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How to End a Lease

Posted: February 09, 2022

Confusion is not uncommon for both tenants and property owners when it comes to issues associated with ending a lease. Leasing contracts cover rental periods between a specific starting and ending point, and typically require tenants to provide either verbal or written notice if they intend to vacate upon the conclusion of a lease. While the amount of notice required may vary from one rental lease to the next, notice of non-renewal is typically required to be furnished between 30 to 90 days in advance. Some leasing contracts are designed to allow tenants to remain on a month-to-month basis after the end of a lease while others require a new leasing agreement to be created.

After the Residency Has Been Vacated

The landlord or property manager will typically perform an inspection of the premises once the tenant has vacated in order to assess any damages and conduct repairs. Any remaining cleaning and security deposit is typically refunded once the tenant has vacated. The exact time-frame for refunding deposits may vary based on state leasing laws and different leasing terms, but most refunds are typically issued between 30 to 45 days after vacancy.

Early Termination, Subletting and Lease Amendments

Tenants who will not be able to stay through the end of their lease may be able to negotiate an early release from their rental agreement, provided their landlord or property manager is willing. Finding a new tenant to take over an existing lease may also be an option depending on rental policies and leasing terms. Other issues, such as enrolling in military service, are covered by law and allow tenants to move before the end of their lease without being required to pay additional fines or penalties.

Evicting a Tenant

A property manager or landlords may be required to evict a tenant, either due to non-payment or violating other terms of the lease agreement. The eviction process differs considerably from one state to the next, and both tenants and landlords would be wise to familiarize themselves with local leasing laws and the eviction process before taking any action. Most eviction processes typically require the property owner or landlord to issue written notice, provide tenants with a set amount of time to either address payment issues and/or vacate the residency. Many lease contracts detail specific circumstances that may result in eviction as well as any additional costs or fees that evicted tenants may be financial responsible for.