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What is a Holdover Tenant?

A holdover tenant is a tenant who refuses to leave or pay rent after their lease agreement ended. A roommate who isn't on the lease and stopped paying rent is also a holdover tenant.


A holdover tenant is someone who originally had the right to stay in their rental unit, but after the term of the rental agreement has ended, they won't leave.

In a holdover case, a landlord has two options. They may attempt to establish a new rental agreement with the tenant, or they may pursue an eviction case, citing the tenant as a holdover. If a tenant has overstayed their right to live in a rental unit and is refusing to pay rent you may not want them living there anymore, so evicting could be your best option.

If your tenant has stayed beyond the term of their rental agreement, once you accept a rent payment from them, they are no longer considered a holdover. In order to retain your right to evict a holdover tenant, you must have not accepted any rent payments from the tenant since the lease ended. Some states have specific legal guidelines for how to evict a holdover tenant, but the steps usually follow the same basic structure:

Notice to cure: To begin a holdover case you typically must provide the holdover tenant with a certain amount of notice to fix the problem. This is commonly referred to as "notice to cure." After you give notice, then the holdover tenant could decide to start a new lease with you and pay you rent.

Notice to vacate: If the notice period comes to a close and the tenant has not paid rent, then you need to provide a notice to vacate. A notice to vacate must always include a date by which the tenant needs to lease. The date in the notice must allow the tenant one full month to leave the unit.

Going to court: If the tenant still does not vacate the unit after the second notice period passes, an eviction proceeding must be initiated in court. In the trial, the judge may rule that the tenant owes rent payments for they days they occupied the unit without a right to do so.

As with any eviction proceeding, you need to make sure you follow the law closely - you never have the right to use self-help eviction measures, like changing the locks, even if the tenant has overstayed their welcome.


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