Reasons a Landlord Won't Renew a Lease

by Maya Black ; Updated July 27, 2017

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.

Undesirable Activity

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.

Property Damage

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.

About the Author

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.