Many lease agreements have an automatic month-to-month renewal clause that goes into effect unless a landlord or tenant provides notice that a lease is not being renewed. As a general rule, a landlord will send a lease non-renewal letter to a tenant providing official notice that the current lease will not be renewed.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the key benefits of sending a lease non-renewal letter to a tenant, explain how to write a basic non-renewal letter, and provide links to download a free lease non-renewal letter template.
- A lease non-renewal letter is a written notice from a landlord to a tenant that a lease is not being renewed.
- Other names for a lease non-renewal letter include a lease termination letter and a notice not to renew a lease.
- Reasons for a landlord not renewing a lease may include constant problems with a tenant, tenant violating terms and conditions of the lease, or simply the desire to rent to a different tenant.
- A tenant can also send notice to a landlord that a lease is not being renewed.
What is a lease non-renewal letter?
A lease non-renewal letter is a written notice sent by a landlord to a tenant, or by a tenant to a landlord, informing the other party that the current lease is not going to be renewed.
Depending on the customs of a local real estate market, a lease non-renewal letter may also be known as a lease termination letter, a notice not to renew a lease, notice/intent to vacate, or non-renewal of lease letter.
A lease non-renewal letter is sent prior to when the lease ends. Generally speaking, a lease non-renewal letter is sent 60 days before the ending date of a lease. However, the exact number of days before the end of a lease that a non-renewal letter must be sent varies based on the terms and conditions of the lease and the state landlord-tenant law where the property is located.
If a lease non-renewal letter is not delivered with sufficient notice, a tenant may be liable for additional rent or a landlord may be in violation of local and state housing laws. As a rule of thumb, a landlord will send a lease non-renewal letter to a tenant even if the lease does not specifically require the notice.
Reasons for a landlord not renewing a lease
There are a number of potential reasons a landlord may choose not to renew a tenant’s lease. Some of the most common include:
- Tenant constantly “pushes the envelope” by paying the rent late or just before the grace period ends.
- Maintenance requests made by tenant are never-ending, and for minor items such as a squeaky door or a scratch on the floor.
- Tenant is damaging the property beyond the scope of normal wear and tear with constant “accidents” like backing their car into the garage door or breaking a bedroom window.
- Overnight guests of a tenant turn into secret sub-renters, yet the tenant refuses to admit that people not on the lease are occupying the home.
- Landlord has decided to sell the home to a buyer looking for a primary residence instead of another real estate investor.
- Landlord simply wants to rent to another tenant, provided that not renewing a lease with the existing tenant does not violate local and state housing laws.
How to write a lease non-renewal letter
A lease non-renewal letter is a legal document a landlord uses to prove that a tenant was given proper notice that a lease is not being renewed. The following information should be included on a lease non renewal letter:
- Date of the lease non-renewal letter.
- Name of tenant and property address.
- Name of landlord and business address.
- Ending date of the lease.
- Reason for not renewing the lease (may be optional in some states).
- Requirements of tenant, such as continuing to pay the rent and scheduling a move-out inspection.
- Security deposit amount and return policy, including reasons part or all of the deposit may be withheld and how many days a landlord may take to return the deposit (according to local and state housing laws).
Free example of a lease non-renewal letter
Here’s an example of a lease non-renewal letter template that can be downloaded for free in both Microsoft Word and Google Docs formats.
Lease Non-Renewal Letter
Landlord’s Name: ______________________
Street Address: ______________________
City, State: ______________________, ________
RE: NOTICE NOT TO RENEW LEASE
Dear___________________________________ (Tenant name),
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that your lease for the property with an expiration date of ____________________ (insert date) will not be renewed. You are required to vacate the premises no later than midnight on this date.
As a reminder, your monthly rent payments will continue to be due in full through the end of the lease, and your security deposit may not be used as a rent payment. As per the terms and conditions of your lease, the property must be in the same condition as when you moved in, less any normal wear and tear.
Please contact my office to arrange a time to conduct a move-out inspection during normal business hours. We recommend that you are present for the inspection, and require that all door keys, garage openers, and mailbox keys be returned to us at that time to avoid re-key and replacement fees.
We will also require you to provide a forwarding address for any additional notices, and so that your security deposit may be returned. State landlord-tenant law allows that part or all of your security deposit may be retained to pay for damage caused by a tenant beyond normal wear and tear.
This Lease Non-Renewal Letter is the legal notice required in your lease and by State law. Failure to move out by the lease expiration date of the lease may result in legal action such as eviction, leading to attorney costs and legal fees, and a negative report to the credit bureaus.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Landlord’s Signature: _________________________________________ Date: ______________
Landlord’s Name: ____________________________________________
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How to send a lease non-renewal letter
Landlord-tenant laws for the city and state a rental property is located in dictate how a legal notice such as a lease non-renewal letter must be delivered. Generally speaking, a landlord may wish to deliver a notice with a return receipt, such as certified mail or a delivery service.
Having proof that a lease non-renewal letter was delivered and that a tenant received sufficient prior notice that a lease was not being renewed. This may help to avoid potential problems with a tenant, and also demonstrates that a landlord is following the local housing laws.
Can a tenant decide not to renew a lease?
Although the demand from tenants for good rental property is strong in most real estate markets, it’s also possible that a tenant may decide not to renew a lease. For example, a tenant may decide not to renew a lease because they need more (or less) space, or they are moving to another city or state.
What to do if a tenant does not renew a lease:
- Verify that the tenant is giving sufficient notice not to renew a lease. Review the lease to ensure that a tenant is providing enough notice that a lease is not being renewed. As a rule of thumb, a lease may require 30 or 60 days notice, according to the state’s landlord-tenant laws.
- Ask the tenant to send a lease non-renewal letter. Request the tenant to send a written statement that they are not renewing the lease so that the termination process can begin.
- Have the tenant sign a lease non-renewal letter from the landlord. A landlord may also provide a tenant with a written lease non-renewal letter after a tenant indicates that their lease will not be renewed. Doing so provides written documentation that a tenant informed a landlord that they would not be renewing the lease.
Begin marketing the home for rent as quickly as possible
It’s never too early to begin marketing a home for rent, even if a current tenant will not be moving out for another month or two.
Sometimes it takes longer than expected to find a qualified tenant by screening potential applicants’ rental applications, credit reports and background checks, and rental history. Using online rental listing and screening services like Cozy and Avail can help to speed up the process, but the faster a landlord finds a new tenant the less rental income will be lost due to vacancy.
By collecting more rental income a landlord can better maximize potential profits and return on investment to help grow a real estate portfolio.