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Legal for Landlord to Automatically Renew Lease?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 27, 2012 9:43 AM

It's time to move out of your apartment. You throw a going away party and pack your things. But then you find out your landlord automatically renewed your lease. Can she do that? Are there any lease laws that prohibit automatic renewal?

Landlord-tenant law varies by state but there are some generalized rules that most jurisdictions tend to follow.

Here is a rundown of some important lease and rental laws that all tenants should be aware of:

Automatic renewal can be legal.

You might want to double check the terms of your rental agreement before you decide to move out. When you sign a lease, you're essentially signing a binding contract. It's possible that as a tenant you are required to give the landlord a certain amount of notice that you will move out. Otherwise, your lease may renew.

If you pay rent after your lease ends, your lease may renew.

In most states, if you continue to pay rent after the lease agreement ends a month-to-month tenancy is created. This means that the landlord cannot evict you without the prior notice.

In a few states, if you continue to pay rent after your lease expires your lease is automatically renewed. The renewed lease will be for the same length as the old lease and will contain the same provisions.

Your landlord does not need to renew your lease.

In some states, if the lease specifically states an ending date the landlord doesn't have to give notice. In other states, the landlord has to give sufficient notice to the tenant that they will terminate the lease.

Make sure you look up relevant housing and lease laws in your state. And if you have further questions about renewing a lease, consider consulting an experienced housing attorney.

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