A notice to vacate is a formal declaration that someone is expected to leave a residence. It can be filed by a tenant, to indicate that he or she plans to leave by a set date, or it can be filed by a landlord, to indicate that a tenant is expected to leave by a certain date. A number of people use pre-printed legal forms to write out their notices, to ensure that they comply with the law, although it can also take the form of a simple written letter.
Several pieces of information must be included in a notice to vacate. The names of the tenant(s) and the address and unit number (if applicable) of the house are typically near the top of the document, along with the name of the landlord and his or her contact information. The notice is also dated, and it includes a date by which the tenants are expected to leave. A 30-day notice is probably the most common, although it is also possible to see 60 and 90 day notices. Discussion of any rents and security deposits may be included as well, along with information about a move-out inspection, and the reason why the tenant is vacating the property.
A tenant usually files a notice to vacate when his or her lease is up, and will not be extended. For example, if James Jones rents a house on 1 May 1900 and signs a year lease, and he does not want to continue leaving in the house after that year, he would file a 30 day notice to vacate on 1 April 1901 to indicate that he plans to move out on 1 May 1901, and does not wish to extend the lease. This serves as a formal legal notice, alerting the landlord to the fact that a tenant is leaving.
Landlords typically file a notice to vacate when a tenant has violated the terms of a lease, or when the lease will not be extended. Most landlords file a 30 day notice, and it may be the first step in the eviction process. When landlords file this document, they usually hope that the tenants will comply, as evictions are time consuming and expensive, in addition to being irritating to deal with. In the notice to vacate, the reason for the request should be clearly cited.
When a person receives a notice to vacate, as a landlord or a tenant, he or she should take the time to read it over carefully. If the tenant is unclear about anything in the notice, he or she should ask for more information. Tenants are not obliged to reply with a response indicating that they have received the notice, although it can be polite to do so. Many people take the notice as an opportunity to schedule a post move-out inspection, which should fall within 30 days of the move-out, and make sure that the landlord is aware of the fact that any security deposit is expected back within 30 days. Tenants who think that the time period of the notice does not give them enough time to relocate should politely approach the landlord to ask if an extension is possible.