Some tips on how to lock in a new lease so you can keep a desirable flat at a great price.
Check the lease documents
It's a good idea to refer to the lease, as most leases specify the terms of renewal, says Brenton Hayden, founder of leading property management company Renter's Warehouse.
If there are specific things you need to do to renew your lease, such as notifying your landlord 60 days before you plan to move out, these will be spelled out in your copy of the lease. If nothing is specified, then give the landlord between 60 and 90 days notice. That should be "plenty of time for both parties to renew the lease," Hayden says.
Also look for lease renewal clauses. While not all leases have such a clause, it will tell you if certain things have to change if the lease is renewed, such as whether the rent will increase based on market value or a specific percentage for each lease year.
Maintain a good relationship with your landlord
Before asking to renew your lease, make sure you're not causing your landlord any problems.
Hayden explains that landlords want tenants who are easy to deal with - people who pay their rent on time and don't always make maintenance requests or generate noise complaints.
If you think you're on shaky ground with your landlord, you may want to consider cleaning up your house and giving your landlord a tour to prove that you're not destroying it.
Contact the landlord in writing
While in many cases a phone call with a friendly landlord will suffice, it's a good idea to inform your landlord in writing that you wish to renew your lease, just to be safe.
Email is also acceptable, Hayden says, but be sure to get some form of response that shows the landlord read what you sent." The most important thing is to have a receipt," he adds.
If you send a letter to the landlord, track the letter with a delivery note so you can prove that you made an effort to renew the lease. This may come in handy if the landlord later claims you never tried to contact him.
Renegotiate the terms
If your lease doesn't have a renewal clause and you want to negotiate new terms, "the renewal period is always the best time to negotiate any changes," says Hayden.
It's a good time to tell your landlord that you want a pet, or that you want to stipulate a longer or shorter lease term. When the lease expires, you'll rent the room on a month-to-month basis, unless the landlord or lease specifies otherwise. However, Hayden says some landlords may consider a long-term lease "more profitable" for them. If you want to lock in a killer deal for 24 months, now is the time to negotiate.
Finally, sometimes a landlord may not want to rent to you because he wants to renovate the house or he wants to raise the price in a popular neighbourhood. In this case, you should know what to do when the lease expires.