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Lease Termination Letter Templates – Cancelling a Lease

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Lease termination letters is used most commonly to allow a Tenant or Landlord to cancel a month-to-month lease agreement (also known as a ‘tenancy at will’). A lease termination letter may also be used to attempt to cancel a lease if the Tenant or Landlord has violated their lease by submitting a notice to quit, although, in this case either party will usually have a time period to “cure” the issue. If the lease does not allow the lease to be terminated early the Tenant can make a formal request to terminate but it will be up to the Landlord to decide if they want to release the Tenant.

By Type

(Early) Lease Termination Letter – Used by a Landlord or Tenant to cancel a lease before it ends.

Month-to-Month Lease Termination – May be used by a Landlord or Tenant to cancel.

Notice to Quit – Used by a Landlord if the Tenant has violated the lease which is most commonly due to late rent.

Month-to-Month Lease Termination Forms

Table of Contents

How to Terminate a Lease

Getting out of a lease can be as easy as sending notice to the other party, for Month-to-Month Agreements for example, and as difficult as filing for an eviction if the tenant is not cooperating.

Step 1 – Identify Your Lease Type

This first (1st) step in is to identify the lease you have with the other party. In most cases, you will have one (1) of the following:

Standard (1-Year) Lease – Most common type, a fixed period arrangement where both parties are bound by the terms until the end of the lease term.

Month-to-Month Lease – Also known as a “tenancy-at-will” whereas the Landlord and Tenant are bound to each other until 1 of the parties sends notice that the lease is ending within the termination period (either stated in the Lease or subject to the State Minimum Period).

Sublease Agreement – Like a standard lease, a fixed period but this agreement is with the original Tenant, not the Landlord, who is re-renting the property.

Step 2 – Communicate with the Other Party

It is best to speak with the Landlord or Tenant(s) before sending any kind of legal notice. This should be done by phone, email, or speaking directly. When speaking, it is best to mention 1 of the 3 reasons why you are terminating the lease:

1. Early Termination – If either the Landlord or Tenant has a current lease and would like to cancel it before its end date the early lease termination letter should be sent to the other party. If the Tenant is cancelling because they have lost their job and won’t be able to pay the rent, the Landlord will be a lot more understanding as they do not want to go through the eviction process in order to vacate the Tenant. Both parties, although unlikely, also have the choice to deny the other’s request to terminate and see the lease through until its expiration.

2. Lease Default – If the Landlord or Tenant has defaulted on their lease then the other party may attempted to begin the process by cancelling the agreement.

  • For Landlords, this begins with the filing of a notice to quit, also known as “eviction proceedings”, if the Tenant has not paid rent or has violated the lease in another way.
  • For Tenants, this would be with a lease default notice if the Landlord has not kept with their commitments in the lease such as not fixing a needed repair or not providing heat (if required).

3. Month-to-Month Lease Termination – This would involve the Landlord or Tenant viewing their agreement and seeing what the termination period was as written. If there was no termination period mentioned then, by default, the period would be the State Minimum Period.

Step 3 – Sending Notice

In order to send notice there needs to be proof that the other party received the letter in the mail. More specifically, that someone signed the package upon delivery. This is also known as Certified Mail (with return receipt).

The sending party will need to retain the signature part as it proves the other party received the notice in the mail in case it needs to be shown in the court of law.

Step 4 – Negotiate with the Other Party

After sending official notice most likely you will have the attention of the Landlord or Tenant. At this time it is best to come to terms with whatever the issue is before getting attorneys involved. With a terminating a Month-to-Month Agreement it is as simple as telling the other party of the termination date. Although, if the notice was for a default of the lease by the other party, it can become a lot more complicated.

Step 5 – Going the Legal Route

If unfortunately the Landlord and Tenant cannot come to an agreement then they each must follow their own legal paths to terminating the lease.

For Landlords

    , this means filing eviction proceedings as outlined in their respective State.

For Tenants

    • , this involves using the local courts, usually Small Claims or Housing Court, in order to absolve themselves in addition to seeking any damages.

Minimum Termination Periods by State

(1) CO – Lease must be terminated in relation to the duration of the lease as follows:

        • One (1) year or longer, three (3) months;
        • Six (6) months or longer but less than a year, one (1) month;
        • One (1) month or longer but less than six (6) months, ten (10) days;
        • One (1) week or longer but less than one (1) month, or a tenancy at will, three (3) days;
        • Less than one (1) week, one (1) day.

(2) GA – Sixty (60) days’ notice for the landlord and thirty (30) days for the tenant.

(3) HI – Landlord must provide at lease forty-five days and the tenant is allowed twenty-eight (28) days’ notice.

(4) MA– Thirty (30) days or the interval between payment periods, whichever is longer.

(5) OR – Thirty (30) days’ notice unless the tenant has been on the property for more than a year, then the landlord and tenant are required to give at least sixty (60) days’ notice.

(6) RI – Thirty (30) days’ notice required for all tenants sixty-two (62) years of age and younger, sixty (60) days if over sixty-two (62) years of age.

(7) VT – If the tenant has been on the property for two (2) years of less sixty (60) days’ notice is required. For those that have been on the property longer than two (2) years ninety (90) days is required.

How to Write (Month-to-Month Termination)

All month to month rental agreements are able to be cancelled through sending this notice to the other party (either in person or through certified mail). Begin to fill-in the document by writing the following information:

Step 1 – Check the box that describes best your position:

        • First (1st) Box – For landlords only. Check the box and enter the date the lease agreement was signed and the termination date. Follow-up by giving the total amount of days notice the tenant will be receiving for their notice period.
        • Second (2nd) Box – For tenants only. Check the box and the lessee should enter the date their rental contract was authorized with the landlord along with the termination date and amount of notice (time period).

Step 2 – On the next line for the security deposit, enter the address where the landlord should send the funds after they move-out.

The issuer should sign the document on the bottom (making 2 originals).

Step 3 – The form must be sent to the other party through one (1) of the legal routes recognized by most States:

        • Deliver the document personally;
        • Deliver the document personally to an authorized individual on the premises;
        • Certified mail (return-receipt).

The period shall begin upon the receiving of notice. Therefore it is recommended to send the document earlier rather than later there are deadlines to be met.


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