As the old Kenny Rogers' song goes, you have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. In the case of tenants, you have to know when to hold them and when to let them go. Many times, I have seen landlords continue to hold on to bad tenants simply because they are afraid to let them go and face a vacancy. The truth of the matter is that a bad tenant is not better than no tenant at all. A bad tenant can end up costing you in a multitude of different ways. Furthermore, if you operate a quality property rental business and treat your tenants fairly, there is no reason to hold on to a bad tenant, as there will likely be many others waiting to take their place.
Landlords also sometimes feel an obligation to renew a lease if the tenant has not expressed intent to move. It should be kept in mind that it is entirely up to you as the landlord to determine whether you wish to renew a lease, regardless of whether the tenant wants to stay. There are some regulations regarding the amount of notice that you are required to provide if you do not plan to renew. In most cases, you need to provide either a 30-day or a 60-day notice.
Of course, if your tenants are great, abide by their lease and always pay their rent on time, then it is certainly in your best interest to not only renew the lease, but also provide some type of perk to encourage your tenants to stay, such as a discount or gift card.
Landlords have even more power to decide whether to renew a lease in strong rental markets. The ball is in your court and you can choose to be a bit more selective if you see that a tenant simply is not working out. One of the most common reasons for electing not to renew a lease is continually paying the rent late. Regardless of whether or not the tenant usually does get around to paying the rent, if you must constantly chase down the rent, it can be a hassle. The time spent trying to collect late rent is time you do not have to devote to other endeavors. When that is the case, you have every right to not renew the lease and rent the property to someone who will pay on time.
You might also consider not renewing the lease if you have had problems with the tenant breaking the terms of the lease. Whether they take up too many parking spots, smoke when you have expressly forbid it, or they just do not keep up the property, breaking the terms of a lease is certainly a good reason for not renewing it.
Whatever your reasons may be for not renewing a lease, make sure you abide by the terms of the lease and local regulations by providing sufficient notice of non-renewal.