A huge part of keeping your rental vacancies low is to find (and keep) good tenants. However, things might not always work out between you and your tenant. Maybe you need to have some major repairs done or your circumstances have changed. In such cases, one of the best ways to end your current lease is through non-renewal. Here, we will discuss the non-renewal process and some key points to know in order 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 in violation of 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. However, that doesn’t mean that a landlord can wait until the end of the lease term to ask the tenant to leave. Similar to eviction, a successful non-renewal process must also follow the laws and regulations in your state.
There are different governing laws for rental properties and leases in every state, so it is vital that you know them as well as the steps you have to take to ensure your non-renewal is done according to the letter of the law.
The Non-Renewal Process
The non-renewal process is often initiated by the sending of a notice to your tenant that their lease is not being renewed. This notice is the way to inform your tenant that the lease will not be renewed at the end of their current term.
How early in the lease term should this notice be sent varies from state to state since each one has different regulations on 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. It is important that you know what the law in your state requires so you can follow all 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. In most places, using a non-renewal notice to manipulate a tenant is illegal. It could become an expensive lawsuit, especially if the tenant feels that you did not give them 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 good to establish healthy communication lines with your tenant, and continue to do so 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. If your tenant feels that you care about them, even if you need things to end, you can prevent retaliatory damage or other unwanted behaviors, and even 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 Sarasota & Manatee, our Nokomis 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 941-225-8185 today.
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