End of Lease term - 90 days - Tenant challenged this clause

25 Replies

Dear BP members - on my lease with the below clause, it says 90 days notice. I explained to him that it works both way - meaning that landlord will have to give the notice to tenants 90 days notice if not renewing the lease. Tenant asked me to put this on the lease. How would you deal with this kind of situation? Thank you!

"End of Lease Term. If you plan to vacate the Apartment at the end of your Lease, a minimum of 90 days notice is required by the Tenant to the Landlord. At the end of the Lease term, if I fail to vacate the apartment, you may use the legal process to remove me. In the event you accept rent for any period after the end of the lease term, then I shall be deemed a holdover Tenant and my tenancy shall be month to month with monthly rent at the current rate. In the event I am a holdover tenant, the terms of this lease shall apply." 

Why would you allow a tenant to dictate the terms of your lease? What are the terms of your own lease when it comes to termination notice?

@Aninze A. I thought it woks on both way.  This is the old tenant I inherited from the seller for about 3 months and the tenant is quite nice.  Now, it is time for renewal with the new contract. This is what tenant said, "We would ask you to set the minimum notice at the standard 30 days notice prior to the end of our lease. It seems unreasonable given the unlikelihood of finding another property, should we ever wish to move, 90 days out. In addition, there is no protection for us stating your requirement to inform us at least 90 days out should you not intend to renew our rental agreement." 

The worse thing you can do is allow a tenant to debate the terms of the lease with you. They do not have the greater risk nor do they have to live with loss of income should it take 90 days to find a new tenant. I would recommend telling her that you appreciate her input but the standard notice for your properties is 90 days.  (And, then stop).  You don't need to sell it, you don't need to explain it, you don't need to discuss their options.  If it's 90 days, it's 90 days.  

You can find another tenant at the end of her lease - but having a tenant who is quoting "standards" and debating your terms is simply not worth it.  

Patricia is spot on. This is your terms, your operating model, this is a non-negotiable point, just as much as it’s not a negotiation on if or when the rent is due. 

If it makes you feel any better, we are 120 days. As for us giving notice, the lease ends at the end of the term, if we don’t send them a new lease before the end of the term, then it’s over. I’m fairly sure your says when the lease ends, it becomes month-to-month. Same concept..

@Peace Lily . Are you sure there’s no law that says you can’t change this from the standard 30 or 60 days notice to more then that? I would be surprised if there was but you may want to check that.

Also, why do you need 90 day notice? Just make it 60 days at most. Honestly 30 days should be plenty. I'm a tenant and a landlord and I can guarantee you, if my landlord wanted me to sign something like that, I would pushback to. I will give you 30 or 60 day notice but 90 days is kind of absurd.

If they’re a good tenant why would you care about this? If they’re a bad tenant just let them leave if it means that much to you

I use 60 days in Vegas, I know some people use 30. Think about it the other way around. Your tenants start to do something you don’t like and you have to give them 90 days notice. In reality, you’re probably giving more than you get with the 90 days. You try to violate it and you’ll be in court, most likely losing. They give 30 days and move out of state, are you chasing them down?

Wow. 90 days. 120 days. That does seem excessive. But, if those are your terms, then those are your terms. The tenant can take it or leave it. Is this a standard period of time in your area? Does it really take you that long to find another tenant? 

@Anthony Wick . You’re right I’m amending all my leases to 365 day notice. So the minute you sign my 1 year lease I need your notice to renew or not as well.

Why do you use leases? I really want to know?

I ONLY rent month to month and either party can end the agreement with a 30 day notice. It works great and I have never any pushback. Tenants like not being tied to a lease and I never have to evict anyone.

I use leases because I can do better planning and reduce turnover. I also remove vacancies during the school period when no one wants to move. With leases I can ask about renewals 60-90 days in advance and the tenant has always known if they’re going to renew or I’ve known I’ll have a vacancy and can start advertising. 

Any conditions you put on your lease makes it more difficult to find a tenant.  I think 90 days is excessive, but in my area 30 days is standard.  However, I agree - a tenant who is trying to dictate terms to you, is going to probably continue to be difficult.  We've seen this happen.  So if you like your 90 days, and want to keep it consistent across all your leases, just reply that this is how all your leases are done (and they can take it or leave it).

@Peace Lily You told the tenant it works both ways but in the clause you posted, I don’t see it. Did you not include the whole text of your clause? Tenant is right, if you claim it works both ways then it should read as such. My lease says landlord can terminate the lease with 60 days notice to tenant and tenant is responsible for the payment of rent....

@Peace Lily who wrote your lease? Not an attorney based on how poorly written it is. You should never refer to contractual parties as "I" and "you" in a lease contract. Not only are you not naming parties, but you are switching perspective. So in the first sentence "you" refers to the tenant. In the second sentence "I" refers to the tenant and "you" refers to the landlord. This is confusing and will cause problems when you land in court. 

As far as 90 day term, that is very uncommon. Assuming it is legal in your state, then you are free to require that. Of course applicants are not required to sign the lease and you should releases them from any holding fee if they object to uncommon terms like this.

Here is the paragraph rewritten calling out specific parties:

"End of Lease Term. If tenant plans to vacate the Apartment at the end of their Lease, a minimum of 90 days notice is required in writing to Landlord. At the end of the Lease term, if tenant fails to vacate the apartment, landlord may use the legal process to remove tenant. In the event landlord accepts rent for any period after the end of the lease term, then tenant shall be deemed a holdover Tenant and tenancy shall be month to month with monthly rent at the current rate. In the event tenant is holdover tenant, the terms of this lease shall apply." 

I also added that notice needs to be given in writing, because without specifying, the tenant could say they told you verbally. I am also not sure about the holdover clause. It would be better if the lease stated that the agreement defaults into a month-to-month agreement if neither party provides notice of non-renewal. The way it is written now implies that only the tenant can end the lease by giving notice, but if they keep paying it doesn't end the lease. Ultimately I am not an attorney, but I have read enough leases to know this one needs help. Especially if you are going to push non standard clauses like 90 day notice on tenants, make sure the lease is up to legal standards.

@James Barnhart

What’s the weather like in Florida in February? In Iowa we had more snow and colder temps since 1886. Today it was -10. Nobody wants to move. Took me 3 months to rent out a duplex that usually takes 7 days in the summer.

MTM probably works great in a lot of places. Here? My leases will always end in the summer. I bought this duplex empty, in December. Very hard to rent out.

@Anthony Wick

I had the same trouble this year. We actively looked for short ter renters or people who would consider 1.5 yr lease terms in order to break the midwinter cycle 

FWIW, there was a fair amount of interest in short term due to non-existent short term availability.

@Joe Splitrock I got the original lease from my Real Estate agency. I agreed the lease was not well written. I have seen different standard versions. A few are better than my current one. I appreciated you taking time to revise that particular clause for me. It sounded much better! Thank you!

I would agree with others that the language on your lease needs a refresh.  The best bet would be to find a lease that is state specific and reviewed by the bar association in your state.  That does not mean that you cant addjust it to your company’s needs and unique attributes of the property.

The parties are usually designated in the first part of the lease, ie... Leasor(Landlord) or Leasee(Tenant), so whatever convention is spelled out in the first part of the lease should be consistent through the lease.

Section x. Holdover.

Should the Leasee intend to vacate the premises, a written notice to the Leasor at least 45 days prior to the intended departure is required.  Should this lease lapse without a successor agreement and the Leasee holdover, this lease shall remain in force for for one(1) month and shall renew monthly until such time that either party gives 45 days notice to vacate the premises, or a successor agreement supersedes this agreement.

The above might be close to the language you are looking for.  I use 45 days, basically a two week notice with a months rent to get the place tenable for the next resident.  I would not go much longer than 60 days because if the tenant really wants out they will hopefully just leave, and leave the property in condition that will not require a whole lot of cleaning and repairs.

I try to keep my leases from July to July,  I had tried a 1 1/2 lease to move the time from January start to July start.  Worst headache of a tenant ever I paid to help her move out the following march.  A year is good to keep turnover costs in check,  month to month from the start and your turnover costs could be rather high, and any longer that a year contract and you could be locking in a contractual migraine.