Is Nonrenewal of Lease the Same as Eviction? [Answered with Tips on How to Deal with Both]

If you are not sure of the difference between a nonrenewal of lease and an eviction, you are in the right place.

In this article, I am going to answer the question of whether a nonrenewal of lease is the same as an eviction (note: the short answer is just below).

I will also cover related issues, such as the key differences between the two, when a landlord can evict you, when they can choose to not renew your lease, and some of the key reasons why a landlord may do so. I’ll also cover what you can do when faced with an eviction or nonrenewal.

If you don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:

A nonrenewal of lease is not the same as an eviction. An eviction is a legal proceeding that forces you out of your rental before the end of your lease term due to a violation of your lease or other legal cause. In contrast, a nonrenewal of lease is simply a decision by the landlord not to extend a rental contract that is expiring.

Ok, we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get into it.

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

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Nonrenewal of Lease vs. Eviction

As mentioned above, a nonrenewal of lease is different from eviction, although it may feel similar. After all, the end result is pretty similar – you must leave your rental even if you don’t want to do so.

But there are practical differences between the two that can affect you. In an eviction, you are likely already embroiled in a dispute. The eviction is the culmination of that dispute in a court of law. This means you may be faced with a judgment that could show up on your records.

Obviously, this type of mark on your record could negatively impact your ability to find a new rental.

A nonrenewal is different. It is simply allowing a lease to expire according to its terms, without affirmatively extending it. That means there is no legal record of this action and you are leaving the rental arrangement without a legal dispute. Trust me – that’s a good thing.

Plus, the process for an eviction is usually much more involved than a nonrenewal.

In an eviction proceeding, there is usually formal notice that must be posted, then you may need to show up in court and present your case, and if you are evicted, then you must move out by the designated time or a sheriff or other authorized officer may kick you out.

The process for a nonrenewal is much simpler.

It usually just involves a communication from your landlord that they do not intend to renew your lease. They will usually do so with enough time for your to search for a new place. 

When Can My Landlord Evict Me?

As I stated, evictions are usually driven by a dispute between the landlord and tenant. The primary reason for an eviction is due to alleged nonpayment of rent, but a landlord may choose to evict for other violations of the lease.

They may also have grounds for eviction if the tenant is committing criminal acts, or violating other laws, rules and regulation, including potentially HOA rules.

Of course, a landlord may also evict if the tenant refuses to leave after the initial lease term expires (if the landlord has not renewed the lease).

If you are facing a potential eviction, you may want to negotiate a resolution with your landlord as soon as possible. As mentioned, an eviction is likely to show up on your record and can seriously hurt your chances of qualifying for a new rental.

If you owe your landlord money, see if you can work out a reasonable payment plan so that they will stop the proceedings. If their main goal is to get you out, offer to leave before the eviction finalizes (assuming they are justified in wanting you to leave).

A lot of times, landlords just want to start fresh with someone new and may welcome not having to go through the hassle of a full blown eviction.

If you feel like your landlord is wrongfully trying to evict you, contact your local tenant rights organization or hire a lawyer so you can protect your rights.

Can My Landlord Refuse to Renew My Lease?

As a general matter, your landlord has the right to refuse to renew your lease.

However, certain jurisdictions have rent control or rent stabilization laws that could limit a landlord’s right to nonrenewal. In those locations, a landlord may need to show cause to not renew.

It’s also worth noting that in certain cases (depending state and local laws), a landlord may not have the right to refuse renewal if it is an act of retaliation against the tenant for them reporting code violations and the like.

So check your applicable laws if you want to investigate this issue further.

For your convenience, here’s our 50 state reference table (including D.C.) that will link you to the official landlord tenant laws of your state.

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Of course, you will also want to check your lease to see what it says about renewal.

In some cases, the lease will automatically renew unless one of the parties objects. There are usually timeframes for objecting (or notifying of nonrenewal) and if your landlord is late, you may have a right to refuse their nonrenewal request.

Reasons Why the Landlord Might Not Want to Renew Lease

Getting a notice of nonrenewal is never fun, especially if you love your place and want to stay on.

But sometimes it’s unavoidable and landlords have a variety of reasons why they won’t want to renew. It’s helpful to know the most common ones, so you can avoid triggering them in the future.

Without further ado, here is a list of some of the key reasons why a landlord might not want to renew a tenant’s lease.

  • Nonpayment (or late payment) of rent.
  • Tenant has caused damage to the property
  • Tenant has violated lease terms
  • Landlord want to sell the property
  • Landlord wants to repurpose the property to be an Airbnb or furnished corporate apartment
  • The landowner, their relatives, or friends want to move into the space.
  • The landlord wants to renovate the place.

Now if you are faced with a notice of nonrenewal, there are some things you can do.

Of course, much will depend on the reason why your landlord is not renewing and some of them may be beyond your control (e.g., they are selling the property because they are moving or need the money, they want to move in themselves or have a family member move in, etc.).

But barring that, here are some things you can do to try to make your landlord change their mind:

  • You can offer to pay a higher rent – money talks, and this is the simplest (and often the most effective) way to persuade your landlord to keep you on.
  • You can offer to sign up for an extended term – landlords hate vacancies and having the assurance of a long term tenant can be attractive.
  • You can offer to cover small repairs and maintenance tasks – many landlords don’t like the cost and hassle of fixing things that break down, so if you are handy you can offer to take care of these things on your own.
  • You can offer to provide other services to the landlord – if you have another valuable skill other than being handy, you may want to offer them access to your services in exchange for a renewal.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, nonrenewal of the lease isn’t the same as eviction, despite how similar they might appear at first glance. And those differences matter, as we’ve already covered.

The good news is that when are faced with either situation, there are some steps you can take to (hopefully) resolve them. Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!