Holdover Tenancy: What is a Holdover Tenant?

Landlords have many things to think of; they have to deal with legal issues, privacy issues, and so much more. Above all, they sometimes need to deal with a problem tenant. The interesting thing is that most tenants don’t want to create any problems but their difficult circumstances put them off track. That’s the reason why that even if you have screened the tenants for their history and their tenancy habits, they can create all sorts of problems for a landlord.

When things do get bad, you may end up getting what is called a holdover tenant. A Holdover Tenant is someone who even though is in rightful possession of land and property is without the permission of the landlord and thus wrongfully staying on the property after the term of their tenancy has expired. This definition may be too much for most landlords but the basic concept to understand is that any tenant that is still in your property after the term of the tenancy has expired is in actual fact a hold-over tenant.

As such it may not be an issue but in most situations, hold-over tenants can be a problem when they do not want to leave the property and have, in the sense of it, taken your property hostage and will not abandon it. When this happens, the landlord has two options: firstly the landlord can accept the tenant as a tenant once again but this time on a new term and on a lease agreement that has been revised and re-done. Alternatively, they could consider the tenant as a trespasser and proceed with the procedure of eviction to have the holdover tenant “booted out” legally.

What one does need to keep in mind is that once a landlord makes a decision, they cannot go back and change it. That is why when a landlord comes to making a decision, they should make it carefully and with the thought kept in mind that they cannot turn back. If the landlord wants to proceed with a new term or lease agreement then this is something they cannot change even if something else goes wrong. This is because the term will either have to finish before you can proceed to have the tenant out or, if push comes to shove, you will have to have the tenant evicted. If the landlord accepts a rental check after the expiration date of the term of tenancy then this will automatically renew that term and the tenant will once again be a tenant on a new lease agreement under the same contract. The decision to elect a new term or lease agreement also has to be made within the right amount of time or else the right is lost to do so.

Alternatively, if the landlord chooses to treat the holdover tenant as a trespasser and wants them out of their property, they have to go for eviction proceedings. The landlord will send notices to ask the holdover tenant to leave and if he/she still refuses, the landlord will proceed with the official court proceedings after which the courts will handle the issue.
Posted on Dec 24, 2012


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