Q: My landlord is trying to have me sign another year lease. Am I required to sign during this uncertain time?
The lease would go from 5/31/2020 to 6/1/2021. I am nervous to sign because of all the economic uncertainty.
A: You are never required to sign any document, let alone a year long lease. However, if you elect not to, you may subject to whatever termination procedures are listed in your current lease. Different leases handle the topic differently - some just expire on the termination date, you are expected to be out on that date, and can be evicted in court if you fail to vacate (assuming the landlord has otherwise complied with his duties of timely offering you renewal, etc.). Other leases automatically roll-over into being a month to month tenancy if the fixed term is not accepted. Still others automatically renew as another fixed term lease unless either the tenant or the landlord timely notifies the other of their desire to not have it automatically renew. Finally, some leases are simply silent on the topic - and they now automatically become month to month tenancies. So you need to carefully review your lease to determine what impact refusing to sign a new lease might have. The Covid-19 emergency may affect how soon a landlord to actually get you in court to be evicted but it otherwise does not change anyone's legal rights regarding a lease renewal.
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