What Are the Key Principles for Ending Lease Agreements?

As a general rule, neither you nor the tenant can end the tenancy without consequence until the end of the lease term, unless both of you agree to do so.

At the end of the lease term, you should have the tenant either sign a new lease, convert to a month-to-month rental agreement, or move. When a lease is about to expire, a good practice is to give the tenant written notice at least 60 days prior to the lease expiration date. This gives you and the tenant time to renegotiate the lease or time for the tenant to locate a new place. Sixty days also gives you time to market the property if the tenant is planning on leaving.

In most jurisdictions, if you accept rent after the lease expires, you have created a month-to-month tenancy with the same terms of the old lease. In most states and localities, once the lease expires, you do not have to keep renting to the same tenant. You can start an eviction lawsuit once proper notice has been provided, the notice period has expired, and the tenant has not vacated the unit. Be sure to check your State and local laws to ensure that you are in compliance.