How to Handle Preparing and Using a Notice of Lease Termination

The last thing you want to have to do as a landlord or property manager is having to give one of your tenants notice of intent to terminate their lease. Whether you are changing the property in such a manner that it requires your tenant to leave or they have violated their lease in some way, a notice to terminate their lease is required.

Not So Fast

However, you can’t simply hand your tenant a piece of paper stating you are terminating their lease. You have to consider local and state laws, very specific timelines, and make sure you are giving the tenant proper notice. Failure to do so could end with your being taken to court. Follow these tips to help make the process go more smoothly.

The Termination of Lease Notice

The termination of lease notice is a legally binding document used to inform a tenant that they have to vacate the property before the original term of the lease. Most states require you to provide a written notice even if you have verbally notified your tenants. The notice typically includes not only the “when” but also the “why” their lease is being terminated. Failure to provide proper “written” notice may allow the tenants to remain in your property longer than you want or you could be held liable for any expenses they incur as a result of the lack of proper notice.

Reasons to Write a Notice of Termination of Lease

Much like your tenant cannot legally terminate their lease without a valid reason, neither can you. The lease is a legally binding contract and can only be terminated for certain reasons, among these are:

·     Failure to Pay Rent

Failure to pay rent is the most common reasons for terminating a lease, whether it is for consistent late payment or failure to pay any rent. You can use the notice as leverage to get a tenant to catch up with any back rent and stay on time in the future, oryou can use it to remove them from your property.

·     Violations of Lease or Rental Agreement Terms

Should a tenant violate the terms of their lease or rental agreement, you are free to send them a notice of intent to terminate their lease. These violations might include having a pet you were not made aware of, adding roommates without your permission, sub-letting, and unapproved modifications or renovations.

·     Breaking the Law While On Your Property

If your tenant breaks the law while on your property (for example, dealing drugs), you may terminate their lease. But only if the crime occurs on your property, if they commit a crime elsewhere, this is not a valid reason to terminate the person’s lease.

What Goes on a Notice of Lease Termination?

Certain things must be on your notice of lease termination including:

  • Landlord and Tenant Names
  • The Date
  • The Notice Period (time they have to vacate the property)
  • Any possible remedies to the situation
  • A detailed explanation of why their lease is being terminated

If there is more information concerning the specifics of the termination you can add, and you need to let your tenant know what, if anything, they can do to stop the termination. Here are three situations to consider:

·     Pay Up or Leave

Give your tenant 3 to 5 days to pay all back rent and bring their rent current or set up a payment plan with you. If they fail to do so, they must quit the property at the end of the time period.

·     Fix It or Leave

If your reason for termination is a violation of the terms of the lease, you can give them a short period to fix the problem, or they must leave. For example, your tenant has pets you were unaware of; they must re-home them.

·     No Choice Time to Leave

When things have gone too far, and there is no remedy, your best option might be to give the tenant an unconditional notice of lease termination. This leaves them with no choice but to leave or face the full force of the eviction process.