Leaving once your lease is up, and you don’t intend to renew it or because you might have found a better place to live elsewhere, requires formal steps to be taken. In doing so, you will inform your landlord beforehand of your intention to vacate the property, much like you would do in a corporate workspace; this is called a notice, and due notice must be given to a landlord before you intend to vacate the premises. But just how much notice is enough? In this blog, we’ll be looking at the time of notice and how much notice is usually required before moving out.
Before we get into the particulars, it is imperative to note here that much like the rest of the aspects of real estate renting and leasing, much of it will hinge on the particulars as per your lease agreement and the local regulations that govern such relations. However, there is also a universally applied rule to notice periods; we’ll now look into that.
Notice before moving out: what should be the time period?
Much like a job, you must give ample notice before vacating the premises. This is done to make sure that the landlord, who in a good majority of cases, depends on the income from the rental property in running their expenses. This notice period allows them to look for an alternate tenant to help fill the financial void that looms near, and if not, the last rent after the notice period acts as a bulwark for them in keeping their financials afloat.
This leads to the question: just how much notice period is necessary? Well, the standard notice period for vacating a rented property is one month or thirty days. Many jobs and corporate roles also require at least a month’s notice beforehand to get the affairs in order, which is exactly the logic behind notice periods in property rentals.
Notice period as per the lease agreement
As explained beforehand, what usually happens is that the lease agreement determines the amount of time that the notice period should be. For example, the same notice period goes up to six months for long-term lease agreements in residential and commercial properties. This means that the tenant needs to inform the landlord, in writing, of their intent to vacate the building or the house six months before they do so.
Again, this is done to ensure financial security for the landlord since many of them depend on the rental income for their day-to-day expenses. Just leaving abruptly will affect their financial security and could be detrimental to their living, so notice periods are mandated nationally and reinforced by introducing them in the lease agreements.
Since lease agreements generally trump the terms of the notice period, there are many instances where the notice period is much shorter than a month. For instance, for some short-term leases in residential property rentals or for places like hostels and other short-term living arrangements, the average notice period, as per the agreements, falls around the fifteen-day mark or two weeks.
Writing your notice period letter
Giving your landlord the notice requires it to be done in an orderly manner, one that can be documented and does not leave you open for potential litigation. This means that the landlord needs to be informed of your decision to move out in a written letter delivered at least 30 days before you move out. Now, as opposed to what might be popular on social media, it’s not advisable to simply write ‘Moving out’ on a piece of paper and tape it onto your landlord’s door. No, the letter needs to be formal and should clearly convey why you’re leaving, when you are vacating the property and any other particulars that need to be delivered.
Since this will be a formal letter, you will start with the day, month, and date when this letter is written. After you’re through with all the requisites, you must ensure that the date when you will be leaving and moving out is prominent, visible, and conforms to the notice period per the lease agreement. If your lease agreement requires at least two months prior notice, you will need to draft and deliver the letter well before 60 days from the date that you move out since this will be in line with the lease agreement and will help keep this ‘moving out’ process as amicable as possible.
What if giving due notice is not possible?
There are times when you may not have enough time to give notice or if another personal situation does not allow enough time. Now, this might be a genuine reason for you not being able to give your landlord enough notice. At times like these, it is better to talk to your landlord and explain the situation to them, and maybe you can work something out that finds common ground between the two of you.
However, should that not be possible, and you are not willing to pay any extra dues that come with not being able to offer a complete notice period, there is one way you can avoid being penalized.
Subletting the property
Subletting the property means that you essentially let another person stay in your property for the duration of the notice period, and they will pay the rent and ensure that you do not incur any punitive financial damages from not conforming to the lease agreement and not providing sufficient notice. In this case, you will allow a person to stay in the property to pay the rent while you get enough time to draw up a notice letter and serve it to the landlord. However, make sure that your landlord is fine with it, and in some cases, the person to whom the property is being sublet might end up signing a lease. This may be one of the more ‘gray area’ suggestions for the notice period, but both parties must adhere to what the lease agreement requires of them.
The bottom line
Notice periods for renting or leasing properties are imperative and are required by many states and provinces across Canada. It helps give landlords who might be dependent on the rental income a bulwark against being suddenly without a reliable source of income, wherein they might be able to make arrangements within the notice period. This means that the tenant needs to provide a written letter underlining their reasons to leave and a date that complies with the lease requirements. In the case of the security deposits and other pending financials, these can be resolved once the notice period has been served.
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