Taking Back Your Month-to-Month Unit? No Short Cuts!
May 15, 2013
By Tracey March
When you need to terminate a month-to-month lease, it’s important that you give “proper notice.” If you don’t, your tenants won’t be obligated to leave by the date that you want them to, so make sure you get it right the first time by doing things exactly the way you’re required to.
State law (and sometimes city law) dictates how much notice is required and other details of the termination. For example, in Washington state where I practiced law, landlords must give a month-to-month tenant at least twenty-days notice before the end of the rental period. So, in Washington, if your rental period ends on the last day of the month, you have to give your tenant notice no later than the 10th day of that month (if it’s a thirty day month).
Because a lot hinges on you giving the appropriate notice by a certain date, in addition to the specific service requirements set forth in your state statute, consider also mailing the notice to terminate by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof that notice was given on a specific date. You can pick up a small stack of the certified mail forms at the post office and keep them on hand for when you need them, which will save you an extra trip to the post office.
Finally, make sure that you never terminate a tenancy in retaliation against a tenant asserting legal rights or in violation of fair housing laws. And also be aware that in some states and cities, even if your tenant is on a month-to-month lease, you must have “just cause” to terminate the tenancy.
As always, the information provided here is just that–it is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have any particular questions or issues, please consult an attorney.