Rarely are you ever required to notify a landlord that you intend to move – this would only be found in lease agreements that have automatic renewal clauses should you fail to notify the landlord of your intention to vacate. Usually, the landlord will be sending you a notice reminding you that your lease will be expiring soon with further instructions regarding renewing it, etc. However, as a courtesy and to comply with those few cities and states that require notice to be given, it’s always best to give as much advance notice as possible (at least 30 days, but preferably 60 days). Maintaining your relationship with your landlord is especially vital toward the end because (1) you never know if you’ll need them as a reference and (2) you want every penny of your security deposit returned to you.
Landlords appreciate being notified at least 30 days in advance – so they can begin to advertise the upcoming vacancy. At this point, it’s also a nice gesture on your part to practically encourage your landlord to show the unit during the last month of your stay. Obviously, these showings should be scheduled in advance and occur during reasonable hours – but offering this opportunity (even when it’s not written into your lease agreement) just adds a little extra seasoning to the “goodwill” flavor, with hopes that the landlord will reciprocate.
When it comes time to notify your landlord of your intention to move, a phone call or a face-to-face conversation will usually be sufficient – unless you deem it necessary to follow it up with a friendly letter. Don’t use this time to vent about any current or previous issues you may have had with the landlord, neighbors or the unit. Only after you’ve finally moved on and in to another place to live should you even consider expressing your opinion. This may appear to go against the grain of your beliefs, but part of the landlord-tenant relationship includes the subtle use of manipulation. Unless you’re seeking an immediate change to the current events at hand, there is no point to ruffle any feathers until you are free and clear.
By the way, the same advice is given to landlords as well. They, too, should not in any way be confrontational with a tenant – if for no other reason than to preserve the condition of the unit from suddenly overflowing toilets and sinks from clogged drains or loose gaskets.