You’ve received orders and now it’s time to start the PCS process. It’s important that you provide proper notification to your current landlord to avoid potential legal issues in exiting your lease. Whether you live on or off base, it’s important to understand your lease termination provisions to make the transition out of your current home an easy one!
Failing to provide adequate notice could result in the loss of your deposit and additional unexpected expenses. One key factor is the amount of advanced notice you receive to plan your PCS. Unfortunately, many times military families don’t have the luxury of advanced notice for planning. Below are some tips to follow when providing notice to your current landlord. When you plan your PCS, create room in your budget to pay for the full last month you are in the home.
Start with Your Current Lease
When’s the last time you looked at your current lease? If you’re like the majority of people it’s the same day that you signed it! Once you know you will be PCSing, take time to carefully review your lease agreement for specific terms regarding giving notice. If you have a good idea of your move timeline and have a good relationship with your property manager, you can give your landlord a heads up that you expect to be leaving. However, it’s important to emphasize that you do not have a confirmed timeline yet. Also remember that this verbal “heads up” communication typically does not serve as official notice to terminate a lease agreement. Early communication can be especially helpful if you plan to move shortly after your lease ends – property managers may be willing to arrange a month-to-month addendum to cover the overlap.
Know the law
Each State has specific laws regarding rental lease contracts. Don’t assume that laws in your current State are the same as those in your previous PCS. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) contains provisions for military members moving due to orders. However, you will need a copy of your orders and are still required to communicate with your landlord according to your contract and local regulations.
Put It In Writing
Once you have a reasonably firm move date, put your notice in writing – preferably with a computer to eliminate any questions arising from difficult to read hand writing.
Send your notice via certified mail with return receipt required (be sure to you check your lease/contract for specific notice/address requirements). The last thing you want is for your landlord to say you didn’t give appropriate notice. Most landlords are great, but you want to always cover your tracks and protect yourself.
Even after you have moved, keep a file with important documents including a copy of your lease, your notice to end the lease, and a copy of your move out inspection. You want to be sure that you have proper documentation just in case any issues arise with the return of your security deposit.
Learn About SCRA
Review the SCRA laws so that you are familiar with your rights and responsibilities. Be sure lease agreements either acknowledge the SCRA.
Not sure how to word your notice? Here’s a sample to get you started. Remember to include any specific terms mentioned in your lease.
Attention: Your Landlord’s Name/Property Management Company
Your Landlord’s Address
Please accept this written notification that I will be vacating my residence at the address provided below effective MM/DD/YYYY.
(Re-type your address here.)
This notice satisfies the required notice of XX days which was stipulated on my original rental agreement. I will deliver all keys for the property to the business office on or before the date indicated above. I am available to perform a move out inspection from dates your home will be cleared, cleaned and you will still be in the area. I have included a copy of my official orders for your records.
Any refundable deposits owed and follow up correspondence can be sent to:
(Enter your new address or a permanent address here.)
Your New Address
City, State and ZIP Code
Please feel free to contact me by phone if you have any questions at (enter a phone number where your landlord can reach you).
Your Name (typed)