What Landlords Should Know About Move-Out Letters

One key responsibility for landlords is handling paperwork. Move-out letters are one such form of documentation that landlords need to keep track of. Writing formal these letters can, however, be a daunting task.

Considering how overwhelming other tasks may be, you may be tempted to skip writing one altogether. That said, writing a move-out letter is key and can directly impact your bottom line.

A properly written move-out letter can help you in more ways than one as a landlord including preventing your tenant from overstaying their lease and encouraging them to leave their rented premises in great condition.

Does State Law Mandate Landlords Send Move-out Letters?

Under Florida law, either party on the lease can choose to end the agreement when it comes to a month-to-month lease. But before vacating the unit, the deciding party must send the other notice, depending on the rent payment frequency.

But even in a long-term lease, where a move-out notice isn’t mandated, serving one could be valuable. As a landlord, you could use it to highlight your expectations for the end of the tenancy which may help reduce the risk of conflicts.

A move-out letter, allows you to highlight your expectations so that the tenant can leave the property in good condition. This lets you to have a rent-ready property, so you can begin the re-leasing process right away.

black mailbox with red flag signalling mail is inside

How Does a Move-out Letter Benefit Both Parties Signed to the Lease?

A move-out letter provides both you and your tenant with a myriad of benefits. In addition to those already aforementioned, a move-out letter can help:

  • Give your tenant ample time to get the property back to its move-in state, with less normal wear and tear.
  • Solidify the relationship between you and your tenant. It could help ensure that both parties end things on good terms.
  • Outline the expectations that the tenant must meet before moving out.

What Information Does a Move-out Letter have to Contain?

As no two rental properties will be the same, the information to include in a move-out letter will vary. If you are a DIY landlord, you may want to seek help from a qualified property management company.

However, the following are some of the basic details that a move-out letter should contain to be effective:

  • Your contact details
  • The notice period the tenant has to move out
  • Details about lease renewal if you provide them that option
  • Inspection details if you’re planning to do a walk-through inspection and its date
  • What the tenant must do to get their security deposit back. For instance, conducting repairs or paying unpaid rent.

white envelope with a pencil on top

When is the Best Time to Send Your Tenant a Move-out Letter?

The best time to send a move-out letter is specified by state and local laws. As already mentioned, in Florida, the notice period to provide the tenant depends on the rent payment frequency. To terminate a:

  • Week-to-week lease, you must send the tenant a minimum notice period of 7 days.
  • Month-to-month lease, you must send the tenant a notice of at least 15 days.
  • Quarter-to-quarter lease, you must give them notice of at least 30 days.
  • Year-to-year lease, you must send the tenant a 60 days advance notice.

Is There a Difference Between a Move-out Notice and an Eviction Notice?

Yes, there is! A tenant may need to be evicted from the rental for a variety of reasons. The reasons could range from nonpayment of rent, to lease violation, to refuse to leave after the expiry of the lease term.

If you are evicting a tenant, you’ll need to follow a proper judicial process as outlined by state law. Then, you must obtain a court order. Generally speaking, you can expect the eviction process in Florida to take anywhere between 20 and 37 days on average.

A move-out notice, on the other hand, can be used by either the landlord or the tenant. If serving it to the tenant, it’ll basically tell them that you won’t be renewing their lease for another term.

person passing someone else a document across a table

However, if the tenant refuses to leave after the notice period, you could decide to pursue an eviction against them.

What Should a Landlord Include in a Move-out Checklist?

As you send the tenant a move-out notice, you may also want to attach a checklist to spell out their maintenance responsibilities. Details to include within a checklist will vary depending on the rental property.

While the following list is not exhaustive, these are some instructions you may want to give your tenant before they move out:

Floors

  • Vacuum the carpet
  • Remove pet stains
  • Mop the floor

Walls

  • Remove any nails or hooks
  • Repair any wall that is damaged
  • Brush out cobwebs from ceilings and corners
  • Patch larger holes

Kitchen

  • Repair any damaged appliance
  • Unclog drains
  • Clean all countertops and sinks
  • Wipe cabinets, shelves, and pantries
  • Clean the stove and oven

Doors & Windows

  • Ensure all doors and windows are working as they should
  • Wipe down window and door frames

Bathroom

  • Sanitize the sink, shower, bathtub, and toilet
  • Ensure the toilet is working as it should
  • Clean the mirrors, shelves, and vanity
  • Wipe down cabinets and drawers
  • Clean grout and tiles

Other Areas

  • Clean patio areas
  • Remove any belongings you may have from the yard, balcony, deck, patio, or terrace
  • Dispose of any trash
  • Clean any pavement

Bottom Line

While managing paperwork may not be one of your favorite tasks as a landlord, it’s an essential one. The move-out letter is one that can benefit both you and your tenants.

For expert help, look no further than Gifford Properties & Management. We’re a transparent, reliable, and professional property management company. Get in touch to learn more!

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