HOLDOVER TENANT: How To Handle a Holdover Tenant

holdover tenant

The majority of tenants either leave at the conclusion of their lease or sign on for another year. However, some tenants continue to live in their apartments after their lease expires and are referred to as “holdover tenants.” When this occurs, landlords have the option of either evicting them or accepting the rent and allowing them to continue as month-to-month tenants. In this article, we’ll define a holdover tenant, and then explain the holdover tenant laws in Texas, California, and Florida.

What Is a Holdover Tenant?

A holdover tenant is a renter who stays in a property after the lease expires. If the landlord continues to take rent payments, the holdover tenant can continue to legally occupy the property, and the length of the holdover renter’s new rental term is determined by state laws and court judgments. If the landlord refuses to accept more rent payments, the tenant is regarded to be trespassing, and if they do not leave promptly, an eviction may be required.

More specifically, it is a tenant that refuses to leave despite the landlord’s request. (If a landlord does not ask a tenant to leave, the tenant is not deemed a holdover.)

What a Holdover Tenancy Isn’t

The contrast between holdover tenancy, tenancy at will, and periodic tenancy is a major source of confusion. Confusion is exacerbated by the fact that many people in the real estate sector use these terms interchangeably. However, the legal distinction between them is complex and far from insignificant.

Tenancy At Will

This is when a tenant stays on the premises with the landlord’s permission. This is often a verbal agreement, with either party having the option to terminate it at any time. The terms of a tenancy at will are straightforward. And everything is good as long as both sides follow fundamental landlord-tenant laws.

Periodic Tenancy

This is a tenancy with no specified end date. The lease just runs indefinitely until both the tenant and the landlord sign a formal agreement. Periodic tenancy often happens when either side fails to provide adequate notice of a change, or when the landlord continues to collect rent after the lease has officially expired.

Holdover Tenant Rights

Holdover tenants have a tenancy at sufferance. The term “sufferance” refers to the absence of opposition in the absence of actual acceptance, and a tenancy at sufferance is the inverse of a tenancy-at-will, in which a tenant occupies the property with the owner’s consent but without a documented contract or lease. Tenancy at sufferance, on the other hand, refers to holdover tenants from an expired lease who no longer have permission from the landlord to remain in the property but have not yet been evicted. When a landlord seeks to evict you as a holdover tenant, they must normally serve you with a notice of termination; but, as previously stated, this is governed by the state and so varies from state to state. The holdover proceeding is triggered by the notice. A notice of termination must be served in the following conditions in New York State: 

  • Your lease expired, yet the landlord/owner has continued to collect rent from you.
  • You do not have a signed lease, yet you pay rent every month.
  • Even though your lease is not up, the landlord/owner wishes to evict you.
  • You live in rent-controlled housing.
  • You are eligible for Section 8 assistance.
  • It is required by your lease.

Two Alternatives for a Landlord

You have two main options for dealing with a holdover tenant if you don’t have a tenancy at will or a periodic lease. You may:

Permit the tenant to remain. You may elect to continue accepting rent payments from the tenant and enable them to remain on the property. This changes the relationship to a periodic tenancy, and you can no longer pursue eviction. (This assumes the tenant pays.)

Begin the eviction procedure. If you no longer want the tenant on the property, you can begin the eviction process (treating the holdover tenant as a trespasser). If you go this way, you must take extremely particular actions. Before pursuing this alternative, you should get the advice of competent legal counsel.

How Do You Handle a Holdover Tenant in Florida? 

Section 83.58 of the Florida Statutes allows an owner to demand double rent for the duration of the holdover tenant’s possession of the property. Section 83.59 of the Florida Statutes allows the owner to reclaim ownership of the property by filing a complaint in the relevant county court.

In general, before instituting an action to evict a tenant and reclaim possession, a landlord must provide the tenant with a specific length of notice (ex: 3 days for failure to pay rent). The same criteria do not apply to a possession action brought against a holdover tenant. When a lease is officially canceled and the tenant refuses to deliver possession of the property, the landlord may take legal action to regain ownership.

Though the process is more streamlined in this sense, there may still be complications when attempting to evict a holdover tenant. For example, it is critical to check that the lease has been lawfully canceled. If the lease has not expired, the individual is most likely not a holdover tenant. The process, like any legal subject, can be complicated. It is advisable to seek legal counsel from an attorney to guarantee that your case is handled appropriately the first time.

California Holdover Tenant Laws

Tenants in California have the right to stay in their rented homes after their lease expires. However, a landlord in California is not usually required to allow a holdover tenant to remain.

Tenants that stay past the end of their lease may be evicted.

If a tenant stays in their flat after the lease expiration date without the landlord’s permission, they are considered a holdover tenant (also known as a “tenant at sufferance”). A landlord can file an eviction action (or, as it is known in California, an “unlawful detainer”) against a holdover tenant without first delivering notice to quit, which helps to speed up the process.

A holdover tenant may also be held accountable for both rent and damages during the period in which they have breached their lease.

If a landlord takes to rent, holdover tenants become month-to-month.

If a tenant continues to pay rent after their lease expires and their landlord accepts it, they are no longer a sufferance tenant. Instead, they commonly sign a month-to-month lease. If the original lease required rent to be paid every six months, for example, the holdover tenant might still pay for the next six months in advance and would not be entering a month-to-month tenancy. This would result in a six-month fixed-term tenancy.

A tenant cannot establish a new month-to-month tenancy simply by sending a rent check; the landlord must accept the rent check.

During this new tenancy, just the lease’s fundamental provisions apply.

Despite the fact that they have formally engaged in a new month-to-month tenancy, the tenant must continue to abide by the terms of their old lease (unless the tenant and landlord mutually agree to change them, of course). However, courts have determined that only the basic conditions of the original lease, such as the amount of rent and when it is due, transfer over. 

Landlords might raise the rent for reoccurring tenants.

A lease usually specifies the amount of rent that a tenant must pay and accounts for any annual increases. When a lease expires, landlords can raise the rent for a holdover tenant. Commercial rent hikes of 150 percent have been determined to be enforceable in California courts because the tenant could choose to leave the unit rather than pay the increased rent. 

Tips for Landlords in Texas on How to Handle a Holdover Tenant Effectively

Are you certain you have a holdover tenant? What you’ll have to do is as follows:

#1. Hold a Discussion

While you’ve undoubtedly had chats with the holdover tenant, it’s time for one more. Leave your emotions at the door and communicate with empathy. You must, nevertheless, be firm. Inform the tenant of what is about to happen and encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity to depart. If it hasn’t already worked, your odds of influencing the tenant to quit are limited. It’s worth a shot, though.

#2. Make a cash offer in exchange for the keys

You could offer to pay for keys during your talk with your tenant. Simply said, this is an offer in which you pay the tenant a sum of money in exchange for moving out and giving over the keys.

A pay-for keys offer can be a gut punch, but you must overcome your pride. If the eviction process would cost several thousand dollars (not to mention lost rent during that time), a $200 or $500 payment is nothing.

#3. Distribute the Appropriate Notices

If the holdover tenant rejects your cash for keys offer, it’s time to serve them with the appropriate notices. Typically, this includes:

A Notice to Cure is a formal notice to rectify the problem. Your tenant has the option to make the payment and form a new lease after receiving this notice. However, if no response is received, the landlord is free to begin the hunt for a new tenant.

A Notice to Evacuate, which requires the tenant to vacate the premises (legally speaking). Typically, this notice provides the tenant one month to vacate the premises.

Once you’ve served these notices, you’re officially on the verge of being evicted. Despite the fact that a large chunk of the process remains.

#4. Present the Case in Court

If the tenant does not comply with the Notice to Vacate, the eviction process can begin. This necessitates taking the case to court and filing for eviction. During a trial, the court notifies the tenant of the eviction and orders the tenant to vacate. The court may also order the tenant to pay rent for the whole holdover term.

If the tenant does not depart, you must schedule an eviction. The sheriff will accompany you to the property and remove the tenant, while you will be responsible for disposing of all of their possessions along the side of the road.

#5. Do Not Infringe on Your Tenant’s Fundamental Rights

While the tenant is at fault, it is critical that you maintain your integrity during the eviction process. If you breach any of the tenant’s essential rights, the eviction process may be postponed or thrown out entirely.

The right to live in a secure environment

The ability to register complaints regarding infractions of safety and health.

Before the landlord accesses the premises, proper notice must be given.

The right to use public utilities.

You should be able to cancel a holdover tenancy and move on with your life if you respect these rights and complete the processes outlined above.

In Conclusion,

When a landlord offers a property for lease and a tenant applies to rent the property, the application is either approved or denied. When it is accepted, the two parties enter into a lease agreement, which includes the signing of legally binding documents. In 99 percent of cases, the tenant leaves in accordance with the terms of the lease. However, there are times when the tenant refuses to leave. In this case, the tenant is a holdover tenant.

Holdover Tenant FAQs

What is another name for a holdover tenant?

Another name for a holdover tenant is a tenant at sufferance.

Can you evict a holdover tenant in California?

A landlord can file an eviction action against a holdover tenant without first delivering notice to quit, which helps to speed up the process.

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