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A lease can terminate in several ways: by agreement of both parties, when the lease ends, according to state or federal law, or by one of the parties breaching (breaking) the lease. Once the lease terminates, you no longer have a right to possess the premises.


A landlord and a tenant can agree to change or completely terminate a lease at any time. If you have an agreement, be sure you reduce it to writing and have the landlord sign the agreement. This method is especially useful to avoid having a suit filed against you for rent or a claim placed on your credit report. Often, tenants have to move prior to the end of their lease but do not have a legal excuse, and this method (landlord-tenant agreement) resolves the problem without risk or worry. See "Consequences for Terminating Without Excuse."


End of Express Lease erm A main provision of any lease specifies the lease time period. After the lease expires, the landlord-tenant relationship usually continues on a month-to-month basis, unless one of the parties indicates otherwise. Therefore, even if the lease is about to expire, the party wishing to terminate the lease on the expiration date must give a notice of termi- nation as required by the lease. Often, leases require a 30-day notice to terminate the lease but read your lease carefully to know your specific notice requirements. Also, it is a good idea to give notice in writing, regardless of the requirements of your lease. Tenants sometimes lose their security deposits because they fail to give proper notice of termi- nation. See "Security Deposits." A landlord can fail to renew a lease agreement for ANY reason, unless the landlord illegally retaliates or discriminates. See "Exceptions to Failing to Renew or Terminating a Month-to-Month."

Month-to-Month erminations Unless otherwise specified in your lease, either the landlord or you may terminate a month-to-month tenancy for ANY reason (except to retaliate or discriminate) by giving one month's advance notice. For example, if you get into a disagreement with your neighbor after he has a party late at night and you call the landlord to complain, the landlord could ask you to move in 30 days. Although the landlord would not be acting wisely, the landlord could legally terminate the month-to-month lease (or fail to renew your lease at the end of the term). If you failed to move, the landlord would probably succeed in an eviction case.

Unless your lease specifies otherwise, a 30-day notice to terminate can provide for termination on any day of the month, as long as the date of termination is at least one month from the date of the notice. If the notice terminates the tenancy on a day that does not correspond


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