A key to keeping rental vacancies low is to find (and keep) good tenants. However, things might not always work out between you and your tenant. It could be that your circumstances have changed, or you need to do some major repairs. In such cases, one of the best ways to end your current lease is through non-renewal. What follows is a discussion of the non-renewal process and some important things you need to know to handle it properly.
Non-Renewal Vs Eviction
It is important to remember that non-renewal and eviction are two different things. Eviction is the legal process through which a landlord may remove a tenant from a rental property. This process usually begins when the tenant is found to have violated one or more of the terms of their lease and typically requires legal filings, court hearings, and a legal order that is perfected with law enforcement removing the renter from the property.
On the other hand, non-renewal is different since you are not forcing the tenant out. It is a choice not to renew the lease at the end of the lease term. This, however, does not mean that a landlord can just wait until the end of the lease term and then ask the tenant to leave. Similar to eviction, a successful non-renewal process must also follow the laws and regulations in your state.
States have different laws governing rental properties and leases, so you must do your research and note the steps to take to ensure that your non-renewal is in accordance with the law.
The Non-Renewal Process
A notice advising the tenant that their lease is not being renewed usually kicks off the non-renewal process. The intent of this notice is to let your tenant know that there will be no renewal at the end of their current term.
How far advance the lease end this notice should be sent differs between states since each has different requirements and timeline of non-renewal notices. Some regions will require you to send the notice 90 days in advance of the lease’s end. In others, it can be as short as 30 days. While you probably don’t need to give a reason for the non-renewal, the notice must typically be delivered in writing, and in some states, must be sent through certified mail or another signature-based service. You will need to know what your state laws require so that you can follow the applicable regulations.
It is also important not to use non-renewal for situations that require an eviction, change in lease terms, or raising of the rent. It is illegal in most places to use non-renewal notices to force a tenant out. It could turn into an ugly lawsuit, especially if a tenant feels they have not been given adequate notice or that their lease was terminated in violation of local law. You can avoid legal headaches like these by strictly following the local statutes.
It is also to your advantage to have good communication with your tenant before and throughout the non-renewal process. Even if your tenant feels upset by your unwillingness to renew their lease, you should remain professional at all times. By showing you care about your tenant, even when you need to end things, you can avoid potential retaliatory damage or any unwanted behaviors and, part with your tenant on good terms.
Hiring an expert to do it is one of the best ways to handle a non-renewal situation. At Real Property Management United, our Hollywood property managers can help you navigate through the changes in your lease, ownership status, or repairs. Learn more by contacting us online or calling at 973-747-5629 today.
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