If a tenant is behind in rent and the lease is up next month, can a landlord who does not want to renew the lease just ask the tenant to leave? Each week veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals. Here is this week’s question

Dear Landlord Hank:

I have a tenant who is behind on rent and his lease is up in January. I do not want to resign the lease. Can I ask him to leave when his lease is up?


Dear Landlady Brenda,

I ‘m not an attorney so I can’t offer legal advice.

A lease is a written agreement to rent a specific property for a particular term at a defined rental rate.

You need to check your lease with this tenant, but you will have somewhere in the lease a clause relating to HOLD OVER.

It basically states that tenant will deliver possession of residence in good repair to management upon termination of agreement.

Sent tenant a notice now

I would send this tenant notice that you are not renewing the lease at the end of his term, and do it certified mail with return receipt requested, and do it now, if lease is up next month.

If you think this tenant is not going to pay January rent and is already significantly behind in rent, then I would give him the required notice in your state and begin eviction process now.

If you start now he won’t be served until after Christmas.

This may seem harsh but this tenant is stealing from you by not paying the agreed upon rent, and you don’t need to put up with that.

Read another post from Hank here about leases: Husband Moved Out, Wife Wants Off Lease, What Do I Do?

About the author:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. ”  Visit Hank’s website here.

Dear Landlord Hank: Can I ask a tenant behind in rent to leave?

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