A reader has written to express her unhappiness about her landlord’s decision not to renew the lease on a residential property she has rented for a year.
She feels there is no justification for the cancellation of their arrangement.
Her monthly rental is due on the first day of each month and she says she has never paid later than the seventh.
The late payments, she says, occurred only in recent months when her business was a little sluggish. She always informed the landlord when she anticipated being late, and she is up to date with all payments.
See the reader’s question here.
Now she has received notice that the landlord is unwilling to renew the lease. She believes there is insufficient reason for his decision.
As a copy of the lease has not been seen, one can only speculate about the provisions relating to the renewal.
It is, of course, possible that the lease is silent about any provisions relating to renewal.
In such a case, the parties are typically required to agree to a renewal together, and to decide on the provisions covering the rental payable and the length of the renewed term.
The rest of the provisions of the original lease could remain in place, unless the parties make other amendments. Such a renewal is usually required to be in writing.
A lease will often provide for renewal to take place in a specified manner.
If renewal is at the instance of the tenant, the tenant is often required to give notice of the intention to renew well in advance of the termination date of the original term of the lease.
Thus, should no notice of renewal be given by the tenant, the landlord has sufficient time to seek out a new tenant to rent the dwelling, ensuring the continuity of rental income.
Where the lease can be renewed by the tenant, it will often address the rental payable during the renewal term by providing, for example, for an increase by a specified percentage.
The term of renewal could also be predetermined in the lease.
If the lease makes provision for renewal by agreement, the landlord and the tenant will have to agree to extend the period of rental.
This means the renewal is not done merely at the instance of the tenant.
The lease may require that the parties have to finalise negotiations as to the provisions applicable to the renewal period by a certain date.
This will give the landlord sufficient time should the negotiations not result in agreement about renewal.
The lease may provide for other provisions applicable to renewal.
But, in many instances, it will contain a provision stating that no renewal will be permitted if the tenant is in breach of the provisions of the lease.
It is not clear whether the landlord may be relying on such a provision in refusing to entertain a renewal or whether he is obliged to even consider a renewal.
Although this affects the reader, the landlord’s refusal may have nothing to do with her and may be purely as a result of practicalities.
For instance, the landlord may wish to personally occupy the dwelling or make it available to his offspring.
The wording relating to renewal of leases is very important.
Depending on the wording, a tenant could find himself in the same position as this reader – obliged to vacate the dwelling at the behest of the landlord.
It is important to ensure that the wording records the intention of the parties.
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