Lease Terms And Automatic Renewal Clauses

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab
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About Lease Terms And Automatic Renewal Clauses

This resource explains that lease terms are the conditions and rules agreed upon between a landlord and tenant when renting a property. These terms cover important details like how long the lease will last, when rent is due, who is responsible for maintenance, and more. It also mentions that some leases have automatic renewal clauses, which means the lease will continue for another term unless one party gives notice to end it. These clauses outline the rules for renewal and any changes that may happen. Having these clauses helps both the landlord and tenant know what to expect when the initial lease period ends.

What You Need To Know

Lease terms define the conditions and provisions agreed upon in a lease agreement between a landlord and tenant. These terms cover various aspects of the rental arrangement and help establish the rights and responsibilities of both parties. It is important to clearly outline the lease terms in a lease agreement. This includes specifying the initial lease terms, any automatic renewal provisions, notice requirements for termination or non-renewal, rent payment terms, security deposit details, maintenance and responsibilities, and any other important conditions. 

One important aspect of lease terms is the inclusion of automatic renewal clauses. These clauses determine whether the lease will automatically extend for another term without requiring explicit action from either the landlord or the tenant. When an automatic renewal clause is present, it outlines the conditions under which the lease will continue such as the length of the renewal period (e.g., month-to-month or a specific timeframe) and any changes that may occur during the renewal period, such as adjustments to the rent amount. Additionally, automatic renewal clauses specify the notice requirements for terminating or not renewing a lease. This means that either the landlord or the tenant must provide written notice within a specific timeframe if they wish to end the lease or prevent its automatic renewal. 

By including automatic renewal clauses in the lease agreement, both the landlord and the tenant have a clear understanding of whether the lease will continue beyond its initial term and what conditions will apply during the renewal period.

Lease terms can vary depending on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. Lease terms refer to the specific conditions and provisions outlined in a rental agreement between a landlord and a tenant. These terms can cover various aspects of the rental arrangement, including rent payment, duration of the lease, security deposits, and other responsibilities of both parties. 

  • Written Lease: Louisiana law does not require a written lease agreement for tenancies, but it is highly recommended to have a written document to clearly outline the terms and protect the rights of both the landlord and the tenant. 

  • Lease Duration: The lease term typically falls into two categories: a fixed-term lease or a month-to-month lease. A fixed-term lease has a specified duration, such as 6 months or 1-year, and both the landlord and the tenant are bound by the terms for that period. A month-to-month lease continues indefinitely until either party provides proper notice to terminate the tenancy. 

  • Rent Payment: The lease should clearly state the amount of rent, the due date, and acceptable payment methods. It’s important to note that Louisiana does not have any specific laws regarding late fees, so it’s advisable to include any late fee charges in the lease agreement. 

  • Security Deposit: Louisiana law does not impose a limit on the amount landlords can charge for a security deposit. The lease should specify the amount of the security deposit, the conditions for its refund, and the timeframe for returning it after the tenant moves out. 

  • Maintenance and Repairs: The lease agreement should outline the responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant regarding maintenance and repairs. Landlords are generally responsible for maintaining the habitability of the rental unit and ensuring that essential services, such as plumbing and heating, are in working order. Tenants are typically responsible for reporting any necessary repairs and keeping the unit clean and undamaged.

  • Termination and Renewal: The lease should specify the notice period required for termination or non-renewal of the lease. Fixed-term leases, usually end automatically at the agreed-upon date, while month-to-month leases may require written notice from either party to terminate.

  • Addenda and Disclosures: Additional provisions and disclosures may be added to the lease agreement as needed. For example, if the property was built before 1978, federal law requires disclosure of potential lead-based paint hazards.

The lease agreement may specify a notice period within which either party must provide notice if they wish to terminate the lease. An automatic renewal clause is a provision in the lease agreement that allows the lease to be automatically extended for another term if neither the landlord nor the tenant takes action to terminate the lease at the end of its initial term. The lease agreement should specify the duration of the renewal term, which could be the same as the initial term or a different period agreed upon by both parties. Automatic renewal clauses require that the landlord or the tenant provide notice within a specified timeframe if they wish to terminate the lease. The lease agreement should outline the conditions under which the automatic renewal clause can be terminated, including specific procedures or requirements.

A renewal period refers to a specific timeframe during which a lease can be extended or continued. It's like an option that tenants have as part of their lease agreement. When the renewal period comes up, the tenant can choose to renew or extend their lease for another period of time, usually with the same terms and conditions as the original lease. It gives the tenant the opportunity to continue renting the property without having to move out and find a new place to live.

Different types of lease agreements have different renewal periods: 

  1. Full Term: Some leases automatically renew for the same duration as the original lease. For example, if you have a one-year lease that ends on December 31, it will automatically renew for another full year unless you or the landlord give written notice to end it. You usually need to provide notice at least 30 days before the current lease expires.

  2. Month-to-Month: Some leases are on a month-to-month basis, as agreed upon in the lease agreement. If the lease doesn't specify a duration, it is assumed to be month-to-month. In this case, either you or the landlord can terminate or change the lease terms with ten days written notice before the end of the month.

  3. Fixed Term: A fixed-term lease has a specific agreed-upon duration, which is often one year but can be any period of time stated in the agreement (up to 99 years). The lease ends automatically at the agreed-upon date without the need for notice.

  4. Without a Renewal Clause: If a lease doesn't have a specific term and is considered indeterminate, it will terminate when either party gives written notice. If you continue living in the apartment for one week after the lease expires and there is no renewal clause, it will automatically renew on a month-to-month basis. Any changes to the lease terms in this case require ten days' written notice before the end of the monthly period.

It’s important to review your lease agreement and understand the specific terms and conditions that apply to your situation.

Year-long leases do not automatically convert to month-to-month leases under Louisiana law unless explicitly specified in the lease agreement or agreed upon by both the landlord and tenant. Therefore, under default circumstances, the lease would end at the expiration of the fixed-term lease, and the tenant would be required to vacate the property or negotiate a new lease with the landlord.

It's important to carefully review the lease agreement to understand the specific terms and conditions outlined therein, as they will dictate what happens at the end of the initial lease term. If the lease agreement includes an automatic conversion to a month-to-month lease, then the tenancy would indeed continue on a month-to-month basis, and the notice requirements for ending the lease would remain the same as stated in the original lease agreement. However, if the lease agreement does not address automatic conversion or month-to-month terms, then the lease would not automatically convert, and the tenant would need to discuss options with the landlord for a potential renewal or termination.

Automatic renewal clauses may include addressing potential rent adjustments during the renewal period.  These adjustments can be based on factors such as market rates or predetermined increases outlined in the lease agreement. Disputes can occur if there is no agreement on the method of determining the new rent or if the proposed rent increase is considered unreasonable by the tenant.

  1. Begin with the Parties: Start the lease agreement by clearly identifying the landlord and the tenant, including their full names and contact information.
  2. Lease Term: Specify the initial term of the lease, such as one year, and indicate the start and end dates of the lease agreement.

  3. Automatic Renewal Clause: If you want to include an automatic renewal clause, clearly state that the lease will automatically renew for subsequent periods unless either party provides written notice to terminate or not renew. Specify the length of each renewal period, such as month-to-month or another fixed term, and any changes in rent or other terms that may apply during the renewal period.

  4. Notice Requirements: Clearly define the notice requirements for termination or non-renewal. Specify the number of days of advance notice that must be given by either party, such as 30 days before the end of the lease term or renewal period.

  5. Rent and Payment Terms: Outline the amount of rent, the due date, acceptable payment methods, and any late fee charges or penalties for missed payments.

  6. Security Deposit: Specify the amount of the security deposit required, how it will be held, and the conditions for its refund at the end of the tenancy.

  7. Maintenance and Repairs: Define the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant regarding maintenance and repairs, including who is responsible for specific repairs and how they should be reported.

  8. Alterations and Modifications: Clearly state whether the tenant is allowed to make any alterations or modifications to the property, and if so, under what conditions and with prior written consent from the landlord.

  9. Other Terms and Conditions: Include any additional terms and conditions that are important to both parties, such as rules regarding pets, subletting, or noise restrictions.

  10. Signature and Date: Provide spaces for the landlord and tenant to sign and date the lease agreement, indicating their agreement to the outlined terms
Last Review and Update: Jun 20, 2023
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