What is the correct way to terminate a month-to-month tenancy?

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What is the correct way to terminate a month-to-month tenancy?

I’m renting a room in my house on a month-to-month basis and am reviewing the rental agreement. I found a boiler plate template which is worded as follows (with some revision by me); “This agreement may be altered or terminated upon 30 day’s written notice. Tenant will give 30 days notice in writing before moving and will be responsible for paying rent through the end of this notice period or until another tenant approved by the Owners has moved in, whichever comes first. If Tenant abandons the premises before the end of the notice period, or without notice, he/she will be responsible for paying rent through then end of 30 days or until a suitable new tenant is found.” I notice most rental agreements call for 30 days’ notice but read somewhere it should be “at least 20 days before the end of the rental period.” Which is correct—20 days or 30, or does it matter– and what constitutes the “end of the rental period” – the end of the month, or the end of the 20/30 days after the tenant (or owner) gives notice? (I would prefer to keep it at simply 30 days).

Asked on July 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The notice to vacate should be for a minimum of 30 days from the date that the next rental payment is due (you can always give more notice if you so choose). Be aware that the notice must/should include: the date of the notice, the amount of time a tenant has to vacate the property; the name of the tenant(s) and other persons who must to vacate the property; address of rental property; signature of the landlord or property manager giving the notice; and proof that notice was given.

As for serving the notice, it is better for you to have an independent party take 2 copies of the notice to vacate, give one to the tenant, and get their signature on second copy so that you can retain it for your records. If you are mailing the notice to, you should send it certified mail, return receipt requested.

Note: Other methods of service may apply. Also, fot beach of the lease (non-payment) less notice may be given.


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