Who Is a Holdover Tenant?Let’s start with the basics: Who exactly is a holdover tenant? A holdover tenant is a tenant who refuses to leave after their fixed term is over. If the tenant continues to pay rent to the landlord, the tenancy becomes month-to-month. Even without a lease, the holdover tenant still has rights under the residential tenancy laws. For instance, the right to live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair, the right to the return of their security deposit, and the right to fair treatment, among others. A holdover tenant is also referred to as a “tenant at sufferance.” This means that the tenant is only living at the property at the wish of the landlord.
What Potential Issues Can Arise From Renting to a Holdover Tenant?A number of issues can arise if you continue renting out your property to a tenant whose lease has ended. For one, it may not be easy to evict the tenant if you no longer wish to continue renting to them. Evicting them may not be as easy as asking them to leave. You may need to go through the state’s eviction process to obtain a court order. Secondly, you have no control over when your property will become vacant. The tenant may choose to leave any time they choose to. If this happens, it’ll be challenging renting out the property, especially if the tenant leaves the property in a dire state of uncleanliness or disrepair. Thirdly, you may not be able to make changes to the terms of the lease agreement, such as raising rent. A holdover tenant continues to rent a property at the existing terms and conditions.
What Options Do You Have When You Have a Holdover Tenant?Broadly speaking, you have two options when confronting a holdover tenancy situation. The first option is to simply let the tenant stay. This is a great option if you already have a great tenant. That is, a tenant who has been paying rent consistently, caring for your property, reporting maintenance issues on time, and abiding by the terms of the lease agreement. If you have such a tenant but are still non-committal in signing another lease, it may still make perfect sense to continue renting to them. The second option is to terminate their tenancy. This is the best option to take if the tenant has been especially difficult to deal with. In Kansas, you can evict a tenant for any of the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Lease violation
- Absence of a lease/end of a lease
- Illegal activity
How Can a Landlord Evict a Holdover Tenant in Kansas?When evicting a tenant in Kansas, you must follow the proper eviction process lest it fails. The following is an overview of what you must do to evict a holdover tenant:
- Terminate the lease by serving the tenant with proper notice. Different eviction notices serve different purposes depending on the reason for the eviction. To start the eviction process against a holdover tenant, you must serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit. This will give the tenant 30 days to move out.
- If the tenant doesn’t move out, you can escalate the matter further by filing a complaint with the court. Expect to pay anywhere between $55.50 and $121.50 in filing fees. After successful filing, the court will issue you with a summons and complaint.
- Attend the court hearing. Without a lease authorizing the tenant to be at the property, the chances of the tenant winning will be slim. After a successful judgment in your favor, the court will issue you with a Writ of Restitution. This will be the tenant’s final notice to leave.
- Take possession of the property back. The writ will give the tenant 14 calendar days to move out. If they don’t, the sheriff will have no option but to forcefully remove them.
What Can a Landlord Do to Avoid Holdover Tenants?The following are a few things you can do to minimize the chances of landing a holdover tenant:
- Send your tenant reminders at least 60 days before their lease ends.
- Send another reminder two or so weeks before the end of the lease to remind the tenant about the requirements they must meet before moving out.
- Don’t accept future rent payments if the tenant stays past the term of the lease. Accepting a rent payment will automatically give them legal residency as a month-to-month tenant.