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My lease is ending. Do I have to renew it or move out?

Question
My lease is ending. Do I have to renew it or move out?

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My lease is ending. Do I have to renew it or move out?
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Reviewed: 
November 12, 2020
Answer

Tenants and landlords often sign an agreement to rent a place for a certain length of time. This kind of agreement is sometimes called a "fixed-term lease". The most common term is one year but a lease can be for almost any length of time as long as there is a starting date and an ending date.

Landlords sometimes tell tenants that when their lease ends, they only have two choices:

  • to move out, or
  • to renew the lease for another term.

But the law says that you also have a third choice: you can simply continue your tenancy on a month-to-month basis. You don't have to move out and you don't have to sign up for another year if you don't want to.

If you want to continue your tenancy, you don't have to do anything. If you don't sign a new lease and you don't give notice to move out, the law says you automatically become a month-to-month tenant.

All the details of your previous lease or agreement will continue exactly the same. The only thing that might change is the amount of rent you pay. Your rent could go up if your landlord has given you proper notice and followed all the rules for raising your rent. But those rules are the same whether you choose month-to-month or another fixed term.

If you or your landlord want to make any other changes to your lease or agreement, you must both agree to those changes.

If you do want to move out at the end of the term in your lease, you have to give your landlord proper notice. You can't just wait for the lease to expire and then leave.

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