We assist clients in drafting lease modifications, extensions and renewals. Drafting clear and legally binding documents can help to reduce disputes and avoid litigation. If a dispute arises, we are able to place our clients in the strongest possible legal position. With laws regulating the landlord-tenant relationship becoming more complicated, it is essential to retain competent legal counsel to draft leases, amendments and addenda.

Difference Between Extension and Renewal

There is a technical distinction between a renewal and an extension. An extension is a stretching or spreading out of the term of the lease. A renewal, on the other hand, creates a new and distinct tenancy and is not merely a perpetuation of the old tenancy. 

Implied Renewal By Holdover Tenant

In the absence of a contrary lease provision, a tenant who holds over and remains in possession beyond the expiration of the lease term and who, after the term has expired, pays rent that is accepted by the landlord, is presumed to have renewed the lease as a periodic tenant on the same terms and conditions. For example, if the rent is paid monthly, it is presumed that there has been a renewal as a month-to-month tenancy. The period of the extension is presumed to be the same as the period of the rental payments, but not to exceed one year.

Statutory Requirements For Automatic Renewal Provisions in Residential Leases

A lease provision which seeks to automatically renew or extend a residential tenancy term is voidable by the tenant unless it is stated in 8-point bold face type. In addition, immediately above the tenant’s signature line, the lease must recite, in minimum 8-point bold face type, that the automatic renewal provision is contained in the body of the agreement.

Modifying Periodic Tenancies

Landlords may change the rental agreement terms (including raising the rent) in tenancies of a period not greater than monthly (i.e., week-to-week, month-to-month or other period less than a month) by giving written notice to the tenant as prescribed by Civil Code Section 827. Provided, however, local rent or eviction control ordinances may restrict the landlord’s ability to unilaterally change the terms of tenancy.