By signing a lease, a landlord agrees to maintain the property and to provide you with unencumbered access to the premises as long as you agree to maintain the property, adhere to lease terms, and return the property to the landlord in the same condition as when you moved in. Although federal fair housing laws prevent the landlord from refusing to renew your lease without cause, a landlord could decline to renew your lease if you violate the terms of the agreement.
Your landlord won't renew your lease if you, or someone living with you, engage in criminal activity on the leased premises. You should not, however, worry if the police visit your rented property to help you handle a family problem or if you are a crime victim. If your landlord asks questions about law enforcement visiting the property, be honest and provide details about the incident. A landlord could also decline to renew your lease if you host loud or raucous social events that disturb the peace on a regular basis.
Slow or No Payment
Landlords lease property on a full- or part-time basis and often rely on rent payments to pay their own bills. Your landlord may not hold it against you if you miss one rent payment -- and give him advance notice that you cannot pay due to hardship -- but will most likely seek a new tenant if you are a habitual late payer or if you do not pay your rent at all. Your landlord may also not renew your lease if you bounce more than one rent check during your lease term.
Although you may have paid a property damage deposit when you moved in, the landlord may not renew your lease if he knows in advance of the end of your lease about damages to the property caused by you. He would most likely find out about such damages if you are unable to keep costly appliances in working order or if you fail to report plumbing and electrical problems that become worse over time and that cause significant damage as a result of neglect. Visible damage to walls and floors could also cause a landlord to decline your lease renewal request.
Change of Status
Your landlord can decline to renew your lease if he plans to sell to a buyer who will not use the home or apartment as investment property, or if he plans to convert the leased property into an owner-occupied property, meaning he plans to move into the property himself. What happens in case of a sale or a change of property status should be spelled out in the lease you sign when you move into a property. If the landlord does not make his plans known to you sooner than you require, do not be afraid to ask him about his future plans so that you have enough time to look for a new place to live.
- HUD.gov; Fair Housing -- It's Your Right
- "Every Landlord's Legal Guide"; Marcia Stewart et. al.; 2010
- "First-Time Landlord"; Janet Portman et. al.; 2009
- "So You Want to Be a Landlord?"; Patricia Hartmann; 2004
- Georgia Consumer Protection Division. "If I Terminate My Lease Early, Can My Landlord Keep My Security Deposit and Charge Me a Fee?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Oregon State Bar. "Fees and Deposits." Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Wisconsin State Legislature. "704.29 Recovery of Rent and Damages by Landlord; Mitigation." Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Realtor.com®. "Beyond the Security Deposit: When Can Your Landlord Sue You for Property Damage?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- The Judicial Branch of California. "Security Deposits." Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Updater. "Breaking a Lease: Everything to Know." Accessed April 6, 2020.
- New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. "Lease Information Bulletin," Page 3. Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Could Late Rent Payments or Problems With a Landlord Be in My Credit Report?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Experian. "Does Breaking a Lease Affect Your Credit?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Experian. "How Long Does It Take for Information to Come Off Your Credit Reports?" Accessed April 6, 2020.
- New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. "Lease Information Bulletin," Page 2. Accessed April 6, 2020.
- Michigan Department of Attorney General. "Other Legal Protections and Rights Provided By State And Federal Law." Accessed Apr. 23, 2020.
Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.