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. 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. This article will discuss the non-renewal process as well as some important points to remember to handle 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 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 not forcing the tenant out. Instead, it is choosing not to renew the lease at the end of the current lease term. However, it does not mean that the landlord can wait until the lease term ends to ask the tenant to leave. Just like how eviction requires certain steps to be followed, an effective non-renewal process must also follow the laws and regulations in your state.
Since the laws that govern real properties and leases differ from state to state, you have to do your research to know the steps you must take to ensure your non-renewal is in accordance with the law.
The Non-Renewal Process
The non-renewal process usually begins with you giving notice to your tenant that their lease is not being renewed. The notice is meant to let your tenant know that there will be no lease 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. There are regions that require it to be sent 90 days in advance. Other regions could require only 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 very important not to use non-renewal for situations that clearly require an eviction, change of terms of the lease, or raising of rent. Most places make it illegal to use a non-renewal notice to manipulate or force a tenant out. 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. You can avoid legal skirmishes by following the local statute to the letter.
It is to your advantage to establish good communication with your tenant and to continue doing so throughout the non-renewal process. Even if your tenant feels hurt by your unwillingness to renew their lease, you must maintain professionalism 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.
If you want a smoother non-renewal situation, it is best to hire an expert to do it for you. At Real Property Management Citywide, our Snellville 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 770-733-1848 today.
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