What Landlords Should Know About Move Out Letters

Move out letters are an important task for landlords. Whether a lease is coming to an end or you're terminating a periodic lease, there's more to move out letters than you might think.

Re-renting a property is a time-intensive process. Between tending to damages, cleaning your rental, marketing the property, screening tenants and scheduling property showings, a lot can get lost in the shuffle.

While tenant turnover can be costly and stressful, a detailed move out letter can help offer some relief. If the tenant abides by it, you may have an easier time renting out the property. That's why it's important for landlords to write clear and detailed letters to safeguard their investment.

What Is a Move Out Letter?

Also known as a notice to vacate, a move out letter is a letter that a landlord sends to a tenant who is looking to move out.

What Is the Purpose of a Move Out Letter?

The purpose of a move out letter is to outline your expectations to the tenant to help reduce the risk of potential disputes.

Writing a detailed move out letter can help protect your interests. Ultimately, the letter should help you encourage the tenant to leave their rented premises in the same condition they found it in.


A solid move out letter can also help you re-rent the property quickly, reducing the amount of time the property stays vacant. On average, a vacant rental property costs as much as its monthly rent.

For instance, if you're renting out your property for $1,500 per month, that means you'd lose the same amount of money every month the property remains vacant.

Not to mention, that amount can be higher if the tenant leaves the property in a dire state of disrepair. Besides the cost of repairs, cleaning up a previous tenant's damages could also take up a lot of your time. In this case, a detailed move out letter could save you a significant amount of trouble.

What Are the Benefits of Writing a Proper Move Out Letter?

The following are the benefits you may be able to enjoy from writing a proper move out letter.

  • Move out letters can help solidify the good relationship you already have with your tenant. The letter can serve as a formal 'thank you', enabling the tenant to leave on good terms. You may also use the opportunity to thank the tenant for caring for your property, paying rent on time, and abiding by the terms of the lease agreement.
  • They inform your tenant of your expectations, reducing potential miscommunications.
  • They allow tenants adequate time to prepare for the tasks mentioned in the letter.


How Can a Landlord Write a Proper Move Out Letter?

The follwing are the important elements that every move out letter should include.

  • Name of the tenant and other persons listed on the same lease.
  • Date of delivery.
  • Landlord's contact information.
  • The rental property's address.
  • Reason for the lease termination.
  • The effective date of moving out.
  • Details of the inspection.
  • What the tenant must do to get a refund for their security deposit.
  • Signature of the landlord.

Keep in mind that no two move out letters will ever be the same, as one rental property will vary from the other. You may also want to seek expert help from a reputable property management company if this will be your first time writing a move out letter.

What Is the Best Time to Send a Move Out Letter?

The state of North Carolina doesn't have a statute on when landlords should send their tenants move out letters. Be that as it may, most landlords do so 30, 60, or even 90 days prior to the expiry of a lease.

Is There a Difference between a Move Out Letter and an Eviction Notice?

Absolutely! Your tenant may want to leave for many varied reasons. It could be that their lease is coming to an end and they no longer wish to stay there. Their move could arise from the need to upsize or downsize. They may also want to move to experience new areas.

A move out letter will simply encourage the tenant to leave the premises in the same original condition.


An eviction notice, on the other hand, is a notice that you send a tenant for violating a term in the lease agreement. Common lease violations include nonpayment of rent, violation of lease policies, and property damage.

If a tenant commits any of these violations, it provides the landlord with a just cause to evict them from their premises. It goes without saying that you must follow the proper eviction process as outlined under state law. The following is a basic overview of this process in North Carolina.

  • Serving the tenant with an eviction notice.
  • Filing a lawsuit in court and obtaining a copy of the summons and complaint.
  • Attending court hearings.
  • Obtaining a writ of possession if the judgement favors you.
  • Removing the tenant from the property.

It may be beneficial to consult with a reputable property management company prior to evicting a tenant -- professional help is always recommended when dealing with such legal processes.

Bottom Line

Now you know what a move out letter is and its importance to your bottom line. If you still have any questions or need expert help managing your rental property, T.E. Johnson & Sons are here for you.

We can help you maximize the income from your Winston-Salem rental property. Get in touch to learn more about our full suite of property management services.

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