Can you ask a tenant to leave without a reason?

Property Management Blog

As a landlord, there are times and tenants when you feel enough is enough and wish they left your rental property at any cost. There are all sorts of tenants form those who are wilful defaulters and those who are complaining and whining all the time. But there are also times when you want some tenants to move out of your property because you want to upgrade the property. Some landlords get a great offer for their property and they wish to get out of this business with some cash in their hand. Can you legally ask your tenant to move out for any reason? This thought may not have crossed your mind till now, but it is a prudent idea to know the answer to this question. If you thought there was a clear-cut answer to this question, you are in bad luck.

The lease agreement is the most important item

Ask any legal expert and he will most probably say it depends with a nonchalant shrug. The most important thing in this matter is the lease that you have signed with the tenant. This lease clearly states the time period for which it is valid. In most cases, this duration is one year. It is very difficult for you to ask your tenant to move out before the expiry of this term unless he has done something that clearly violates terms of the contract. Non-payment of rent is one of the easiest violations to prove and you can ask the tenant to pack bags and leave.

On the other hand, it is an altogether different situation when you wish to undertake renovation in your rental property and want your tenants out for a while. It is not possible legally to ask them to move out if their lease has not expired. This is because they have legal possession of their units until then. You are free to carry out upgrades in your property once the lease duration is finished as your tenants are bound to leave if their lease has not been renewed for another term.  In fact, your tenants have no option but to leave as their leases have come to an end.

The situation is more favorable for the landlord when he has signed a lease that is on a month to month basis. If you as the landlord choose not to renew the lease at the end of a month, your tenants must leave if you ask them to do so.

Local and state laws

The second most important thing in this matter is the laws of your County and state. In Tennessee, you are free to ask your tenant to leave without citing a reason at the end of the lease term. This is pretty much the equivalent of asking tenants to move for any reason that you have in your mind. It is not that easy outside Tennessee as not all states allow landlords to evict tenants without a reason. In fact, you face many restrictions as a landlord if you want to do so in New York. This is the reason why it is important to understand what your state laws say in this matter before taking any action.

In the end, it is important to know the term of the lease and the state in which the rental property is situated before asking your tenants to move out at the expiry of the lease. Unless and until you have a valid reason and even then, you need a court order to ask your tenants to move out of your property.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty. 

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