My tenant’s lease expired two months ago. He continued to pay rent and I accepted the rent. Now I wonder about our status as landlord and tenant. Did the lease just automatically renew when he paid rent?

If a tenant stays past the lease expiration date, the tenant has held over. Your state or city may address the issue of a tenant holding over by statute or ordinance. If so, you will be governed by what the statute or ordinance says. Your lease may have a clause that addresses holdover and appropriate measures that can be taken to remedy the situation and if not add such a clause. If the lease clause is compliant with applicable laws, the lease is the defining document that governs the issue. You should review your lease for what you and the tenant signed for terms and conditions.

In general, for most states, if a tenant stays past lease expiration date but pays rent which the landlord accepts, the offer and acceptance of rent creates a new oral month-to-month lease between landlord and tenant on the terms set out in the expired lease agreement. You will not be able to change rental terms and conditions without giving the tenant proper notice as required by law, usually 30 days. You could belatedly draw a new lease to present to the tenant. If the tenant does not choose to accept the offer, the month-to-month agreement will continue under the old lease terms until you deliver a notice of termination to the tenant according to the requirements of your state.

However in some states it may be that you and the tenant have created a new lease with the same terms and conditions that were in the old lease. In that case you have automatically renewed the lease. You and the tenant will be bound to the new lease for the duration of the lease term.

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