One of the advantages of having a month to month with a tenant is that the lease is relatively easy to end. Most states require a 30-day notice, while others let a landlord end a lease in as little as seven days.
In this article, we’ll explain how month-to-month notices vary from state to state, how to write a 30-day notice letter to end a lease, and discuss two ways you can terminate a month-to-month lease in less than 30 days.
Overview: How a Month to Month Lease Works
Before we discuss how to terminate a month-to-month lease, let’s review how a month-to-month lease works.
Unlike a standard 12-month lease agreement, a month-to-month lease allows either the landlord or tenant to give written notice to terminate the lease agreement, with the amount of notice determined by state landlord-tenant laws.
As with a longer-term lease agreement, a month to month lease includes:
- Names of tenants, landlord, and property manager
- Duration of lease
- Rent due date
- Rent price
- Security deposit amount and refund terms
- Fee for late rent payments
- Automatic renewal
- Tenant privileges, including pet and guest policies
- Maintenance responsibility and repairs
State Rules on Month to Month Notices
The amount of written notice required to terminate a month-to-month lease agreement varies from state to state. In most states, both the landlord and tenant are required to give a 30-day notice to end a month-to-month lease.
Connecticut is one of the least restrictive states, with a landlord allowed to terminate a month-to-month lease with only three days’ notice. States such as Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina also have short lease termination notice periods of 15 days or less.
On the other hand, terminating a month-to-month lease can’t be done as quickly in states like Delaware and New York, where a notice of up to 90 days may be required. In the District of Columbia, a landlord must have “just cause” to terminate a month-to-month lease so long as the tenant is paying rent.
The legal resource website Nolo.com has compiled a list of state rules on the notice required to change or terminate a month-to-month tenancy.
How to Write a 30-Day Notice Letter
Ending a month-to-month lease begins with a good termination letter.
Here’s what to include in a 30-day notice letter, how the notice should be served, and online resources where you can find free lease termination letters:1. What to include in a 30-day notice letter
Your 30-day notice letter on a month to month lease should include basic information in case you need to move onto an eviction if the tenant refuses to leave:
- Tenant name and address
- Landlord name and address
- Property address
- Lease termination date
- Reason for lease termination (required in some states)
- Tenant responsibilities in vacating property
- Security deposit refund (less deduction for damages if allowed by state law)
- Date of notice
- Signature of landlord or property manager acting on behalf of the landlord
2. How to serve a 30-day notice
Even if you and your renters are on the best of terms, it’s important to serve the 30-day notice to the tenant so that you have proof the tenant received the notice.
You can hand-deliver the notice, but it’s also a good idea to send the notice by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. Let your tenant know that sending the certified notice is your standard business procedure so that they know what to expect.
3. Free lease termination letters
The following websites offer free lease termination letters for landlords and tenants:
- eForms has state-specific lease termination letters that are most commonly used to cancel a month-to-month lease agreement.
- LawDepot lets you create a lease notice that you can print and download instantly.
- LegalTemplates provides free lease termination letters for each state in PDF and Word.
- pdfFiller has a free generic fillable form you can review to learn the general format of a lease termination letter from landlord to tenant.
- Rentals.com offers 30-day notice templates in both PDF and Word Doc versions.
- RentPrep has a free 30-day notice to tenant sample template.
How to End a Month to Month Lease in Less Than 30 Days
Although in most cases you need to give the tenant a 30-day notice to terminate the lease, there are a couple of ways to end a month to month lease in less than 30 days:
1. Mutual agreement
The landlord and renters can mutually agree to terminate the lease early.
For example, if a landlord decides to sell the rental property and the tenant doesn’t like the idea of the home being shown, the tenant may agree to end the lease early and leave instead.
Or, the landlord could offer the tenant a cash-for-keys incentive by offering to pay for the tenant’s moving and relocation expenses in exchange for agreeing to end the month-to-month lease.
2. Tenant breach
If the tenant breaches the rental agreement by not performing – such as not paying the rent or conducting unlawful activity – the landlord can give the tenant a three-day notice to vacate the property.
Some notices like non-payment of rent are “curable” by the tenant, which means the tenant is no longer in breach of the lease if they pay the past due rent.
Other breaches are not curable, such as threatening the safety of other tenants or neighbors or dealing illegal drugs.
In cases like these, the tenant must vacate the property. If they do, the landlord is saved the time and expense of having to evict the tenant. However, if the tenant does not voluntarily vacate the property, a lawsuit must be filed to evict the tenant.
Improper notice by the landlord to end a month-to-month lease can have serious and potentially costly consequences, especially if the landlord has to evict. Before granting the landlord an eviction order, the court will determine if the landlord followed all applicable landlord-tenant laws and if the landlord gave the tenant proper notice.
In some states, the landlord must pay the tenant a relocation fee, even if both parties mutually agreed to break the lease.
To help you avoid running into problems, we’ve asked and answered some of the most frequently asked questions about giving a 30-day notice on a month to month lease:
Q: Do you have to give 30 days notice without a written lease?
In some states oral agreements to rent property month to month are permissible, but you should still give adequate notice if you want the tenant to vacate.
Q: Can you give a 30-day notice in the middle of the month?
You can give a 30-day notice in the middle of the month, but generally the 30 days don’t begin counting until the next rental due date. That means that if you give the 30-day notice on April 15th, the tenant will have until the end of May to move out.
Q: Do you have to give a 60-day notice with a month-to-month lease?
Most states require a 30-day notice to terminate a month-to-month lease. Some states, such as North Carolina, require only a seven-day notice, while other states like New York require a notice of up to 90 days, depending on the reason for ending the month-to-month lease.
Q: Can a landlord terminate a month-to-month lease without cause?
Yes, either the landlord or tenant can terminate a month-to-month lease agreement for any reason, provided that adequate notice is given.
Q: Can a landlord terminate a month-to-month lease during COVID?
Some cities and states have passed temporary rules prohibiting landlords from giving tenants termination notices or evicting tenants. EvictionLab.org is a website that lists the changing moratoriums because of the pandemic.
Q: Where can I find state landlord-tenant laws?