Expiring leases - How to plan for them

My leases are for a fixed period of time and I almost always ask the tenants for another 9 months or 12 months. Many leases are for 12 months then switch to month-to-month after the initial 12 months. The tenants like this because after the first 12 month lease is over, they only need to give a 30 day notice and can move out at any time. I don't know why a landlord would like this. Maybe they are simply grateful they rented their property for 12+ months and are willing to lose a few months rent in the winter time. I set my goals higher and try to maintain a 100% occupancy. Since my properties are in a college town, it is very likely the lease will begin in August and they will want the property until May when many of them graduate or until December when another bunch graduates. Being empty in the winter time is bad news. People don't like to move in the winter time. I've got some leases that are expiring at the end of May. I sent the tenants a letter asking them to select one the following options which are:
  • Not extend the lease and move out at the end of May,
  • Extend the lease until July 15th (This will leave July 15 through July 31st for cleaning and repairs)
  • Extend the lease until the end of the following May.
Although I started this process a little late this year, I normally try to start 60 days before the lease ends. Watch for future posts which will discuss how to get good tenants.

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