Lease Renewal Issue

By Tenant

My boyfriend and I have been in our current apartment (in Ohio, Cleveland area) since March 2008.  We signed a one-year lease, but as of the end of February 2009, weren’t sure if we wanted to move out yet.  We have since decided that our monthly rent was too much for us to handle, so we looked around and found a place nearby.

I called my landlord’s office to give a 30-day notice, and was informed that our lease was automatically renewed until the end of February 2010, which we had failed to notice on our copy of the lease.  However, through a local tenant’s organization, we found a law on the books in our city that states that all language pertaining to automatic lease renewal must be typed in a bold font at least twice the size of all font on the page.  The language on our lease is in the same size and type as the surrounding type.  We also noticed, rereading the lease, that we should’ve received some sort of paperwork before the end of the first year explaining what we’d be paying for the second lease term, which we have not.

We sent both a certified letter and e-mail to our landlord (letter sent on Tues, e-mail on Wednesday–today is Friday) giving him our 30-day notice and explaining this, and I have called both his office and cell phone several times in the last four days, but he has yet to call me back.  We’d like to hear from him to make sure he’s not going to hold us to the renewed lease before we sign a new one and move our things, but the fact that he is completely unreachable is causing us much distress. 

What should we do in this situation?  We’d like to just go ahead and move, but are concerned that if we do, he might be able to take legal action against us.  I will continue to call him, but not sure what else to do!

Edited on: Friday, May 8th, 2009 9:17 am

4 Responses to “Lease Renewal Issue”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


May 11th, 2009 9:16 am

I would be very interested in hearing this response as I am in a similar situation in Cleveland. My lease also had an automatic renewal clause written into the lease that I was not aware of. It was not written in any other print or bold face, in fact, the terms of my lease are on the first page and the clause that it will renew automatically is in another paragraph on page 2. I even called my landlord at the end of my first year there to ask if there was any paperwork that I needed to sign to renew. The landlord’s answer was short and sweet “no, I didn’t need to do anything, they were just happy I was staying”. No explaination that it automatically renews. Four months later my husband and I bought our first house and I sent the landlord a letter that we would be moving in 2 months. The landlord sent me a letter back stating they were expecting me to pay the balance of the rent due. I was floored and sent another letter stating I was unaware of any renewal clause and why didn’t they mention it to me at the end of my first year when I called to inquire. I never heard back from them. My husband and I have moved into our new house and have been living here for 6 months and I just now get a letter from the former landlord billing us for 6 months rent, advertising, heat and electricity payable within 30 days.


July 1st, 2009 9:52 pm

I have the same problem with the “automatically renew leasing contract”, exactly as Beth’s story .
Anyone familiar with tenant law could help us out?

Legal King

November 19th, 2009 2:33 pm

Hi Girls! (Beth, Debra and Sharon)
So all three of you have questions about automatic lease renewals? I can probably shed some light on how they work. I’ll answer in a Q & A format:
Q: Can my landlord automatically renew my lease without new signature?
A: Assuming that you signed the original lease agreement with a lease clause stating that the lease will automatically renew, the yes, it is binding.

Q: Is the automatic lease clause legal?
A: In most cases automatic lease renewals are legal and legit. Rental laws are governed by contractual law– so basically the law is what you agreed to.

Q: Can I get out of the lease even though my landlord said it automatically renewed?
A: Yes, but it will almost always require legal help such as Filing an RPA Mediation Complaint or hiring an attorney. Even if your landlord is non-compliant with the law, like not bolding the text, etc, (you mentioned early)– it probably still requires legal aide to enforce.

Q: How can I prevent an automatic lease renewal?
A: Hind sight is 20/20 on this one… read your contract conditions carefully and be aware of deadlines, etc. Send all termination notices certified. If you feel your landlord is being unfair, file a complaint.

Girls, I hope that helps! Happy renting.

Sincerely yours,

Legal King


June 5th, 2012 8:52 am

What if the landlord doesnt send you notice of your auto renewal lease. I have been in my home for 4 years, I provided a 60 day notice, and they said i should have given it to them in April. I have never received a notice in the 4 years that i have been here stating that my lease is auto renewing. I have looked up a few laws in Virginia and i think they are required to send me notice of my auto renewing lease. Is it true?


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