Q: 60 days before my tenants’ lease expires, I always send a renewal letter telling them what their options are: they can sign a new lease, they can stay on a month-to-month lease at a higher rental rate, or they can terminate their lease.  Recently, I sent out one of these letters but then started getting complaints about that tenant.  Can I still give notice and terminate the lease, even if I sent out a renewal letter?

A: Yes, until a new lease is signed, you can non-renew a tenant.  You still need to serve a 30-day termination notice, otherwise the lease would roll-over month-to-month.  However, until you sign a new lease, your “renewal letter” is not binding as an offer as it was never accepted and no new lease was signed.  You have a tenant on an expiring lease, which likely by default, will become a month-to-month tenancy unless it is terminated or unless a new lease is signed.  If you no longer want that tenant, you are free to terminate the lease, up to the point you sign a new lease.

By Mark B. Zinman,  Zona Law Group