The end of the lease is fast approaching, and you might think that it’s just easy to end this tenancy and begin a new one soon. Not so fast! It’s really important to know all the options for ending a lease and any hangups that can happen. By complying with the procedures of ending a tenancy, this could very well be a painless finale to a great tenancy!

Most of the options allotted to landlords and tenants for ending a tenancy are quite easy: both you and the tenant may decide to end the tenancy at any point in time; or, nearing the end of the agreement term, your tenant may provide a 30 days’ notice to quit stating that they will be vacating the premises at the date of lease expiration.

If the tenant does not provide a notice to quit, intends to continue living on the premises, and you agree to this situation, the lease continues on a month-to-month basis. The difference with a month-to-month tenancy from a regular one is the notice periods to terminate it. When a notice is given by the landlord, you must follow specific instructions based on the past longevity of the tenancy: if the tenant has resided continuously in the the premises for two years or less, the landlord may terminate the month-to-month tenancy by providing at least 60 days’ actual notice; on the other hand, if the tenant has resided continuously for more than two years, the landlord may terminate the month-to-month tenancy by providing at least 90 days’ actual notice. When notice is given by the tenant, they may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by providing 30 days’ written notice to you, the landlord.

Finally, a holdover may occur, which is when your tenant continues in possession of the premises after the agreement term has ended, and you do not agree to this situation. In this case, the tenant must pay double the original monthly rent, computed and prorated for each day that the tenant continues to reside on the premises. The tenant may also be responsible for additional fees and losses by the landlord as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Personal property

Though quite similar to abandoned personal property, property left after a tenant has given a notice to quit or left at the end of the agreement term must be handled differently. As the tenant has given notice of vacating the premises (either before the end of the tenancy or at the end of the tenancy), this removes any liability that you may have as a landlord from disposing the property or any notice that you would be required to give before said disposal.

Grounds for premature termination

Vermont offers a few avenues for each party to terminate the lease before the agreement term is supposed to end. Some of these are unique to a few states like Vermont. You, the landlord, may seek to terminate the tenancy only in the following situations:

  • The tenant or their occupants, guests, or invitees fail to comply with any pre-established terms of conduct and use of property between you and your tenant.
  • The tenant misrepresents any material fact on their rental application.
  • You have contracted to sell the premises, and you’ve provided at least 30 days’ notice to your tenant of when the tenancy will end, per 9 V.S.A. § 4467(d).
  • In other cases as provided by law.

The tenant has their own opportunities for terminating the tenancy:

  • The premises is damaged or destroyed by a fire or another casualty other than by the tenant’s wrongful or negligent acts, to the extent that the premises is substantially impaired from normal use and occupancy.
  • The landlord breached the warranty of habitability as described above.
  • In other cases as provided by law.