- Tenant to Landlord (End of Lease) [.pdf] – no prior notice is required in Washington D.C. at the end of a fixed-term lease, but it is recommended to send the landlord a letter.
- Tenant to Landlord (Month-to-Month) [.pdf] – notice is required at least 30 days prior to the end of a rental month in Washington D.C. for month-to-month leases or “at will” tenants that pay rent month-to-month.
- Landlord to Tenant (End of Lease) [.pdf] – no prior notice is required in Washington D.C. at the end of a fixed-term lease, but it is recommended to send the tenant a letter.
- Landlord to Tenant (Month-to-Month) [.pdf] – notice is required at least 30 days prior end of a rental month in Washington D.C. for month-to-month leases or “at will” tenants that pay rent month-to-month.
Purpose. A Washington D.C. lease termination letter (“Notice to Vacate”) is a required document to end month-to-month lease agreements in Washington. State law requires giving at least 30 days’ notice for termination. However, state law does not require notice to be given to end fixed term lease agreements on their end date.
Read further to learn more about notice requirements and the residential lease termination process in Washington D.C.
What is a Residential Lease Termination Notice?
Tenants do not always comply with the terms of their lease. In instances where individuals fail to pay rent or violate other provisions, you may wish to terminate the lease early. In Washington D.C., this is done by providing a Lease Termination Notice in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the state statutes.
A lease termination notice might also be necessary if the original contract has expired, and tenants are occupying the property on a month-to-month basis. This requires a somewhat different procedure than in cases where renters have violated their lease. As such, you should keep in mind the exact circumstances when writing a Lease Termination Notice.
Monthly or Month-to-Month Lease
Monthly leases are designed to be very short-term ones that can easily be terminated by either the landlord or tenant. Month-to-month leases are those in which the original lease term has expired, and tenants have not signed a new one. In that case, the provisions of your original lease should dictate that the tenancy will be held on a “month-to-month” basis and may be terminated at any time by providing sufficient notice.
Timeline for Terminating a Monthly or Month-to-Month Lease
The required notice period for terminating periodic leases or leases without a definite term is 30 days from the end of a period of tenancy. If the rent is from month-to-month, the 30-day Notice of Termination must be given 30 days before the end of the “rental month.”
Legally Terminating a Lease Early
Here are the reasons that a tenant may legally terminate a lease early:
- Inhabitable Premises: Violations of the Washington Health or Safety Codes (DCMR 14-6)
- Privacy Violation: If a landlord violates a tenant’s privacy rights by entering the premises without proper notice or harasses a tenant (District of Columbia Rev. Stat. § 42-3505.51)
- Domestic Violence: If a tenant is the victim of domestic violence (District of Columbia Rev. Stat. §§ 42-3505.07)
- Military Service: If a tenant must relocate due to being called for active military duty (Federal law: War and National Defense Service Members Civil Relief Act, 50 App. U.S.C.A. section 501). The tenancy will terminate 30 days after the date that rent is due next.