It’s the one thing every tenant dreads – your landlord has chosen not to renew your lease. How do you proceed from here? What do you need to know? We’ve put together four questions and answers regarding the lease termination process to help you better understand your position and make the best decisions for you.
What happens if my landlord does not renew my lease?
Your landlord choosing not to renew your lease can have several different outcomes, and the sooner you know what will happen after the end of the lease the better you can prepare yourself. You may become a monthly renter when the lease ends, you could be presented with a new lease agreement with different terms to your last one, or you may be need to vacate the property. As a tenant, it is best to give yourself at least a month prior to the end of your current lease to understand how you will be proceeding when your lease ends. It is both your responsibility and in your best interest to check with your landlord how they would like to proceed when the current lease expires.
Does a landlord need a reason for not renewing my lease?
Landlords do not generally need to give a reason for not renewing a lease with a tenant. A lease is a contract between the landlord and tenant for a specified amount of time, and neither party obligated to renew this contract when that timeframe expires. There are a few exceptions, however: if you suspect that your lease was not renewed due to discrimination against a protected class or if you suspect that it was not renewed as a retaliatory eviction (a landlord seeking to evict a tenant for trying to exercise their legal tenant rights). Note that these circumstances may be difficult to prove in court, and will likely not change the immediate outcome for you if your landlord chooses not to renew the lease. If you suspect that you have been a victim of retaliatory eviction or discrimination, consult with an attorney in your state.
When will I know whether my landlord is renewing my lease or not?
Your lease agreement will likely have a clause that stipulates when your landlord will notify you if they choose not to renew the lease, and when you must notify your landlord if you choose to vacate the property. Furthermore, there will be different legal requirements that dictate the amount of time your landlord must give you in advance prior the expiration of your lease. For most states and counties with a legally mandated timeframe, your landlord will be required to notify you either 30 or 60 days prior to expiration of the lease. Laws vary depending on where you are in the country, so be sure to check your local laws and know your rights well before the end of your lease.
What should I do if my landlord has chosen not to renew my lease?
If your landlord chooses not to renew your lease, make sure that you are clear on what your options are. If you would like to remain in your apartment and have been on good terms with your landlord, ask them why they are choosing not to renew your lease. While they are not required to tell you the reason why they are not renewing your lease, most landlords will be happy to do so regardless. If the reason is that the property is being sold, you can request the buyer’s information from your landlord to see if a new lease arrangement can be negotiated with the future owner. If the lease is not being renewed due to renovation, you may be able discuss a new lease with your landlord once the property has been renovated. If you find yourself in a position where you must vacate the property, start hunting for a new place as soon as possible, and begin packing your things as quickly as you can. The more prepared you are for a move, the easier it will be to move out of the property on time.