Complete Lease Extension Guide for Landlords and Renters

Learn about the process, benefits, considerations, and steps of extending a lease agreement.

By
Nichole Stohler
|
Last Updated
October 13, 2023
Complete Lease Extension Guide for Landlords and Renters

Do you have a lease ending soon? Before it expires, learn how to request a lease extension, whether you're a renter wanting to stay put or a landlord hoping to retain a tenant.

This article provides renters and landlords a comprehensive guide to navigating lease extensions. Discover the best timing for requesting an extension and what to include in a new lease agreement, such as the term length, rent amount, and any revisions to existing terms.

Get insights into the benefits for both parties and how to reach a fair lease extension agreement. With this must-read guide, tenants and landlords alike can learn how to renew an expiring lease smoothly.

Understanding the lease extension

A lease extension means extending a lease agreement beyond its original end date. It allows tenants to keep living in the property while landlords maintain a steady rental income.

However, landlords and tenants cannot extend all lease agreements, so it's important to understand the process before asking for one.

To extend a lease, check the remaining time on the original lease, consider the market and property value, and negotiate any changes in rent. Make sure the previous lease agreement allows for extensions before making a request.

Landlord considerations for a lease extension agreement

When a tenant's lease ends, it presents an opportunity to assess your choices and possibilities before extending a new lease agreement. Here are some considerations:

Tenant screening: Although you have already conducted an initial screening on the tenant, it can be advantageous to periodically reevaluate their history and conduct to see if you would like to offer a lease extension.

Rent adjustment: The expiration of the original lease agreement provides an opportunity to make rent adjustments. Conduct market research and assess property value to determine fair rent increases.

Tenant relations: Offering lease renewal options is a strategic approach that can greatly enhance tenant satisfaction and foster long-term tenant relationships.

Renewal incentives: If you determine that a lease extension is the best path, consider offering incentives for the tenant to renew. Incentives could include offering to improve the property, like new appliances, fresh paint, or upgraded fixtures, and flexible lease terms, such as allowing pets.

Tenant rights: Respect tenant rights and comply with laws governing tenant-landlord relationships during the lease renewal, such as fair housing laws and anti-discrimination regulations.

Documentation: Maintain evidence of the lease extension agreement. It provides evidence of the terms agreed upon during the lease extension and prevents misunderstandings and disputes.

Pros and cons of lease extension agreements

When considering whether to extend a lease, familiarizing yourself with the pros and cons of doing so will help in your decision-making process.

Pros

  • Lease extension agreements bring stability and continuity for tenants and landlords, eliminating the uncertainty of finding a new place to rent.
  • Tenants benefit by avoiding the hassle and costs of moving, such as hiring movers or paying security deposits.
  • Landlords enjoy a reliable income stream and avoid the efforts and expenses of finding new tenants.
  • A lease extension agreement promotes a positive landlord-tenant relationship, leading to smoother communication and efficient coordination.
  • Tenants can continue enjoying the convenience of being close to work, schools, or amenities.
  • Landlords have more time for rental property improvement plans or future developments.
  • Lease extension agreements provide legal protection, clarifying rights, responsibilities, and expectations.

Cons

  • Negotiating the terms of a lease extension can be complex and time-consuming.
  • Tenants may face higher rent prices due to rapidly increasing market rates.

When should you use a lease extension agreement?

If both the landlord and tenant mutually agree to extend the terms of a current lease beyond its expiration date, it triggers a lease extension agreement. This agreement can be advantageous for both parties involved, including:

  1. The tenant has been reliable, pays rent on time, and takes good care of the property, so the landlord wants to continue the rental relationship.
  2. The tenant likes the property and wishes to stay longer without going through the process of finding a new place to live.
  3. There are unfavorable market conditions for finding new tenants, and the landlord prefers to retain the current tenant.

Start discussing a lease extension well before the current lease expires to allow for ample negotiation and preparation time.

What types of leases typically get extended?

Different leases are extended based on specific circumstances between landlords and tenants. Here are some common residential lease types that are extended:

Residential leases

Leases for homes, like apartments, houses, or condos, often get extended. If tenants want to stay in their current home, they can talk to the landlord about extending the lease.

Lease-to-own agreements

In lease-to-own agreements, tenants can buy the property they are currently leasing in the future. The tenant can talk with the landlord about extending the lease to give them enough time for financing and other important preparations.

Steps to extend a lease agreement

If both parties express interest in extending the lease agreement, follow these steps to extend it with ease:

Review the current lease

Go through your original agreement. Remember to pay attention to the duration of the lease, significant dates, and any particular terms or conditions connected to extending the lease.

Communicate with the other party

If you're a tenant and want to extend your lease, talk to your landlord about it. Let them know your intentions and see if they can extend the lease. If you're a landlord, contact your tenant to discuss extending the lease.

Negotiate terms

Both parties negotiate terms when extending a lease. The negotiation may include discussing the new term, rent changes, maintenance responsibilities, and other important conditions.

Seek legal advice

If the lease extension is complex or you need clarification on the real estate laws, seek advice from a qualified real estate or tenancy attorney. They can help make sure the extension agreement is legally sound and protects both parties' interests.

Draft a lease extension agreement

Draft a written lease extension agreement that includes the discussed terms. This agreement should contain details, including the updated lease term, rental amount, any modifications to the original lease, and additional provisions agreed upon by both parties.

Sign and execute the agreement

After finalizing the lease extension agreement, both parties should sign and execute the document. It's a good idea for the landlord and tenant to keep copies of the signed agreement.

Register or record the extension

The landlord may need to register the lease extension with the appropriate local government agency or land registry office in certain areas. In New York, for instance, registration is mandatory for rent-controlled buildings.

Check local laws and regulations to determine requirements for your area.

Update relevant parties

To smooth the transition, notify all relevant parties about the lease extension, such as the property manager, management companies, utility providers, and insurance companies. The notification process makes sure that everyone is aware of the lease renewal.

Areas to include in a lease extension agreement

A lease extension agreement template typically includes the following information:

Parties involved: To extend the lease, include the full names, addresses, and contact information of both the landlord and the tenant. It allows you to identify the parties involved in the extension.

Property details: Provide a detailed description of the property, including the complete address, unit number if available, and any other important information that uniquely identifies the location.

Extension term: Indicate the specified period or length for the extended lease. It could be a set period, or it could be without a particular end. Make sure to clearly state the start and end date (if there is one) for the extended lease term.

Rent adjustments: The agreement should state the new rent payment terms. Specify the exact rent amount, the payment frequency, such as monthly or quarterly, and any potential rent increases or adjustments during the extended lease period.

It is also important to provide instructions on making rent payments and outline any penalties or fees for late payments.

Maintenance responsibilities: During the extended lease period, the landlord and the tenant have specific obligations regarding property maintenance, repairs, and upkeep.

Routine maintenance tasks, like lawn care or snow removal, are typically the tenant's responsibility. On the other hand, major repairs or structural issues usually fall under the landlord's domain.

Have a procedure for reporting maintenance requests and resolving disputes. It assures both parties know their responsibilities and can promptly and fairly address any concerns.

Utilities and services: Provide details on who will be responsible for utility payments during the lease extension. Specify if all utilities, including water, electricity, gas, and internet, will be included in the rent or if the tenant will assume responsibility.

If any utilities are the tenant's responsibility, provide instructions on how to set up and transfer utility accounts.

Termination provisions: Refer to the lease extension agreement for the conditions that allow either party to end the lease earlier than the agreed-upon end date. These conditions may include violations like breach of contract, unpaid rent, or lease violations.

The lease extension agreement includes the notice requirements, penalties, and consequences of termination.

Renewal options: The new lease agreement should include options to extend or renew the lease beyond the current extension. It might cover information on how and when a landlord or tenant has the option to renew.

Modifications or addendums: Indicate any extra terms or changes in the original lease agreement when extending the lease. This may include new pet policies, parking arrangements, or use restrictions. All parties should understand the new or different terms of the lease extension.

Difference between a lease renewal agreement and a lease extension agreement

  • Lease renewal refers to signing a completely new lease agreement after the current lease expires. The landlord and tenant negotiate and agree upon new terms, including monthly rent amount changes, lease duration, or other provisions. The lease renewals start with a fresh tenancy with updated terms. This process involves signing a new lease document.
  • A lease extension extends the existing lease agreement for a specific period without creating an entirely new lease. It can be more straightforward, since it requires an amendment to the original lease. The extension has the new end date of the lease, but the other terms and conditions are the same as stated in the original lease.

Lease extension agreement

Lease extensions give tenants security and stability while providing landlords with a steady rental income. Understanding how lease extensions work and their benefits helps tenants and landlords decide the next step at the end of the original lease.

Whether you're a tenant looking for continuity or a landlord aiming for easier property management, lease extensions can be a valuable solution. Seek professional advice, communicate openly, and negotiate terms that work for everyone.

Lease extension FAQs

How do I write a letter to my landlord to extend my lease?

To write a letter to your landlord to extend your lease:

  1. Start by clearly stating your request for a lease extension in the first paragraph.
  2. Provide reasons for your request and propose new lease terms, including the extended duration.
  3. Close the letter expressing appreciation for their consideration and include your contact information for further discussion.

Does a lease need to be notarized?

Leases usually don't need notarization to be legally binding. However, the rules for notarization can differ depending on where you live and your specific situation.

Even though notarizing a lease may not be required, some landlords or property companies might choose this approach to add extra security by confirming everyone's identity and validating that signatures are real.

How long can you extend a lease?

Lease extensions can have different durations based on the lease type and agreement between the parties. Auto leases typically allow extensions for up to 12 months.

However, depending on negotiation, extension lengths can vary from a few months to several years for residential and commercial leases. Review the rental lease agreement and local laws to understand any limitations on extensions.

Nichole Stohler

Nichole co-founded Gateway Private Equity Group, with a history of investments in single-family and multi-family properties, and now a specialization in hotel real estate investments. She is also the creator of NicsGuide.com, a blog dedicated to real estate investing.

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