Why Would My Landlord Send Me A Certified Letter? (Find Out Now!)

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

When you receive a letter from your landlord certified mail you may automatically think the worst. Certified mail can mean the start of the eviction process, sure. However, there are a variety of reasons a landlord may want to use this USPS service to send you information.

Your landlord may send you a certified letter for many official reasons. It is common to send any letter to vacate via certified mail. You may receive a notice to renew your lease or a rent increase letter through certified mail. When your landlord needs to enter your home for any reason he or she may inform you using certified mail as well.

Certified Letters And What To Do With Them

What “Certified” Means

Certified mail is a type of mail service where the sender receives an official receipt confirming the mail was sent. When the mail is delivered the mail carrier requires a signature from the recipient. This provides documentation that the mail was sent and received.

Where To Go To Send Certified Mail

Certified mail can be sent from any United States Postal Service location. You can send a letter or package with the certified mail service.

What To Do When You Send

Tell the postal worker you are sending something certified mail. Once processed, they will provide you with an official receipt showing the mail was sent. Save this official receipt for your records.

What To Do When You Receive

If you receive a piece of certified mail, you will be asked to sign for the mail in order to receive it. This signature will stay in the USPS database.

Notice To Vacate

One of the more serious reasons a landlord will send you a certified letter is a notice to vacate. There are several types of vacate notices they may send.

Pay Or Quit

Your landlord may send you certified mail with a “Pay or Quit” notice inside. A pay or quit notice is a letter the landlord will send a tenant when they are late with rent payment and have exceeded any grace period that is offered.

This letter will normally include the date, the amount of money due, and when the money must be received. The letter will likely also lay out the exact verbiage from your rental agreement. There will also be an offer to move out if the payment is not delivered by the date. This is usually the first step in the eviction process.

Tip: Check your state laws to confirm how much time you have to pay your rent before you can be removed from your dwelling.

Cure Or Quit

Another type of vacate notice your landlord may send you via certified letter is a “Cure or Quit” notice. In this letter your landlord is giving you a deadline to change an issue that violates your lease terms.

Some examples of lease violations include having a pet, installing a washing machine or bringing in an additional roommate. Sometimes these actions are allowed. If they are forbidden in the lease, however, your landlord has the right to ask you to remove them or face eviction.

This type of notice is similar to a pay or quit notice in its formatting normally. Your landlord will likely quote the lease. He may also provide proof of the violation. The landlord will give you the date you are expected to “cure” the situation.

Unconditional Quit Notice

The third, and most extreme form of vacate notice you may receive from your landlord is an “Unconditional Quit” notice. In this type of vacate notice the tenant is not given the option to fix a problem or stay.

An unconditional quit notice is An unconditional vacate notice is not allowed in all states. It is also much less common than the other two types of vacate notice due to the drastic nature. This type of notice is given due to the extreme and harsh nature of the offense. Illegal activity on the property and extreme property damage are two examples of why a landlord would send this type of notice.

There are very strict rules in regards to when this type of notice can be sent. If you receive one, be sure your landlord is within his rights to request you to move out.

Notice Of Entry Or Outage

Sometimes your landlord is not sending a letter to get you to lease the property. In fact, your landlord may be sending you a letter for the opposite reason – he or she wishes to enter your dwelling. Although laws vary from state to state, a landlord must provide “ample” notice before entering your dwelling you rent. Your landlord may also need to inform you of intrusive but unavoidable renovations.

Repairs And Renovations

Repairs are inevitable. No home stays perfect forever. When a landlord needs to perform necessary maintenance or repairs on your home he must legally inform you with proper notice.

Your landlord will often choose to send you this information via certified mail in order to ensure he has proof that he or she gave you notice.


From time to time your home or apartment may experience planned and necessary outages. These outages may affect your ability to use some essential utilities in your home. If these outages are more than a brief stint, or if they impact the normal habitability of your dwelling your landlord will want to let you know.

Your landlord may send a certified letter to inform you of these notices in order to limit liability and to give you ample time to prepare for these inconvenient events.

Notice Of Entry

Your landlord may need to enter your apartment for reasons other than repairs and renovations also. If you are moving out, your landlord may want to show your apartment to prospective tenants. Your landlord may also be getting the house appraised, or need to inspect the interior in order to see if he or she should make repairs.

Your landlord is required by law to send a letter with ample notice to inform you he or she needs to enter the apartment for one of these reasons. Certified mail ensures the landlord you have received this notice and are aware of the upcoming visit.

Letters About The Lease

Notice To Renew Lease

Your landlord may send you a certified letter to renew your lease. Some leases will auto renew, but others do not. Your landlord should send this lease renewal at least 60 days before your current lease expires.

Be sure to read the letter carefully. It may include important information including when the landlord must be notified if you intend on moving out.

Notice of Non-Renewal

When your landlord decides to not renew your lease you may also receive a letter via certified mail. This letter should state when the lease expires. It may also detail how and when you are expected to vacate.

Note: The amount of notice a landlord must give when not renewing a lease varies. Check your local laws to confirm your landlord has given you enough time by law.

Change Of Lease

There is also a chance your landlord will offer to renew your lease, but with some changes. The changes should be detailed in a letter, but be sure to review the new document. Compare it to your current lease to understand what changed. Often, what changes is the rent.

Increase Rent

Rent increases normally occur when a lease is renewed. If your rent is going to increase your landlord must send a notification within a law-provided timeframe.

This letter will likely include the current rent price and the future rent price. The effective date will also appear on the letter.

Transfer Of Ownership

You may also receive a certified letter from your landlord if the property you rent has changed owners. The lease should still be honored by law, unless there are terms that the lease can end early if the property is sold. This letter may serve as an introduction to the new landlord. It can vary in its details, as new owners have different intentions with the properties they purchase.

Related Questions

Is Certified Mail Expensive?

Certified mail, purchased through the USPS is an affordable option when you need to have confirmed receipt of an important document. Sending something certified mail costs less than four dollars. You can also request to add a return receipt for an additional small cost.This is certainly more expensive than a stamp. Still, it may save you lots of headaches and money in the future if you need confirmation of delivery.

What Happens If I Refuse To Sign For Certified Mail?

If you refuse to sign for certified mail, the postal carrier will then log the mail as “delivery refused.” This means that the sender is aware that you refused to accept the item. It is normally not beneficial to refuse a certified letter. Often a certified letter that is returned will then be delivered through normal mail and considered delivered.

What Do I do If My Certified Mail Is Lost?

Be sure you keep all the receipts and documents associated with your certified letter. If the letter or package is lost, you may need the label ID number. If you notice your certified mail has not been delivered and there is no update be sure to contact the post office. They will get you in contact with someone so you can receive updates on the mail in question.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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