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Moving Out: Austin Tenants Council Tips for Renters

Eviction & Other Landlord Issues

What to do before you move out

Here, learn how to prepare for moving out of a residence you are leasing. Understand the importance of giving written notice, and the consequences of not giving notice. Review the lease to know your rights and responsibilities.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are summarized and reproduced from the website of the Austin Tenants Council. The Austin Tenants Council serves the Austin, Texas, area, but its website has useful information for all Texas residents. 

Giving Notice

Most lease agreements in Texas require written notice prior to the tenant moving out. This notice can be either from the tenant or the landlord. Even if the tenant does not want to leave, the landlord has the right to give notice to the tenant to move at the end of the lease. Just as a tenant does not need a reason when terminating a lease, a landlord does not need a reason either. This means a landlord has the right to renew or not to renew a lease contract. There are times when a landlord is prohibited from terminating a lease contract. The landlord may not retaliate against a tenant for requesting repairs by giving them a termination notice nor can the landlord discriminate against a tenant under the fair housing law.

Things Tenants Should Know Before Moving Out

Most lease contracts contain a provision that the lease will automatically renew itself on a month-to-month basis until a 30-day notice is given: Unless either the tenant or landlord gives a termination notice, the lease will continue to renew itself monthly.

When a tenant is under a monthly lease contract, all of the provisions in the original lease remain in force. Make sure to check your lease to see if written notice is required. Verbal notice may not be sufficient.

Not all lease contracts renew themselves on a month-to-month basis, and the tenant may be expected to move at the end of the lease term if a new lease is not signed.

Restrictions on Lease Termination Timing

A written lease may include restrictions on when the lease can be terminated. Some leases only allow for termination of the lease at the end of a calendar month. Thus, if 30-day notice is given on December 15, the lease will not terminate until January 31. In this scenario, the tenant would be expected to pay rent for the full month of January, regardless of when the tenant actually moves out. Read the lease carefully to ensure that proper notice is given.

What Information Goes in Your Lease Termination Notice

When giving written notice, it should include the rental address, the date the lease ends, the intended move-out date, and a forwarding address for the purpose of receiving a security deposit. The letter should be delivered in the presence of a witness or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.

As with all written documentation, keep a copy of the letter.

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