1. If you want to move out, you must give notice.
- If your rental agreement says how much notice you must give and how you must give it, you must do what the agreement says.
- The notice must be in writing. Keep a copy for yourself. Mail or hand deliver the notice to your landlord. 9 V.S.A. § 4451(1).
- If your rental agreement doesn’t cover how long the tenancy is, or how much notice you have to give before you move out, the Residential Rental Agreements Act (RRAA) says you have to give a full rental period’s notice. 9 V.S.A. § 4456(d).This means you must give the landlord the same amount of notice as there are days between rent payments. So, if you pay rent monthly, you must give your landlord notice at least one month before you move. If you pay rent every week, you must give the landlord notice at least seven days before you move.
- If the landlord has given you a 60 day notice to end the tenancy but you want to leave sooner, you need to give notice one rental payment period in advance.
- Even if your rental agreement says that your tenancy ends on a particular date, you should give written notice anyway. Always keep a copy for yourself.
2. Move out before the end of the month.
The reason you give written notice of your move out date is so you do not have to be legally responsible for paying another month’s rent. That is why you have to give notice a month in advance, and move out before the last day of the month. If you are still there on the first day of the next month, the landlord could say you are responsible to pay rent for the entire next month.
No matter who gives notice, you owe rent for the last month you live there, even if you don’t stay until the end of the month.
3. Are you responsible for rent until the end of the lease term?
If it is your choice to leave, and your rental agreement is for a period of time, and it does not cover you leaving earlier, you have agreed to be responsible for the rent for all those months. Some possible exceptions:
- If the landlord fails to keep your unit safe, clean and fit for human habitation, you may be able to move out sooner and not be responsible for rent. 9 V.S.A. § 4458. See our page about repairs.
- If you moved in with a roommate, both of you are responsible for the rent until the end of the lease term. See our Roommates, Guests and Sublettors page.
- If you decided to have a roommate or sublettor move in later, you may be responsible for the rent until the end of the lease. You may have a special situation that makes it so you can’t stay in your unit for the whole time in the rental agreement. For example, you may become disabled and be unable to access your apartment, a member of your household dies, or you are a victim of stalking. Contact a lawyer to discuss your options. Contact us at Legal Services Vermont and Vemont Legal Aid. Fill out our form and someone will call you back. Or call 1-800-889-2047.
If you have to move during the term of your written rental agreement, tell your landlord. Your landlord is legally responsible to “mitigate” or reduce your rent obligation by re-renting as quickly as possible.