No. 1 – easy peasy! The lease is already ending so you don’t have to do anything, right? Unfortunately, not.
PA law requires landlords to send a Notice to Vacate at least 15 days, for month to month tenants, and 30 days, for 1 year + leases, prior to the move out date. So, in essence, the biggest why is that it’s basically the law….
Also, most states, including Pennsylvania as I write, automatically converts into a month to month lease if a renewal is not signed, unless specifically stated otherwise on the executed lease. The month to month lease will continue under the same conditions stated on the original signed lease until it is terminated by you or the tenant.
Keep in mind, your tenant may not be as organized as you undoubtedly are… so they may not even realize their lease has ended. Imagine their surprise when you show up with your move out inspection checklist, the subsequent argument, and delay for you, that will ensue!
Moral of the story: send a Lease Termination Letter.
No. 2 – but I’m selling a house in bad condition, so I need to get the tenant out quickly to renovate, and not when their lease ends in 3 months!
Here’s where you may need to get a bit creative. Either you have a reasonable, good tenant, or you have 99 problems and a tenant is one.
In the case of reasonable tenants, you may be able to negotiate a lease termination or transfer, by offering their last month free or another great location that meets their needs.
In the case of problem tenants, the second condition under the legal ways to break the lease works in your favor. Be sure to have a strong lease in place from the beginning (more on this in just a bit), so that you can utilize this opportunity.
Thorough documentation is another organization skill that comes in handy! Keep record of all breach of lease occurrences. Send formal notices via certified mail requesting them to cease, even for minor infractions. That way, if your tenant continues to cause issues, you have a clear path on how to end a lease early.
No. 3 – great, now they won’t pay!
Having a tenant who refuses to pay rent in a timely fashion, if at all, can be very frustrating. If a tenant is habitually late with rent, each occurrence may be considered a breach of lease, which provides you an out to end the lease early.
That is a good example of how to prepare a strong lease. Review with your attorney permissible language to terminate a lease early if X amount of late payments occurs.
However, if your tenant refuses to pay rent altogether, I suggest at that point to just send off a Notice to Quit to begin the eviction clock.
If all else fails, check out this article on how to sell a house fast in Philadelphia with tenants for further solutions.