Examine your tenant agreements once a year to ensure you do not miss out on an opportunity to revise terms, adjust regulations, or increase the rent. More information may be found here.

What you will discover:

When and how should I do a lease review?
Can I add additional provisions to an existing Lease Agreement?
Can I renew a lease that has already expired?
Is it permissible to sign a Lease Amendment or Lease Renewal Agreement online if the original was not signed electronically?
What should I do if my tenant refuses to sign a Lease Renewal Agreement or a Lease Amendment?

Landlords and property managers may wish to evaluate their Lease Agreements before the new year, or at the start of the year, to see whether they need any modifications or revisions. Local and state regulations vary, and other lease conditions, such as rent, may be required for revision. A year-end assessment may assist landlords in determining whether to arrange maintenance, renewals, or adjustments. Here are some frequently asked questions to assist you determine how and when to revise a lease.

When and how should I do a lease review?

A landlord should examine a lease at least 60 to 90 days before it ends. Allow yourself adequate time, even many months, to study the conditions and offer adjustments. If your lease does not expire for many months, you may make a timetable with reminders and deadlines.

Starting early allows you to get anything signed or tell the renter if they need to leave before the present lease expires or is up for renewal. Electronic signatures may be an efficient, safe, and legal tool if you are short on time or just want to make the procedure simpler.

Consider the following points while considering a lease:

The length of the lease and the date of renewal.
Rent costs.
The property includes services.
Rent is due on the due day.
The amount of the security deposit.
Specifics about the repayment of the security deposit.
Conditions for terminating the lease early.
Responsibilities for utilities.
Rights may be assigned or rented.

You should also think about occupancy laws, such as how many people may reside in the home and if they have to be related or not. You should study the lease for limitations and consider if you want to make adjustments, such as prohibiting smoking inside or allowing pets. Consider move-in checklists and move-out obligations, such as what constitutes wear-and-tear or damage and what the renter is required to clean.

You may also need to study the distinction between your own obligations, such as lawn care, repairs, maintenance, and paying for certain utilities, and those of the tenant, such as noise control, keeping the property clean, and waste and recycling removal.

Can I add additional provisions to an existing Lease Agreement?

Yes, you may alter a Lease Agreement with new provisions, but you may need to notify the renter ahead of time and get a signed Lease Amendment. Existing tenants may often change their leases with new terms when they expire, renew, or after giving notice.

You may propose modifications to a Lease Agreement in a Lease Amendment at any time throughout the lease period, or you can wait until the existing lease ends. Some leases may contain clauses that allow the landlord to amend some provisions of the lease, such as forbidding the blocking of exits in all common areas to ensure all tenants may safely evacuate the building in an emergency.

Tenants may also recommend changes to the Lease Agreement. They may wish to add a roommate or a pet, transfer their lease to a new renter, or change utility companies. In most cases, both the renter and the landlord must agree to the new conditions. If they do not agree, the Lease Agreement is typically unchangeable.

It is typically straightforward to update a lease. You have the option of signing a new lease or a Lease Amendment. The second option is more popular since it does not need the termination of the initial lease. It is more akin to adding a new part to the lease.

If you modify certain provisions in the addendum, such as permitting dogs when the original lease prohibited them, make those changes explicit in the new agreement. Any revised or altered lease conditions should be in writing and signed by both the landlord and the renters.

It is also critical to understand your state’s rules about when renters must provide notice if they want to leave. It might vary from 30 to 90 days depending on the state.

Can I renew a lease that has already expired?

When a lease term expires, the Lease Agreement expires, and a tenant must normally evacuate after being advised to do so by their landlord. If a landlord takes rent from a tenant after the initial lease ends, the agreement becomes a month-to-month lease in most jurisdictions. The existing lease conditions continue to apply, but the duration and notice requirements may vary. For example, the tenant may be required to notify the landlord just 30 days before moving out instead of 90 days. If a landlord takes rent after a lease ends, it automatically renews with the same conditions and length of time as the original lease in a few states.

After a lease ends or becomes month-to-month, it may be renewed or changed. Depending on the conditions of the expired lease and if both the landlord and tenant agree, a new lease or an amendment may be necessary. If the initial lease states that it may be renewed without notice after it expires, the original lease can often be extended month to month.

There may be stringent restrictions to what may be modified in certain locations where legal safeguards for tenants are particularly strong. Before making modifications in these areas, it is a good idea to get legal counsel.

Is it permissible to sign a Lease Amendment or Lease Renewal Agreement online if the original was not signed electronically?

Yes, it is allowed to sign a Lease Agreement or Lease Renewal Agreement electronically, even if the original was not signed electronically.

Electronic signatures have grown in popularity because they are easy, secure, and save time and money. Electronic signatures are virtually always legally binding and just as good as handwritten signatures under the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, which Congress approved in 2000.

What should I do if my tenant refuses to sign a Lease Renewal Agreement or a Lease Amendment?

If a tenant refuses to sign a Lease Renewal Agreement or a Lease Amendment, eviction may be a possibility, but it depends on the circumstances. When a lease ends, landlords may choose whether or not to renew it. Tenants who refuse to sign a Lease Renewal Agreement are usually issued notice to vacate. The period of notice necessary varies by state, for example, 30 days or 90 days. It may be determined by the duration of the lease.

A landlord cannot normally remove a tenant for refusing to sign a Lease Amendment or addendum, but they may issue them a Notice of Non-Renewal, which states that the lease will not be renewed. If they do not leave after getting the notice, they may face eviction. If eviction is not feasible, for example, due to local rent control rules, a landlord may nevertheless be allowed to increase the rent on an annual basis.

Landlords might also agree on a plan with their renters. However, once a signed Lease Agreement is in place, both parties must normally agree to amend the conditions. Changes must usually be made in writing, and signatures are nearly always necessary.

Legal Help CTA