End of Lease Term

Leases are not forever, and eventually the lease period ends. Leases lasting over a year are not common. Many apartment leases are for 12 months with an option for the tenant to renew at the end of the 12-month period. The tenant usually must notify her landlord in writing 30 days before the end of the lease that she plans on renewing. Likewise, if the landlord is not renewing the lease, he must notify the tenant at least 30 days in advance.


The lack of notice is one of the biggest reasons for lease disputes. As a tenant, your lease agreement probably requires that you give the landlord written notice that you are not renewing the lease. If not, oral notice may suffice.

TIP: Mark your calendar for 45 days before your lease ends so you can begin thinking about whether you want to renew or not. You will also have time to look at other properties if you are not happy with your current rental. Also, mark your calendar for 30 days before the expiration of the lease, as that is the deadline for notifying the landlord of your plans.

My landlord notified me that he is not renewing my lease. Is there anything I can do to make him renew it?

No. The landlord has the right not to renew at the end of the lease as long as you have been give proper notice (usually 30 days before the lease ends). However, if you believe your lease is not being renewed for a discriminatory reason (your race, religion, sex, age, or ethnicity), you can contact the local housing authority and claim discrimination in housing.


If both the landlord and tenant agree, the lease agreement can be terminated at any time during the lease. Some landlords are more understanding than others, and may be willing to end the lease early (e.g., if the tenant takes a job in another city).

If you can get the landlord to agree to early termination, take a copy of your lease and ask him to write in and initial the new termination date for your records. The initialed copy will also be evidence that your landlord agreed to the early termination if you are sued for unpaid rent under the original lease.

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