Communicating with your landlord

Need help speaking with your landlord or neighbor? We can help.
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Communicate with your landlord or neighbors FAQs

Carefully communicating with your landlord and neighbors can greatly help improve your living situation. In many cases, a polite conversation can stop problems from escalating and clear up misunderstandings.

How do I tell my landlord I want to move?

If you do not have an active lease because the lease has expired or you have a month-to-month tenancy agreement, moving is simple. You'll just need to give your landlord a Notice of Intent to Move. In most cases, providing a 30-day notice is adequate.

If you have a lease, it may be more difficult. First you should review your lease agreement to see if it says anything about how to end the lease or if it mentions subletting. You may have a few options, first your landlord may let you out of the lease. Second, your landlord may allow you to find another renter to replace you. Third, you may be able to sublease your home until the lease is satisfied. Lastly, you may just have to pay the rest of your lease or a portion of it. In some states you may be able to legally get out of your lease due to an illness. If you are in the military and are deployed or required to move, you should be able to quit your lease without penalties.

Need help getting out of your lease? Ask a lawyer.

What can I do about noisy neighbors?

Dealing with noisy, annoying neighbors can range from having a polite conversation to ending up in court. Of course, it is best to start with a polite conversation. Before you approach your neighbor, review the terms of your lease and research the local noise ordinance restrictions. You'll want to determine whether your neighbor is actually violating an agreement or the law or if they are just simply annoying. After you understand the lease and local laws, have a calm conversation with them regarding your concerns. Propose a solution if you can. If this doesn't work or if they become agitated, talk to your landlord. If issues persist and they are breaking the law, such as loud music in the middle of the night, call the police. Sometimes you'll never get the issue solved and you'll need to talk to your landlord about getting out of your lease. If your landlord doesn't want to let you out of your lease, you can consult with a lawyer to learn what your best next steps might be. In case you end up in court, keep diligent records of all conversations you have regarding the subject including dates, times and who you talked to.

What should I do if I can't pay rent on time?

In many areas, your landlord can serve you a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit as soon as you are late paying rent. If you do not pay, they can start the legal eviction process to have you removed from the property. It is best if you can try to fix the problem as quickly as you can and before the legal eviction process begins. Contact your landlord as soon as you know you cannot pay and try to negotiate a payment agreement. Make sure its an agreement you can stick to and get the agreement in writing. Be honest with your landlord. Let them know what is going on and why you cannot meet your rent obligation. If you lost your job, let them know when you expect unemployment benefits to begin. If there is no way that you can catch up with your rent, talk to them about how to reasonably get out of your lease.

What can I do if a neighbor is encroaching onto my property?

Things that might be considered an encroachment include a neighbor's tree or vines growing into your property, a neighbor pouring concrete over your part of a driveway partition, an old fence leaning into your yard, and so on. It is likely annoying and perhaps unsightly, but what you can you do? If you are having a boundary dispute with your neighbor, the first thing you need to do is find out what the actual legal boundary is. Second, is to calmly talk to them about the situation. In many cases, this is all it takes to come to a resolution. Keep record of your conversations for your lawyer in case you end up in litigation later. If polite conversation does not work, your lawyer can help you with your next best steps.

Do I have to ask my landlord to sublease or move in a roommate?

Yes, to maintain good relations with your landlord and to avoid possible lease violations, you should discuss these situations with your landlord. You should also review your original lease to see if it mentions these situations. Most leases will mention whether subletting is allowed. Talk to your landlord well before you let anyone move into your rental. Understand also that if your landlord does allow it, the new tenants will most likely have to pass a background and credit check just like any other rental applicant.