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Steps to Ending a Lease With Your Tenant

Posted: February 09, 2022

If you are a landlord, there are many reasons why you may want to end a lease with a renter as the end of the term approaches. If you want to do so, it is important that you take certain steps in order to make certain you are better able to legally protect yourself. You'll also want to do so in a way that provides your renter enough time to secure other housing so that you part on good terms.

Reasons Why Landlords Sometimes Want to End Leases

Besides a tenant who violates the terms of their lease, there are other situations that may arise that make you wish to choose nonrenewal at the end of a lease. In some cases, a landlord may want to complete significant renovations and updates to improve the value of the home. They may also want to place the house on the market free from a tenancy so that a purchasing family can move into it. In other cases, a landlord may have fallen behind on their home mortgage payments for the rental property and have a need to make certain it is empty due to an impending foreclosure or short sale. Whatever the reason may be, it is important to clearly communicate your intention to terminate the lease when it expires with your tenant well in advance of that date.

Ways to Legally Protect Yourself When Not Renewing a Lease

Before a lease ever begins, it is important that you have a move-in checklist for the renter to complete with you while you do the initial walkthrough. It may also be smart for you to have date-stamped photographs or video clearly showing the condition of the property before the tenancy begins. If the lessee later does damage when you terminate the lease, you can use both the move-in and move-out checklists along with your video and photographic evidence to support your withholding a sufficient amount from their security deposit to complete needed repairs.

Most states also require landlords to provide lessees with written notice or move out letter to the tenant letting them know that you do not intend to renew their leases when they expire. While some states only require a 30-day notice, others require 60 days. Even if you are in a state that requires just a 30-day notice, it's still a good idea to give your renter at least 60 days of notice that you will not be renewing the lease. This notice should always be in letter form, and it may also be smart to mail it by certified mail. This will give them more time to find other housing and reduce the chance they will stay after the lease ends. It is also a good idea to provide letters of reference and let your lessee know that you will be happy to provide a rental reference for them.

Taking the proper steps to make certain that you are legally protected when you want to terminate a lease with your lessee is smart. Doing so can help you to prevent a host of problems and a potential need to go through a court eviction procedure for a holdover tenant.