What Is Involved in Ending a Tenancy?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2020
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When a landlord decides to enter into a lease agreement with a tenant, the agreement is generally reduced to writing to protect both the landlord and the tenant. As a rule, the terms of the lease agreement will dictate what is involved in ending a tenancy. If there is no agreement in writing, or there is a dispute, then the laws of jurisdiction where the property is located will decide what is involved in ending a tenancy. As a rule, notice of the intent to vacate or terminate the tenancy, returning the property to its original condition, and a return of the deposit are all part of ending a tenancy. Of course, if the tenancy is not being terminated by mutual agreement, then a legal eviction process is necessary to end a tenancy.


Most lease agreements have a specific beginning and ending date. What many tenants do not realize, however, is that, despite the fact that the lease has a specific ending date, notice must still be given to the landlord when ending a tenancy in many cases. The reason for this is that, under the laws of many jurisdictions, a lease become a periodic tenancy upon the expiration of the original terms, meaning it becomes a month-to-month lease after the lease term expires. This actually protects the tenant in the event that he or she wishes to stay beyond the expiration of the lease in the sense that he or she is not required to vacate the property at the end of the lease absent notice from the landlord.

If the tenant does plan to vacate the property, then proper notice must be given. Most lease agreements specify how much notice is required; however, a common notice requirement is 30 days. The notice should be given in writing and sent certified or registered mail to the landlord. If the landlord wishes to end the lease, then he or she must also give the same notice to the tenants.

Aside from notice, the other common practices involved in ending a tenancy are returning the property to the pre-lease condition and securing the deposit money from the landlord. The property should be cleaned and any alterations repaired at the end of a lease. Many jurisdictions require the landlord to send a detailed list of any repairs or charges against the deposit money to the tenant within a reasonable time after he or she vacates the property. After any such deductions, the deposit must be returned to the tenants.

If the tenancy is not ending by mutual agreement, then the landlord must file the proper documents to begin an eviction procedure. The exact procedures for evicting a tenant will vary, but generally include filing in a small claims court and notifying the tenants of the proceedings. In many cases, the landlord must give the tenants an opportunity to cure, or fix, the reason for the eviction before a judge will order the eviction.


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