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Beware the Self-Renewing Lease

Landlords who own smaller properties sometimes use non-standard leases, or have unusual language in lease agreements that can create problems for tenants. A clause that specifies that the lease automatically renews unless the landlord elects to end the tenancy, or receives notice you're terminating, can be problematic when you move out. These clauses force you to be clear about ending your tenancy and surrendering the premises to the landlord. Do this in writing sent by regular mail and certified mail, by the time the lease specifies, or at least thirty days prior to last the day of the lease. Also, when you give back the keys, get a receipt acknowledging that you returned them and are surrendering the premises to the landlord. Otherwise, you may find that the landlord attempts to sue you later on, claiming that you have continued your tenancy even though you're no longer a resident.

Attention New York City Tenants: Get more information on lease renewal matters at the McAdams Law main site here.

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