Outline of Tenant Rights After Lease Expires
A leasing agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant. It has definitive starting and ending date. What happens if the lease expires without an addendum to it? In a majority of jurisdictions, landlord/tenant law mandates that the terms and conditions continue on a month-by-month basis. This means every aspect of the lease is still enforceable for both parties. Here is a look at some of the most overlooked rights that tenants still have.
1. Tenants Must Still Be Evicted Through The Legal Process.
Although a tenant does not technically need to notify a landlord about moving out at the end of a lease, they cannot remain in the property without paying rent. Paying rent for a month essentially extends the old lease by 1 month. Landlords, however, are required to follow the legal eviction process, even if they don't plan to extend a month-to-month relationship. Up to 60 days of notice for the tenant to leave may be required.
2. Month-To-Month Leases Have Fewer Change Restrictions.
Because the lease essentially renews every 28/30/31 days in a month-to-month relationship, a landlord can potentially change the terms and conditions of the lease with an addendum every 30 days with proper notice. If it is July 1 and a tenant is paying $1,200 per month, the landlord could potentially make the lease be $1,500 per month on August 1, $1,800 per month on September 1, or make other changes as well.
3. Tenants Always Have The Right To Leave.
A month-to-month lease often creates uncertainty for both parties, but a tenant always has the right to leave the property. Because the lease expires at the end of every month, a tenant can basically pack up their stuff and go as long as they are out by the first of the month.
4. There Is Still a Right To a Full Security Deposit Return.
Just going to a month-to-month lease doesn't negate the fact that a security deposit can be fully refunded. Even if a tenant moves out with no notice, the end of the contract is considered by most jurisdictions as notification enough. No penalties can be assessed against the security deposit should this occur. Tenant rights after a lease expires are the same as a landlord's rights after a lease expires with the exception of the notifications that may be required. The lease stays in effect as long as rent continues to be paid.
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