August 26, 2014
Everything is now coming to an end. You have had the pleasure of renting out your investment property or even a room to a tenant but have decided that it’s time for a change. Maybe your selling the property, had a difference in opinion, or maybe your lined up a family member or friend as your next tenant. Whatever the reason, it’s now time to give your tenant a notice to vacate.
How to give a tenant notice to vacate?
First and foremost, you want to find out what the local law is in your area, which varies from state to state. For example the landlord tenant code in Hawaii requires landlords and property management companies to give a tenant a 45 day notice to vacate. Conversely, property managers and homeowners in Las Vegas or Los Angeles are required to give a 30 day notice.
The key here is to make sure that you are giving the tenant sufficient time in accordance to state law. If you don’t, then the tenant has the right to dispute the notice and a judge can determine that your notice is insufficient and require you to submit proper notice. Not only does this delay the process since you have to start over, now you have someone in your property that you don’t want in there anymore and they are likely going to be upset which could result in more problems.
How much time should I give a tenant to move out?
This depends on what your end game is. As a property manager and expert in property management, I take multiple things into consideration. How good was the tenant; did they pay rent on time and take care of the property? Do I think they will damage the home? What is the reason that I am giving the tenant a notice to move out?
If I believe the tenant will react negatively, I would simply provide them notice with the least amount of time legally possible so that you get your property back as soon as you can. I would make mention that depending on how the tenant returns the property, they may be eligible for a refund of their security deposit. Don’t over commit or give them the impression that they are not getting anything back. This way it acts as a motivation tool for them not to retaliate or cause damage before moving.
If they have been a good tenant overall, you may want to give them 60 days. This way they have time to find a new place and can act as a way of saying thank you to the tenant. However, if it’s a time sensitive situation, then you may not want to go this route.
Please also remember that you can only ask a tenant to move out at the end of their lease. This is not something that can be done during the lease unless they violated the terms of the lease, either the lease or law clearly states you reason is sufficient grounds to terminate the agreement, and you can prove your reason.
Should I give a tenant a reason why they are moving out?
Not unless you feel it will benefit you. You do not have to give a tenant a reason why you are asking them to move in Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles so long as their lease is ending. However, you will want to verify this by looking over your states landlord tenant code.
As a property manager, I would only give the tenant a reason if I felt they may retaliate or damage the home without one. A reason can help someone accept the fact that they have to move if it’s outside the landlord’s control. However, if there is no clear benefit, I would not provide a reason if you are not legally obligated to do so. Less information can prevent a tenant from coming back and challenging your reason.
5 things to avoid when giving a tenant notice to vacate:
- Telling the tenant that they will get a fully refund or that they won’t get anything at all
- Asking the tenant to move immediately
- Changing the locks without the tenants consent or court order even if they stay past the notice period
- Giving verbal notice and not following up that same day with a written notice
- Arguing with the tenant
Keep in mind that at this point, you goal is to get the property back in as good of condition as possible. Don’t do anything that could have an adverse effect if at all possible.
August 26, 2014