Tenants living in a rental unit don’t always understand that they can’t stay on just because they want to do that after the lease ends.

Even if the person feels they have been a “perfect tenant,” they have no legal right to stay in the home, trailer or apartment longer than the lease’s term.

They must move out at the end of the rental period unless the lease is renewed.

The landlord is free to set up new terms for the rental when the lease ends unless the lease states otherwise or there are certain types of governmental restrictions on the property. After all, it is the landlord’s property.

A landlord, whether a person or a corporation, does not have to repair or improve the property, beyond basic building code or local legal requirements, especially if a landlord is considering not renewing the lease.

When a landlord sells a rental property or dies, the new owner does not have to renew a lease. But the new owner takes the rental property subject to the existing lease, and the tenant is protected until the current lease runs out.

To evict a tenant before a lease ends, a landlord must go to court and show evidence of a breach of the lease. Non-payment of rent, damage to the property or violation of tenancy rules are common reasons for tenant evictions.

Reading through the lease and understanding the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant can lead to a better relationship.

Many don’t realize that the landlord’s insurance policy will not cover their personal property, such as furniture, clothing, or electronics, should a fire or other damage occurs. There is a separate type of insurance that the renter needs to have to get compensated.

For rental or other legal questions, state residents age 60 and over may call the West Virginia Senior Legal Aid hotline at 800-229-5068 to speak with the staff attorney at no charge.