Sending move-out notices to tenants is a great way to remind them when their lease will end. In some cases, this will be a good opportunity for you to encourage tenants to renew their leases and extend their stay.

However, even if the tenants do not have plans to renew their lease agreements with you, sending a move-out letter can still be beneficial. For one thing, it serves as a reminder to tenants on when they should leave the premises. This allows this ample time to prepare and act on the necessary tasks before they vacate the rental unit.

person putting an envelope into a silver mailbox

Another important purpose of a move-out letter is to remind tenants what they need to do before they leave the property. Generally, they should make sure that the property is in good condition when they return it to you. The letter presents an opportunity for you to outline the aspects of the property they need to clean and fix. 

Making sure that your tenants do their job in keeping the property clean and in good condition is essential if you want it to be rent-ready for the next tenant. A property that is not left in good condition will take some time before it can be marketed for rent. This means that the property will remain vacant while you carry out the needed repairs and cleaning.

With a move-out letter, you provide tenants time to act on these to-do tasks. They will also be able to save their security deposit if they leave the property the way it was when they first moved in. In general, sending a move-out letter, along with important reminders, is a win-win for both the landlord and the tenants. 

What to Include in Your Move-Out Letters

In most cases, move-out letters will vary depending on the type of rental unit and the individual landlord. That said, typically, a move-out letter includes the following information:

two people shaking hands across a document on a clipboard
  • The date when the move-out letter is delivered, either in person or by mail.
  • Contact information for the landlord, such as an office number, mobile phone number, and email address.
  • Important dates, including the date when the tenant is expected to have vacated the property. Make sure to put the specific date and time to avoid any confusion.
  • Inspection details, including the date and time of the inspection and whether or not you want the tenant to be present for it.
  • A move-out checklist that includes the aspects of the property that the tenant is expected to clean and the things that they need to return in the same condition as they were found in.
  • Instructions for leaving the keys behind.
  • Instructions for security deposits, including when and how the deposit should be returned, as well as the allowable deductions. Make sure to ask the tenants to provide their new forwarding address as soon as possible so you can send the remaining security deposit to them.

Move-Out Checklist

A move-out checklist is an essential attachment to move-out letters because it helps tenants know what they need to do before they vacate the property. Ideally, the checklist should include all aspects of the property that the tenants are expected to clean. 

hands in yellow cleaning gloves holding a spray bottle with cleaning solution in it

Remind tenants to check the condition of the rental unit and perform the necessary repairs so they won’t risk losing their security deposit. The checklist may differ from one property to another so make sure that your checklist is based on what your property needs. That said, a move-out checklist typically includes:

  • A reminder to tenants to clean the bathroom, kitchen, windows, ceilings, floors, and exterior of the property 
  • A reminder to make sure that the wall paint should remain the same color as it was when they moved in
  • A reminder to dispose of their garbage properly 
  • A reminder to make sure that they don’t leave any personal belongings behind
  • A reminder to pay all their utility bills and settle their dues before they leave 

Move-Out Letters vs. Eviction Notices

The main difference between a move-out letter and an eviction notice is that letters are sent to tenants who are at the end of their lease terms, whereas eviction notices are for those who broke the terms of the lease. 

If a landlord needs to evict a tenant due to legal reasons or lease violations, the landlord should go through a proper eviction procedure and send a notice based on the reason for eviction. A landlord cannot simply evict a tenant without going through the right legal process.

document with the words “eviction notice” in red

Note that eviction processes may vary by state, so it’s essential to be familiar with your local state law and city’s ordinances to ensure that you don’t violate any rules. With eviction notices, it’s crucial to include all the necessary information as stipulated by the law, so it’s best to work with a professional who is familiar with the procedure.

Bottom Line

Sending move-out letters may not be required, but they are very helpful if you want to make sure that the move-out process is smooth and seamless. If you have more questions about how to make the move-out process easy for both you and your tenants, contact our experts at DeSantis Property Management and we’ll be happy to help you!