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. You might need to do some major repairs or maybe 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
The first thing to remember is that non-renewal is different from 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 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 does not mean you are forcing the tenant out. It is a choice not to renew the lease at the end of the lease term. That does not mean, however, 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.
As there are different laws governing rental properties and leases in each state, it is important that you know what 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.
Each state has different requirements for how far in advance of the lease end notice has to be sent. You will have to check on your state’s requirements on the timing of non-renewal notices. There are some regions that require the notice 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 have to be certain about what the law in your state requires so you could 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. Most places make it illegal to use a non-renewal notice to manipulate or force a tenant out. It could turn into a costly lawsuit, especially if the tenant feels you failed to 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 also helps to have good communication with your tenant before and throughout the non-renewal process. You have to keep your professionalism at all times even if your tenant feels upset or hurt by your unwillingness to renew their lease. When you show your tenant you care about them, even if you need things to end, you can potentially keep retaliatory damage or other unwanted behaviors at bay, and 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 Chicago Group, our Skokie 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 312-265-0660 today.
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