Landlord Basics: 30 Day Notice or Termination of Tenancy Notice

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(This post is part of our “Landlord Basics” series, which seeks to help the new landlord / investor understand some of the basics of tenant relations and property management. Click here to view the entire Landlord Basics archive.)

Update: You can now download a sample Termination of Tenancy Form.

At some point, it will be time to tell a tenant that it’s time to part ways.  The 30 Day Notice, or Termination of Tenancy Notice,  must be issued to the tenant to begin the process of removing a tenant from the property, unless you are evicting due to non payment.  If you are evicting due to non payment, you will want to issue a 3 Day Notice, or Notice to Pay Or Quit, prior to issuing a 30 Day Notice.

Before we get into the meat of how 30 Day Notices work, please note that this is written based on the laws in my local jurisdiction.  Please consult your lawyer prior to initiating any legal action against a tenant!

The 30 Day Notice will be similar to the Letter of Violation, because you are expecting the tenant to complete an action based on their violation of the lease.  In this instance, however, you are asking them to remove themselves from the premises as opposed to pay a fine or some other such action.

At the top of your 30 Day Notice Under, address the letter to the tenant by name and address.  Be sure to include the date.  You should have a bold header a size or two larger than the rest of the text in the letter  stating 30 Day Notice or Termination Of Tenancy Notice.  This gets the point across right away that you are asking the tenant to leave.

The body of the letter needs to explain that the tenant is required, within 30 days, to remove themselves and their belongings from the property.  It also needs to explain that if they fail to do so that legal proceedings will be initiated against them to remove them from the premises.  Include an explanation for why you are asking the tenant not to leave.  Common reasons could be non-payment of rent, intent not to renew lease, or violation of a lease clause.  Keep in mind that you are using the “soft date” of 30 days.  This date gets confusing because of weekends and holidays.  After  you explain why you are asking them to leave, give the “hard date” that the tenant needs to be out of the property.

Under the text of the violation letter, you should document how the letter was served.  For instance, if you are mailing the letter, state that the notice was served in the mail.  If you send the letter certified, include the article number.  Since you and the tenant will both have a copy, there is no argument that can be made.

Serving the letter property is very important! In most jurisdictions the 30 days begins the first day the month after the letter is served.  If you serve the letter on March 1, the 30 days doesn’t begin until April 1, meaning the tenant has rights to the property for 2 full months!  If you serve the notice February 28, the 30 days begins March 1.  This means the tenant needs to vacate by the end of march, giving them only 1 full month!

If you served the letter personally to the tenant, document the date and time the letter was served, and to whom.  Keep in mind that in most states you must be 18 to accept service of a notice.  Your best bet is to serve it directly to the tenant and not a child in the household.  Since you and the tenant will both have a copy, there is no argument that can be made.

If you post the notice on the property, document the date and time the letter was posted, and where.  You may want to take a photo of the posted letter so there is no wiggle room.  Since you and the tenant will both have a copy, there is no argument that can be made.

Make sure you keep a copy of the letter in your records! If you need to show cause at a legal hearing (eviction, small claims, etc.) the documentation that you have will be your proof!

Keeping your records in line will help you in the long run.  If you missed our article on keeping property records, read up on that here.

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