Moving Out


When you are planning to move from your house or apartment, there are several things you should do to protect yourself. The steps you should take depend on the terms of your agreement with your landlord.

If you have a lease

If you have lease for more than a month at a time, you have agreed to pay rent until the end of the lease, unless you and the landlord agree that you can move earlier.  Unless you have agreed to do so in the lease, you do not have to notify the landlord if you move when the lease is up. In some cases, you can break your lease and move before the lease expires, but unless the landlord agrees, you should talk to a lawyer first.  If you do not follow the rules exactly, you could end up owing for the rest of the lease.  It is a good idea to give some type of notice when you are moving so that you prevent any misunderstandings with your landlord.

If you do not have a lease

If you do not have a lease or if you have not moved after a written lease has expired, the law says that you have a “month-to-month” agreement.  You can move at the end of any month, but you must give notice.  With a month-to-month agreement, you should give your landlord a written notice at least 30 days before the date you want to leave. For example, if you want to move at the end of May, you should give your landlord a written notice at the end of April.   If you do not have a lease, the landlord can also end the lease if he gives you a written notice at least 30 days before the date he wants you to move out.  He can give this notice to you personally,  or to a family member over the age of 12 living with you.  If the landlord is unable to  serve you or a family member personally, he can post the notice in a conspicuous place in your dwelling place and then must sent the notice to you certified mail.

The notice should tell the landlord that you are moving and that you want your security deposit back. You should include an address where the landlord can mail your security deposit. Such a notice might look something like this:

March 30, 2018

Mr. John Q. Landlord:


I have been renting from you at (put the address at the place you rented). I will be moving from this apartment/house on or before April 30th, 2018. Please return my security deposit to:


Jane Doe

1111 W. 111thSt.

Tulsa, OK   74111.    


Please direct all correspondence to that address also. Thank you.

Signed: [Jane Doe]


Make a copy of the notice and save the copy.

Deliver the notice to the landlord in person. If that is not possible, send the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery.
Be sure to save the certified mail receipt.

Security Deposit

Unless your landlord agrees, you are not entitled to get your security deposit before you move. The landlord has a right to inspect your place for damages after you move. The landlord must send you a written list of repairs and their costs, or return your deposit to you within 45 days after you move. If the landlord does not return the deposit, you can take your case to Small Claims Court or mediation. See Legal Aid’s pamphlet on “How to Recover Your Security Deposit” for additional information.  You should consider asking the landlord to inspect your home with you when you move. The two of you can make a list of damages. The landlord might be satisfied and return your deposit immediately.

Last Review and Update: Jul 13, 2017
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