Holdover Tenant

Holdover Tenant

The challenges of managing rental properties are numerous and diverse. One such issue that landlords frequently have to deal with is a “holdover tenant.” When a lease expires, a holdover tenant stays in the rental property without the landlord’s permission to stay longer or an additional agreement in place.

From the end of the lease to the brink of eviction, we’ll explain the complex scenario of the holdover tenancy . We’ll define it, go over how to avoid it, and walk you through the difficult decisions landlords must make when dealing with tenants who will not move out.

Understanding Holdover Tenancy

Essentially, a holdover tenant is someone who was formerly in an authorized tenant relationship but continues to occupy a property against the owner’s wishes. The terms of the tenant’s stay are not governed by a current, valid contract, which sets this scenario apart legally from tenancy under a lease.

Tenants can end up as holdovers because they forgot to move out or are having problems locating new housing. In other scenarios, they may decide to remain without reaching a new contract with the landlord. Both parties may find this challenging because extending the lease raises possible legal issues as well as other issues. 


The distinction is significant because lease agreements give landlords and tenants clear obligations and protections. However, local landlord-tenant laws usually provide a more general legal structure for lingering tenancies.

Causes for Holdover Situations

Several factors can contribute to holdover tenancy:

  • Tenants may overlook or intentionally delay moving out after their lease ends.
  • Tenants may refuse to vacate despite receiving notice from the landlord.
  • When renegotiating lease terms takes longer than expected, tenants may unintentionally become holdover tenants by staying beyond the lease period.

Possible Repercussions for Landlords

Holdover tenancy poses several challenges for landlords:

  • It can result in significant losses due to unpaid rent and potential eviction costs.
  • Resolving holdover issues may incur substantial legal fees and court expenses.
  • Managing a property becomes more complex with holdover tenants, impacting maintenance and new tenant recruitment.
  • Accepting rent without addressing the situation may inadvertently establish a month-to-month tenancy, hindering a swift eviction.

Proactive Measures

Mitigating the risks associated with holdover tenancy requires proactive measures:

  • Ensure lease agreements contain explicit holdover clauses detailing penalties or rent increases for overstays.
  • Maintain timely communication by sending reminders of lease expiration and move-out notices well in advance.


  • Include provisions in lease agreements for rent increases during holdover periods, acting as a deterrent and safeguarding your investment.

Handling a Holdover Tenant

Imagine you are a landlord and one of your tenants refuses to vacate the property at the end of their term.

What are your next steps? Making a decision is necessary: Do you start evicting them or do you negotiate new terms so they can stay? This is about more than simply the written word; it’s about people.

Prioritizing Amicable Solutions

It is important that amicable resolutions are attempted before anyone begins to draw battle lines.

A situation where no one feels unfairly treated is ideal. A quiet conversation now could save you a lot of trouble later. After all, a positive landlord-tenant relationship is always the ultimate goal before and after tenancy.

Document Everything

Now, regardless of how smoothly things go or how bumpy things get, one thing is certain: document everything that happens.

Record the back-and-forth exchanges of emails, any texts, and even take notes during the discussions. This is similar to keeping a journal of everything that has happened; should the matter come before a judge, it may be useful to demonstrate your rationality and fairness.

Start the Court Process

Though nobody enjoys the thought, there are situations when going to court is the only remaining choice. If so, this is where things get technical. You should be aware of the eviction regulations that apply to your rental because each city has its unique set of laws.


Seeking expert assistance from a property law specialist can have a significant impact. They’ll give you the rundown on everything and assist you in determining which notices to send and which documents to file. It’s helpful to have a guide in a legal jungle to assist you navigate and legally sort everything out.

Additional Solutions

Exploring alternatives to straightforward eviction for managing holdover tenants:

  • Short-term lease extensions offer tenants a legal cushion to prepare for departure.
  • Transitioning to a month-to-month agreement provides flexibility in termination for both parties.
  • Proposing a cash-for-keys agreement incentivizes tenants to vacate voluntarily and promptly, benefiting both landlord and tenant. These options prioritize amicable resolutions and minimize legal complexities.

Bottom Line

Navigating holdover tenancy can be daunting, but DeSantis Property Management is here to help. From deciphering legal complexities to fostering amicable resolutions, our expert team guides landlords through every step of the process. 

Whether you’re dealing with an overstaying tenant or seeking proactive property management solutions, we offer personalized assistance to ensure smooth landlord-tenant relationships. 

Contact us today for tailored support and effective property management strategies that meet your needs.