How Much Non- Renewal Notice

How Much Required Notice To Not Renew A Tenant’s Lease

Victoria's question: Apparently she doesn't want to renew her tenant's lease, but she's afraid if she gives the tenant notice that the tenants can stop paying rent. She's asking if she should give the tenant a month or two notice or if I think she should just not give the tenant any notice.

That's a really tough question because you really can't give the tenant no notice. That just would be really horribly unfair. Can you mention somebody telling you at the last moment that tomorrow you have no place to live? That would just be a really horrible thing to do. I understand a tenant not paying your rent would be a really horrible thing to do too, but two wrongs still make a right. And not getting rent would be devastating and really damaging, but not having a place to live tomorrow would even be more so. And then legally, that's a really bad footing.

Your lease should detail how much notice each party has to give to not renew a lease, so check your lease. If it's a State lease, if it's a National Organization of Realtors, those leases are commonly available to the public. And the lease you have might be based upon that - it likely that it is. If it is, then it likely details 60 days, I would guess. That's really typical. I think 60 days is fair notice. I would definitely give the tenant 60 days’ notice, just to be fair. A month gets a little dicey. I think it almost puts you on a really bad legal footing.

Going forward, definitely collect the last month's rent from your tenants, that way you don't have to worry about them not paying the last month's rent. Between the security deposit, which is typically a month, often a month, some municipalities restrict to how much security deposit you can get. Typically, it's at least a month. And then the last month's rent you'll collect in advance before the tenant even moves in. Then at least you have two months to kind of manage things if the tenant does opt to not paying rent.

Going forward, definitely get the last month's rent. And personally, I would absolutely give the tenant ample notice, 60 days’ notice, at least and also having a clear conscience with dealing with the matter. Legally, I would give the tenant a minimum of 30 days’ notice. Otherwise, if you're in front of a judge, you're going to have a real problem.

The sidebar of that is you can't just not renew a lease, you'll have to provide a valid reason for that action. The reason can't be just that you just don't like that tenant. You have to have a reason such as that you're selling the house or that you want to get in and renovate the home - something along the lines of that. You don't have to go through with those items, but typically you have to have good cause, a good reason why you're not going to renew the lease. You can't just say, I just want to get a better tenant. Most municipalities will actually not allow you, even though lease is a contract and a lease has a duration and that duration is coming to an end, it doesn't mean you can actually not renew it without having good cause. Good luck!!!


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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