How much notice must a tenant give if their lease has already expired?

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How much notice must a tenant give if their lease has already expired?

Our lease expired after a year and the landlord never brought a new one for us to sign. Can he keep our security deposit for the month after we moved? Our lease was up on 02/01 and he never brought a new one around. I sent him a written notice the end of January and never heard from him. I tried calling him to see if he got my letter and to give him my new address. He never responded. I still have the key because he never contacted me to do a walk-through after I was out. We paid rent for the month of February and were out by the end of that month. Since there was no new lease, can he hold my security deposit because he’s claiming it’s for March’s rent?

Asked on April 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Once your written 1 year lease expired without renewal, it defaulted to a month-to-month lease.  Accordingly, you need only give 30 days notice to vacate.  As for your security deposit, in PA, such money can be used by the landlord as protection against damages or unpaid rent.  So, while your landlord could keep your security deposit to cover rent that is still owed, it appears that there was no such unpaid rent since notice was timely made.  At this point, you need to consult with a tenant's rights group or landlord-tenant attorney for a fuller explanation of your rights (and bring a copy of your lease with you).


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