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Landlord's rights when the lease term ends

Landlord tenant law varies widely from state to state and even among different jurisdictions within a state. Generally speaking, landlords in California do not need any special reason to terminate a lease at the expiration of its term. Landlords generally have no obligation to renew a lease or to allow a tenant to remain in the house, apartment or other property unless an anti-retaliation law is applicable.

In most cases, it's a good idea for the landlord to provide advance notice, perhaps 30 days before expiration of the lease, that the lease will not be renewed. It is not usually the landlord's responsibility to keep track of lease expirations, though, and the onus most often falls on the tenant to be aware that his or her lease will expire. Tenants are most often responsible for arranging for a lease extension or otherwise preparing for the expiration of the lease.

The best practice for landlords in California is to maintain an open line of communication with their tenants regarding the extension or termination of a lease. In a case where the landlord does not wish to renew a tenant's term in the property, he or she should be careful not to accept rent or agree to any terms that extend beyond the period of the original lease. Any such action may be seen by a court as a lease extension by default.

The situation is different in a case where the lease includes an option to extend. Different notices may be required, for example. If the tenant overstays a standard lease, the landlord may have grounds to support an unlawful detainer action. An attorney may be able to help in such a case by drafting and filing the necessary documents to begin an eviction. An attorney with experience in landlord tenant law may be able to argue on behalf of the landlord during court proceedings or gather and organize evidence on the client's behalf.

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