Lease Renewal vs. Extension: What’s the Difference?

Discover the differences between lease renewals and extensions, their legal aspects, and how BoloForms simplifies real estate document management


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Understanding the difference between a lease renewal and a lease extension is crucial for residential landlords and tenants alike. Although both options aim to continue a tenancy past the original contract period, they differ significantly in terms of legal and practical implications.

Suppose you're a landlord anticipating the expiration of a lease and contemplating how to proceed. In that case, it's crucial to understand the fundamental differences between these two methods and the role that standard real estate documents play in this process.

A Lease Renewal involves the creation of an entirely new agreement for a new term period. In contrast, a Lease Extension merely prolongs the duration of an existing lease.

What is a Lease Renewal?

What is a Lease Renewal: Explained

A Lease Renewal involves creating a new lease agreement once the current one expires. It often retains many of the original terms but starts a new term, which allows for changes such as rent adjustments and other lease conditions. However, in some cases, a lease renewal may involve adjustments to certain terms or clauses from the initial lease.

Lease Renewals can also be referred to using various terms, including:

Landlords who wish to adjust the rental rates for renewed leases typically follow a process that involves issuing a formal Notice of Rent Increase. Subsequently, they make the revised rental amount explicitly clear on the lease renewal form.

When Should a Landlord Use a Lease Renewal Form?

A lease renewal form is necessary for landlords in the following scenarios:

  1. When they intend to extend an existing residential tenancy with no changes in the terms for a new lease period.
  2. When they wish to retain the current tenant for another year or a different lease term while adjusting the rental amount.
  3. When they need to make updates or modifications to the terms of the existing rental agreement.

Various situations and circumstances may prompt a landlord to find a lease renewal form essential in their operations.

Can a Landlord Refuse to Renew a Lease?

A landlord retains the discretion to decline lease renewal. This decision can be based on various factors, including:

  1. Persistent rent non-payment or late payments by the tenant.
  2. Tenant actions resulting in property damage or violations of lease policies.
  3. The landlord's intention to sell the property.
  4. The landlord's desire to occupy the residence themselves.
  5. Other valid legal grounds, may vary by state (it's advisable to consult state-specific regulations).

It's important to note that refusing to renew a lease on discriminatory or retaliatory grounds, such as in response to tenants exercising their rights, is prohibited by law. Familiarity with your state's regulations is crucial to ensure compliance and prevent potential complications.

What is a Lease Extension?

A Lease Extension simply extends the duration of the existing lease without starting a new lease term, keeping all original terms unchanged unless specifically renegotiated. Typically, landlords opt for short-term extensions, often around three months.

Landlords may grant a lease extension to offer tenants additional time in the rental unit, especially if tenants are in the process of finding a new apartment, particularly when relocation to a new city is involved, and travel arrangements need to be coordinated.

In some cases, landlords extend a lease to keep the property occupied for a little longer, which can be advantageous during sluggish rental periods, such as the holiday season.

💡Key aspect to remember

Lease extensions primarily offer both landlords and tenants the advantage of short-term flexibility, as opposed to committing to a lengthy new lease arrangement.

In a lease extension, the core terms of the original agreement typically remain unchanged, although a landlord does have the option to modify specific provisions, like adjusting the rent amount. Naturally, any alterations to the terms require the tenant's consent, and both parties must sign the lease extension to acknowledge their acceptance formally.

Comparative Analysis: Lease Renewal vs. Lease Extension

Understanding the key differences between lease renewals and lease extensions is vital:

  • Lease Renewal: Initiates a new lease term, potentially with updated terms and conditions.
  • Lease Extension: Continues the current lease terms for an additional period without starting a new lease.
    These distinctions can influence decisions based on tenant stability, market conditions, and legal requirements.
Difference Between Lease Renewal and Lease Extension

When Should a Landlord Use a Lease Extension Form?

A landlord should utilize a lease extension form when they opt to prolong the existing lease for a brief period instead of committing to a long-term renewal. Lease extension forms prove beneficial in the following situations:

  1. When the tenant requests a short extension to facilitate their search for a new residence, the landlord agrees.
  2. When the landlord intends to find a new tenant but wishes to maintain occupancy of the property in the interim.
  3. When the landlord requires additional time to make a decision regarding property renovations or potential sale.

How to Create Your Form?

Although lease renewals and lease extensions share similarities, landlords often opt for lease extensions when they want to retain a tenant for just a short period following the expiration of the original lease.

Lease renewal agreements enable landlords to secure tenants for another complete rental term, even when a rent increase is involved in the new lease. You don't need to start from scratch when crafting your lease renewal and lease extension agreements.

Use BoloForms to easily generate and customize lease renewal and extension documents. Our platform's step-by-step builder simplifies the creation process, helping you efficiently organize and tailor documents to your real estate needs.

Many landlords also benefit from cost savings by utilizing our customizable, attorney-drafted forms, which can help reduce financial errors.

Both lease renewals and extensions are governed by specific legal standards, including state-specific laws that landlords and tenants must follow to ensure compliance. Key legal aspects to consider include:

  1. Notice Requirements: Many states mandate specific notice periods for lease changes, like rent increases. Non-compliance can invalidate changes.
  2. Rent Control Laws: Some areas limit rent increases with rent control laws. Landlords must understand local regulations.
  3. Anti-Discrimination Laws: Federal and state laws prohibit housing discrimination. Lease decisions must not discriminate.
  4. Lease Renewal vs. Extension: Laws may differentiate between these, impacting legal requirements.
  5. Retaliation Provisions: Tenant protection from retaliation exists in many states to prevent adverse actions in response to tenant rights assertions.
  6. Security Deposit Regulations: Laws vary on handling security deposits during renewals or extensions.
  7. Record-Keeping: Accurate records are often legally required and must be maintained.
  8. Lease Termination Rights: State laws specify conditions for lease termination.
  9. Landlord-Tenant Acts: Many states have detailed acts outlining rights and responsibilities.
  10. Eviction Rules: Understanding the legal eviction process, including notice periods and court proceedings, is vital.

Consulting an attorney or local housing authorities is advisable to navigate these legal aspects and ensure compliance. Ignorance of the law is generally not a valid defense in legal matters.

Tenant's Perspective on Lease Renewals and Extensions

  1. Rent Changes: Review proposed rent increases carefully, ensuring they comply with rent control laws. Negotiate if needed.
  2. Lease Terms: Scrutinize lease terms, ensuring they align with your plans. Request shorter-term extensions for flexibility.
  3. Maintenance and Repairs: Tenants have the right to a habitable living space. Address unresolved maintenance issues during negotiations.
  4. Tenant Rights: Protect your right to privacy and non-discrimination. Seek legal advice if rights are violated.
  5. Notice Period: Be aware of notice periods for renewals and extensions, preventing last-minute decisions.
  6. Negotiation: Engage in discussions with landlords to improve lease conditions, covering rent, terms, and property improvements.
  7. Documentation: Keep records of all communications and agreements with the landlord for dispute resolution.
  8. Legal Advice: Consult legal experts or tenant's rights organizations when uncertain about lease terms.

Tenants should proactively engage in negotiations, ensuring lease terms align with their needs and comply with the law.

Why BoloForms Signature is Top Choice for Real Estate?

BoloForms is a comprehensive digital signature platform tailored to the specific demands of the real estate industry. It empowers residential and commercial agents, brokers, escrow companies, property managers, REITs, homebuilders, and developers to seamlessly manage their contract workflows.

At its core, BoloForms equips you with three pivotal functions:

  1. Digital Signature Creation: Whether you prefer drawing, typing, or uploading your signature, BoloForms offers versatile options to create your digital signature.
  2. Efficient Document Editing: Easily complete form fields and digitally sign your documents using the integrated editor.
  3. Streamlined Document Sharing: Send your documents to involved parties, initiating signature requests with utmost ease.

One standout feature is the availability of pre-made templates, which not only save you valuable time but also provide essential legal protection. These contract templates have undergone thorough scrutiny by legal experts to ensure compliance and reliability. Furthermore, these templates can be effortlessly customized and personalized to suit your specific requirements. Once signed, these contracts are legally binding, offering you the peace of mind and legal security you need in real estate transactions.

BoloForms Signature Offers Diverse Range of Real estate Templates

BoloForms offers a diverse range of real estate templates that cater to your specific needs, including:

  1. Lease Amendment
  2. Property management agreement
  3. Month-to-month rental agreement
  4. Short-Term Rental Agreement
  5. Sublease agreement
  6. Late Rent Notice

These templates are meticulously designed to simplify and expedite the document creation and signing process.


In conclusion, understanding the distinction between lease renewals and lease extensions is pivotal for landlords navigating the complexities of rental agreements. Lease renewals involve the creation of entirely new contracts, providing an opportunity to revise and update terms, and making them suitable for longer-term commitments. On the other hand, lease extensions are valuable when landlords and tenants seek short-term flexibility, allowing the continuation of the existing lease without the need for extensive changes or long-term obligations. The choice between these two options depends on various factors, such as tenant needs, market conditions, and property management strategies.

Creating the right document, whether it's a lease renewal or extension, is made easier through form-building tools, simplifying the process for landlords and minimizing the potential for financial errors. These tools offer a cost-effective and efficient means of managing rental agreements, ensuring that both landlords and tenants can navigate their leasing relationships with clarity and flexibility, ultimately contributing to smoother and more productive landlord-tenant interactions.


Paresh Deshmukh

Co-Founder, BoloForms

6 Nov, 2023

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