To end a month-to-month tenancy, you must give your landlord written notice before you move. If you do not, you will be responsible for another month's rent after you are gone. As soon as you make firm plans to move, give your landlord a written, 30-day notice of your intention to move. It does not matter what date your rent is due. Give the notice immediately to start the 30-day period running. Even if the 30-day period extends into the next month, you will only be responsible for rent for the days covered by the notice.
Prepare the 30-day notice in letter form. It should take no more than half of a standard letter-size page.
Address the 30-day notice to the landlord at the address specified in your rental agreement for giving notice. Although you may not recall reading this provision when you signed the agreement, nearly all rental agreements will have such a provision. If you do not have a written rental agreement, use the address where you have been paying your rent.
Date the notice with the date you intend to give it to your landlord and calculate 30-days from that date as your move-out date. If you intend to mail the notice, add 5 days to your calculations because mail is presumed received on the fifth day after mailing.
State in the body of your notice that this is your 30-day notice of your intention to vacate the premises and specify the date you calculated as your move-out date.
Sign the notice. This should be done by all persons who have signed the rental agreement and those who have been paying rent to the landlord, even if they did not sign the rental agreement. Make a copy for your records.
Hand-deliver the notice to your landlord or send it by certified mail, return receipt requested.
Keep your landlord informed of your progress in moving out. This is especially true if you encounter problems that will delay your move out. Most landlords will work with you regarding an extension of your move-out date, so long as you are making progress in moving out.
In California, you have the right to request an initial inspection by the landlord before the end of the tenancy to have the landlord identify defects or conditions that justify deductions from your security deposit. You can include this request in your 30-day notice of intention to vacate. Special rules may apply if you live in government-assisted housing or your apartment is rent-controlled. You should contact your local housing officials to find out if additional rules apply to your situation.
In some states, such as Texas, even if you surrender the premises by the scheduled termination date (e.g., 1-year lease), the agreement may still require a 30-day notice of your intention to vacate on the termination date. Failure to do so could make you liable for an additional month's rent.