Second Letter

Moving out and ending your lease early

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If a landlord does not respond on time to your first letter, you may want to end your lease early and move out entirely. There is a specific timeline you must follow to end your lease legally.

What do I have to do before moving out?

You should make sure you have already told your landlord about the issue in writing. If you haven't sent a first letter to your landlord, you can use our free tool to send your first letter.

How do I know if my landlord is not responding correctly?

Once your landlord receives your first letter about a rental issue, they are required to:

    1. Respond within 24 hours with:

  • A plan for resolving the issue
  • An estimate of when the work will start
  • An estimate of when the work will be finished

    2. Start fixing the issue within 96 hours (or 24 hours if it’s an emergency issue)

    3. Finish fixing the issue quickly and without unnecessary delay

If your landlord is not responding on time, you need to send a second letter to your landlord, giving them one last opportunity to fix the issue themselves. Before you can end your lease and move out, you must tell your landlord your plan by sending them a letter.

How to Send a Letter

Landlords can require in the lease that renters communicate with them in a specific way. They may ask renters to use a website, online “portal”, email, or text message.

  1. Check the lease. If a lease says renters must communicate in a specific way, you should use that method.
  2. If the landlord does not specify in the lease, you should communicate the way you have in the past.
  3. If you have not communicated with your landlord in the past, you can send your letter
  • In an e-mail
  • With certified mail or USPS first class
  • Hand-deliver the letter to the landlord or property manager’s business office

What's next?

Once a landlord receives this second letter, they are required to fix the issue within 5 business days. This second letter  tells your landlord that you plan to end your lease early and move out in the next 10 to 30 days unless they start fixing the issue within 5 business days. If your landlord starts fixing the issue within 5 business days you can NOT end your lease early. If your landlord does not start fixing the issue within 5 business days, you can move out and end your lease on the date you said you would in this second letter. It's a good idea to send a third letter to your landlord, reminding them that you will be moving out like you said you would. You can use our free tool to create your third letter.

If you're not sure, use our Next Step Guide to help figure out if your landlord is on track and what your next step is.