What Landlords Should Know About Move-Out Letters

The end of a tenancy can be a stressful time for both landlords and tenants. While renters have to deep clean the property and pack up their belongings, property owners have to coordinate move-out inspections and maintenance, as well as deal with tons of paperwork.

With so much to do, it’s easy for slip-ups to happen, such as tenants leaving some of their belongings behind, forgetting to change their mailing address with the USPS, or failing to do any necessary repairs before moving out.

Luckily, there are many things you can do to prevent most of these problems and make the move-out process a lot less stressful for you and your tenants. One of the best things you can do is send tenants a move-out letter in advance.

Don’t know what this is? We’ve got you covered! In this article, the experts at Draper Realty will go over everything you should know about move-out letters, including their ample benefits. Let’s dive in!

What Are Move-Out Letters?

Many landlords confuse move-out letters with eviction notices, but these two things are very different.

An eviction notice is a legal document that terminates a tenancy before its due date, typically for reasons such as nonpayment of rent, lease violations, or illegal activities. On the other hand, a move-out letter is a courtesy reminder that a tenant’s lease will expire soon, as specified in the initial rental agreement.

A room filled with cardboard moving boxes

Move-out letters serve as a reminder to the tenants that their lease is about to expire. This can help streamline the move-out process significantly, as this letter will not only remind renters when they should vacate the property, but also remind them to complete any necessary tasks before moving out.

For instance, a move-out letter can include the date of the scheduled final property inspection, information about when tenants will get their security deposit back, and information about what constitutes damage beyond wear and tear for deposit deductions.

What Is the Purpose of Move-Out Letters?

Move-out letters have many purposes, including the following:

  • Streamline the move-out process: A move-out letter establishes a clear timeline and expectations for both parties regarding the move-out process. This can go a long way to simplify and speed it up.
  • Keep track of documentation: A move-out letter serves as a documented record of the landlord's communication with the tenant regarding move-out procedures, expectations, and any requirements for returning the property in good condition. Keeping a copy of the letter in your files can go a long way in keeping you protected in case of disputes and ensuring legal compliance.
  • Prevent security deposit disputes: A good move-out letter should include information about the return of the tenant's security deposit, including any deductions for damages or unpaid rent, as per the terms of the lease agreement and applicable laws. By being transparent about this upfront, you can prevent some of the most common security deposit disputes.
  • Legal Compliance: In some jurisdictions, landlords are required by law to provide tenants with a move-out letter or notice that includes specific information about move-out procedures, timelines, and the return of the security deposit. Failure to provide such a letter can lead to legal consequences for the landlord.
  • Transparency: Move-out letters provide tenants with transparency and clarity regarding the move-out process. This will ensure you end every tenancy on good terms, which can go a long way in improving your reputation as a landlord.

A person on the phone smiling

Are Move-Out Letters Necessary?

In most states, sending tenants a move-out letter is not legally required. While it’s not strictly necessary, we recommend that you do it. After all, a well-written letter can significantly streamline the move-out process by ensuring tenants vacate the property on time and leave the unit free of damage.

A solid move-out letter should outline important details such as the tenant's move-out date, any required cleaning or repairs they should make, instructions for returning keys or access cards, and security deposit policies.

By ensuring tenants understand their responsibilities in the move-out process, you won’t have to worry about dealing with a dirty unit, chasing tenants for keys, or dealing with security deposit disputes.

What Information Should a Move-Out Letter Include?

Writing a move-out letter should not be an overly complicated process. While every letter will be different, depending on the terms and unique conditions of the lease, all move-out letters should include the same basic information. The things your move-out letter must have include the following.

  • The date of delivery.
  • Your full contact information.
  • Your tenants’ full name and contact information.
  • The specific move-out date, as stated in the lease agreement.
  • The reason for termination. In most cases, this will be that the lease agreement has come to an end.
  • Any necessary move-out requirements, such as where to leave the keys and instructions for an end-of-tenancy cleaning.
  • Information about the move-out property inspection.
  • Security deposit policies, including the requirements to get their full deposit back.

A person writing in a notebook

How to Write an Effective Move-Out Letter

When writing your move-out letter, you should remember to keep it professional. Use formal language and stick to business-related topics only. Your tenants will greatly appreciate it if you keep things short and sweet.

You must ensure you include all the information tenants need to remember and clearly outline any important instructions or policies. Taking the time to outline your expectations about cleaning and security deposit return requirements will ensure a faster and stress-free move-out process.

Finally, you must send the move-out letter with enough time to allow tenants to clean, make repairs, and make plans for their move-out date. A good rule of thumb is to send the letter at least 30 days before the end of the lease.

Bottom Line

By including information such as the move-out date, move-out requirements such as deep cleaning the property and making necessary repairs, and the requirements to get their deposit back in full, you can navigate the move-out process in a much clearer, organized, and legally compliant manner.

Need help writing a move-out letter? Contact Draper Realty! With over five years of experience in the Oklahoma rental market, our team can help you streamline the move-out process and fill your vacancies quickly!

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