Leaving Your Rental
If you decide to move out of your rental, itís necessary to give your property owner adequate notice. If you are moving out at the end of your lease period, you probably donít have to provide written notice, although you should consult your lease agreement to be sure. Some leases have a provision for automatic renewal if no written notice is given. This would obligate you to an extended term if you donít properly terminate your lease.
If you wish to leave before the end of your lease, be aware that you are responsible for paying rent for the rest of the lease. However, your property owner must make an effort to re-rent the unit at a reasonable price. If this is not done, you may not be liable for rent beyond a reasonable period of time.
You may be thinking, ďIíll just sub-lease my placeóthen I wonít be responsible for the rent anymore.Ē While thatís a resourceful idea, some landlords do not allow sub-leases. Check your lease for the details of your particular agreement.
If you are renting month-to-month, you must give your property owner notice 20 days prior to the last day of the rental period. Postmarked by 20 days prior doesnít countóyour property owner must RECEIVE the notice by 20 days prior. If the month prior has 30 days (April, June, September, and November), then your notice must be received no later than the 10th day of that month. If the month prior has 31 days (January, March, May, July, August, October, and December), then your notice must be received no later than the 11th day of that month. Remember that February has only 28 days, which means your notice would be due on February 8th (except during a leap year). Your property owner canít require you to give more than 20 days notice.
Leaving your rental without giving your property owner proper notice is illegal! The law says the tenant is liable for rent for the lesser of 30 days from the day the next rent is due or 30 days from the day the property owner learns the tenant has moved out. However, the property owner still has a duty to try and find a new renter. If the dwelling is rented before the end of the 30 days, the former tenant must pay only until the new tenant begins paying rent.
You can also seek free legal advice through the Legal Assistance by Whatcom Advocates (LAW) Program