A lease termination letter is a letter that you send to your landlord if you want to break your lease and you either need to get their approval or just need to give them warning.
When do I need to send a termination letter?
You should use a lease termination letter if one of these situations applies to you:
- You're on a month-to-month agreement that you want to end
- You want to move out before your lease is over and you made the decision to break, or terminate, the lease instead of finding a qualified tenant to takeover your lease or sublet from you
- You are moving out because the apartment is in disrepair
In either case, it's important to write a formal lease termination letter so that you have written documentation that you gave notice to your landlord. If you're hoping to get their green light to break your lease early then you'll want evidence of your having tried to get consent as soon as you knew you needed to break the lease. If you don't have this then it might be easier for them to get out of mitigating damages as quickly as possible by looking for a replacement tenant.
What should I include in the termination letter?
Here's what your letter should include:
- Today's date and the date that you'll be moving out
- The address of the rental unit and the start and end date of the lease
- You don't have to include why you're leaving, but it might help your landlord to understand the situation. If you are leaving because of something they did or failed to do, then you will want documentation of this. Include your reasoning and any additional details or evidence
- If you are going to try to get your security deposit back, then let them know when you're available for a walkthrough as well as your forwarding address for them to send you the deposit
After you send the letter, your landlord may respond with information about returning your security deposit. They might notify you that they plan to keep your deposit as a penalty—or that they plan to charge you additional penalties for breaking your lease. They may even ignore you completely.
Is a termination letter legally binding?
A termination letter isn't a contract—it's a notice that you're planning to leave your rental. If either your or your landlord wants to take extra precautions, then you should sign a termination agreement as well. A landlord may want to do this to make sure that you have no ability to sue them for anything in the future and to be sure that you won't decide to hold over. You should try to sign a termination agreement, similarly, to get assurance that they won't decide to come after you for unpaid rent.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.