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A Landlord’s Guide to Non-Renewal

Packed Moving Boxes in Harrison RentalFinding (and keeping) good tenants are a major part of keeping your rental vacancies low. Sometimes, however, things do 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

First of all, you must know that non-renewal is not the same as an eviction. Eviction is the legal process through which a landlord may remove a tenant from a rental property. This process usually begins when the tenant has 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.

Non-renewal, on the other hand, is when you are not forcing the tenant out. It is, instead, a choice to not renew the lease when the current lease term ends. However, that doesn’t mean that a landlord can wait until the end of the lease term to ask the tenant to leave. Just as an eviction requires you to follow certain steps, a successful non-renewal process should 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 advance of the lease end should you send this notice? This will vary between states since each one has a different set of requirements regarding non-renewal notices. For some regions, this could be 90 days in advance. 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 extremely important that you do not use non-renewal for situations that require an eviction, change of lease terms, or raising the rent. In most places, using a non-renewal notice to manipulate a tenant is illegal. It could backfire into a costly lawsuit, especially when the tenant feels they were not given adequate notice or that their lease is being terminated in violation of local law. Legal headaches can be avoided by strictly following the local statute.

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 with the thought of you not renewing their lease, it is important to maintain professionalism at all times. Show your tenant that you care about them even if you need things to end. This way you can avoid potential retaliatory damages or other unwanted behaviors, and you can 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 DePenn, our Harrison 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 866-820-9913 today.

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