There is a lot of paperwork that comes with being a landlord! From lease agreements to inspection reports, landlords use contracts and other notices to keep their rentals running smoothly. Highly-organized landlords know the importance of optimizing rental operations and use move-out letters to achieve this.

Regardless of whether you’re saying goodbye to a long-term, quality tenant or a problematic renter, a move-out letter will notify the tenant of their move-out date and request they leave the space in good condition.

So, if you want to reduce your tenant turnover and maximize your success as a landlord, check out this guide to move-out letters!

Why Landlords Issue Move-Out Letters

When a lease agreement comes to an end, both landlords and their tenants can choose to terminate the tenancy. However, the party wishing to end the tenancy must notify the other party. As a landlord, you can give notice to your tenant through a move-out letter.

A move-out letter can help you communicate your expectations as a landlord. Many experienced landlords can attest that most disputes and conflicts happen at the end of a tenancy. If you include information related to end-of-tenancy cleaning, move-out inspections, and other processes in your letter, you can prevent misunderstandings between you and your tenants.
a landlord prepares a move out letter
When executed correctly, a move-out letter will reduce the vacancies between tenants. They can also help ensure your unit is ready for the next tenant, guaranteeing consistency in rental income.

Move-Out Letter Advantages

Move-out letters offer several benefits to both landlords and tenants. Some of these advantages are outlined below.

  • Ends the landlord-tenant relationship on a good note for all parties
  • Communicates expectations related to exit dates, end-of-tenancy cleaning, property inspections, and repairs.
  • Provides tenants ample time to respond to the letter and complete move-out responsibilities
  • Reduces the risk of dealing with a holdover tenant

Move-Out Letter Content

While every landlord has a rental property with unique needs, there is some information all move-out letters should contain. We’ve included a list of essential points to include in your letter below.

  • Your contact information, including phone number and email address
  • The date you issue the letter
  • Why you are choosing not to renew the lease
  • Expected move-out date
  • Protocols for the move-out property inspection
  • Security deposit return information
  • End-of-tenancy cleaning list

Cleaning Checklist

Your rental property is an investment worth thousands of dollars. You must ensure it is in its best condition when a tenant moves out. You can include a cleaning checklist as part of your move-out letter.
a black and red steamcleaner rests on a pink carpet
We recommend including the below items on your end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist.

  • Clean floors
  • Wash walls and doors
  • Wipe down shelves, cupboards, and cabinets
  • Dust windowsills and baseboards
  • Remove garbage from the property

While these items are universal, every rental property is unique. To ensure your property is ready for a new renter, add items specific to your property to the cleaning list.

When to Send a Move-Out Letter

Moving can be stressful, so it’s important to give your tenant plenty of notice when you choose to end their tenancy. We recommend sending your move-out letter to the tenant ahead of time so they are able to find a new home and complete all of the tasks on their move-out checklist.

To learn more about specific timelines and legal requirements related to move-out letters, take a look at state and local landlord-tenant laws.

Are Move-Out Letters and Eviction Notices the Same Thing

While both move-out letters and eviction notices end tenancies, they are not the same thing. Move-out letters are used when a lease reaches its intended end. Conversely, an eviction is the forceful removal of a tenant from the premises that terminates the tenancy prematurely.
a lawyer reviews documents for their landlord clients
Often, an eviction is caused by a violation of the lease terms and rules. This may be in the form of defaulting on rent payments, failure to maintain the property, or conducting illegal activities in the rental. Evictions require landlords to navigate complex legal processes in order to remove the tenant from the rental.


Move-out letters are vital tools for landlords in documenting the conclusion of a tenant's lease agreement. These letters serve as official notifications that a tenant must vacate the premises, outlining the specific move-out date and any additional relevant details.

By sending a move-out letter, landlords establish clear communication channels and provide both parties with a written record of the tenant's intentions. This documentation is crucial for landlords as it helps facilitate a smooth transition between tenants, ensuring that all necessary procedures and legal obligations are fulfilled.

Move-out letters also provide an opportunity for landlords to communicate expectations regarding the return of security deposits, any outstanding charges, and the condition in which the property should be left. Ultimately, move-out letters offer protection to landlords by minimizing potential disputes and promoting transparency in the landlord-tenant relationship.

For more information on move-out letters or any aspect of property management, reach out to the experts at Nelson PM today!