Once you’ve found the right apartment, you’ll need to renew your lease when it ends or start the process of apartment hunting over again. Lease renewals are typically a simple process between you and your landlord; however, you’ll want to make sure that both parties agree about the lease renewal terms. Clear communication and advanced planning make the process smooth for both of you. 

Below, we outline everything you need to know about how to renew a lease and answer any questions you may have as you dive in. 

How To Renew a Lease

The lease renewal process is usually simple, but you’ll need to plan in advance to avoid any confusion between you and your landlord or property manager

The following are the basic steps you’ll need to take to renew your lease. While specific situations may differ (especially if you have a private landlord and depending on the laws of your state) most renewals follow the same process. 

  • Understand the terms of your lease. Every apartment community has its own terms and procedures for lease renewals. Your state or city may also have laws specifying how lease renewals should be handled. When you initially sign your lease, take note of your lease expiration date and  renewal terms so there are no surprises down the road. 
  • Know when you have to give an answer. Most leases require you to make a decision about renewal well before your current lease is up. A 60-day notice is standard, but be sure to check your lease — some require you to make a decision even sooner, while others give you more time. 
  • Reach out to your landlord. Once you’ve decided that you’d like to renew, get in touch with your landlord to get the process started. Even if you don’t want to renew, be sure to let them know, so they can plan ahead. 
  • Talk through new terms and pricing changes. It’s normal for rent to increase slightly or for other terms to change from one lease term to the next. So make that the new terms are acceptable and that everyone is on the same page before you commit. Review terms and changes in the lease directly with your landlord before moving forward. 
  • Read your new lease. Your landlord will send a copy of your new lease to read and review. Read it thoroughly, taking note of any changes to make sure you’re okay with them. 
  • Sign and return the lease. Once you’ve reviewed the lease, the final step is to sign it and return it to your landlord before the new term starts. Make a copy for yourself so that you can review it at any time. 
  • Lease renewed! Be sure to make a note of your new lease’s termination date and when you’ll need to give notice for next year. 

Can a Landlord Refuse To Renew Your Lease?

While laws vary from state to state, generally a landlord can choose not to renew your lease. However, most states have anti-discrimination laws regarding lease renewals. Here are some reasons why a landlord might choose to not renew your lease:

  • You have consistently missed rent payments or paid late. 
  • You have not kept the property in acceptable condition. 
  • They have received other complaints about your behavior. 
  • The landlord wants to sell or renovate the property after your lease ends. 

If your landlord refuses to renew your lease or the yearly rent increase is too high for your budget, here’s what to do. 

  • Confirm with the landlord that you will not be staying at the end of your lease and give your 60-day notice if necessary. 
  • Start looking for a new apartment, whether that’s by searching online, hiring a realtor or using word of mouth. 
  • Prepare to move out. Find ways to transport your furniture and other belongings, and be sure to clean up the apartment
  • Get your security deposit back. After you’ve moved out, follow up with the landlord so you don’t miss out on your security deposit refund. 

How To Renew a Lease When You Have Roommates

The process of renewing a lease with roommates can be slightly more complicated — you’ll just need to take a few extra steps to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

Start by talking to your roommates to confirm that they would also like to renew the lease. Then, talk to your landlord together. You’ll both have to sign a new lease in order to renew. Make sure both parties read the lease thoroughly and accept the terms and conditions to avoid confusion. 

Can you Renew a Lease Without a Roommate? 

Even if your roommate doesn’t want to renew the lease, you still have options. You can opt to renew the lease on your own, but you will be responsible for paying all of the rent, including your former roommate’s portion. If you can’t cover rent for the entire apartment, you’ll need to look for a new roommate to move in with you. If you opt to go this route, your new roommate will need to be approved by your landlords

What is a Normal Fee for a Lease Renewal? 

Luckily, there generally aren’t any fees associated with lease renewals. This is because landlords typically want to encourage residents to stay from year to year, so they want to make the process as simple as possible. However, it is normal for rent to increase slightly to keep up with local property values and operating expenses. 

How Long Do You Have To Sign a Lease Renewal? 

This varies from landlord to landlord — be sure to ask them how long you have to sign when they send you the new lease. Some will give you just a few days, while others might give you a week or more. 

Renewing Your Lease is Easy at Southern Management

At Southern Management, we make it easy to find the right apartment and renew your lease year after year. Our portfolio features properties throughout the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas and truly has something for everyone. Explore our communities today.