Non Renewal Notice

6 Replies

I have a tenant who's lease is up in a month and a half on 6/30. I am not going to renew her lease because she has a new habit of paying as late as she can without penalty, a boyfriend living there who is not on the lease and a dog and two cats who are also not on the lease. What notice do I need to give here and what is the best way to avoid conflict (I presume she is not going to be happy about the notice). The property is in Tacoma, WA. Thanks in advance for any help.

@Tyler U.

Tyler, good question. My suggestion is that you be as direct and factual as possible while giving the most notice possible "as a courtesy". I'd go with a letter that has points such as:

  • Thanks for your business
  • Your lease is up on June 30 and we will not be renewing it
  • We wanted to let you know as soon as we made a decision so that you'd have plenty of time to look for a new place
  • As a reminder, your security deposit is $Y, which will be available to you under the conditions of the lease a, b and c

I'd keep it pretty simple, and don't worry about justifying your decision. This is your business, so it is your right to do what you want as long as it is ethical and legal. If you really feel you have to explain in a later discussion, I'd lean toward, "We are looking for tenants that will put less wear on the property with their pets [pet owners are not a protected class]. You aren't paying pet rent on any of your 3 animals. Pet rent would be $35 per animal with an additional $300 non-refundable fee up front, I assumed you wouldn't be interested." If you really don't want this tenant, and are worried she'll jump at the pet rent, increase the number to $100 per pet, or whatever...

Tyler, I hope that helps. We've got rentals in Tacoma, too, and people seem to have a thing about moving in pets without checking... However, as soon as we find out we've found it effective to confront it ASAP. We have several rentals were we are willing to have pets, and we've got tenants paying pet rent. They are happy, our cashflow is up, and they are more loyal (theoretically reducing turnover). Best of luck, sir!

@Wayne Prentiss

Thanks for the advice, I think I will go forward with everything you recommended. Have you found a good way to prove tenants have a pet on the premises?

I agree with keeping the explanation as simple as possible. The more reasons you give, the more argument there is likely to be. I have also found tenants appreciate hearing "this is not an eviction, we're simply not renewing the lease." I also agree that giving ample lead time on the notice is respectful. 

Thanks for the input, it was really helpful. Below is the form that I went with, removing any personal information of course. If you think it needs anything additional or has something that should be worded differently or omitted completely please let me know.

Thanks,

Tyler

Tenant,

Thank you for your tenancy. Your lease is up on Month Day and will not be renewed. I wanted to send this notice now so that you will have plenty of time to find a new place to live. As a reminder, your security deposit is x amount, which will be available to you after move out inspection is completed and any repairs or damages not due to normal wear and tear are resolved. All rent must be paid through the end of the lease. Your security deposit is not eligible for use as last month’s rent. Please notify me of your forwarding address so that your refundable security deposit, minus any deductions may be mailed to you.

Landlord/ Manager

besides the great advice already given, i would also recommend to hand the notice at least 30 days prior to the end of the lease..as a courtesy, and to avoid any potential issues..

I was going to send it certified mail, but I guess hand delivering it is better. Thanks for all the advice.

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