Legal-Ease: Ending residential leases; 3-day and 30-day notices


By Lee R. Schroeder - Guest Columnist



Residential (property within which people live) leases are subject to more strict rules than leases involving industrial, commercial or farm property. Those rules include rules on how residential leases can legally end.

Although the law does not prescribe it, most residential leases (leases for houses, apartments, condominiums or mobile homes) begin with a one-year term.

Once the initial one-year term expires, the tenant sometimes stays in the property and continues to pay rent on a month-to-month basis. This is called “holdover tenancy.” Some leases prohibit tenants from holdover tenancy, but if the tenant stays and the landlord does not evict the tenant after the initial term of the lease expires, holdover tenancy is effectively what results.

During the term of a lease (not in holdover tenancy), a landlord is bound to honor the lease and allow a tenant to stay, and the tenant is bound to pay the rent and honor the other terms of the lease. If each side (landlord or tenant) does what he or she is supposed to do under the lease, there is no legal ability for the other party to the lease to terminate the lease.

During the term of the lease or during holdover tenancy, if the tenant does not honor the lease (by not paying rent, not maintaining the property, etc.), the landlord can give the tenant a notice (commonly called a “three-day notice”) to move out of the property within three days of the notice.

If a tenant does not move out of the property within the three days following the date when the landlord gives the 3-day notice to the tenant, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. Properly getting the three-day notice to the tenant and expiration of the three days after the notice is given are both required before a landlord can file and succeed in an eviction lawsuit.

During holdover tenancy, either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the lease arrangement, even if the other party to the lease is doing everything properly. For instance, during holdover tenancy, a landlord may end the lease for any reason or no reason (except, obviously for legally discriminatory reasons).

However, during holdover tenancy, if the landlord is not violating the lease terms, the tenant must give the landlord a notice 30 days before the tenant is released from the responsibility to pay rent and honor the lease.

And, vice versa, during holdover tenancy, if a tenant is paying rent and maintaining the property, the landlord must give the tenant a notice 30 days before the tenant must move out of the property. If a tenant does not move out by the next periodic rent date (the day of the month when rent is due) that is 30 days after the 30-day notice is given, the landlord can then begin the 3-day notice and eviction process.

But, if a tenant gives the landlord a 30-day notice during holdover tenancy, the tenant is released from the lease literally 30 days after the notice is given.

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By Lee R. Schroeder

Guest Columnist

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at Lee@LeeSchroeder.com or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at Lee@LeeSchroeder.com or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

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