Landlords and tenants are both legally obligated to honor the specific terms of a rental contract, nothing more and nothing less. With a few notable exceptions, landlords are not required to provide a reason for terminating a rental agreement at the end of the contract. It might be in the landlord's best interest to provide a reason for termination during the time period covered by the lease, however. Ending a rental agreement is not the same as formal eviction proceedings in the eyes of the law.
When a landlord offers a rental contract to a new tenant, all of the conditions and rules should be spelled out clearly. This agreement should include specific language concerning terminations, renewals, subletting, and proper notice of changes. Some rental agreements and leases require landlords to provide a reason for termination, but many do not. The tenant may assume that the lease will be automatically renewed after the original one expires, but such renewal is often at the discretion of the landlord. At this point, a landlord can decline to offer a new rental agreement without providing a reason to the tenant, at least under most landlord/tenant laws.
One notable exception is in the case of public housing rental assistance, such as Section 8 funding provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the US. Landlords who accept rental subsidies from HUD cannot terminate a rental agreement without providing a legal reason for doing so. The landlord can claim that a tenant has violated specific terms of the lease, such as through failure to pay rent on time, destruction of property, or allowing illegal activity to occur on the property. Terminating a lease can occur with or without a legal eviction proceeding. Eviction involves a lengthy court process, but terminating a rental agreement is often a private contract matter.
Landlords cannot physically remove a tenant from the rented property until an official eviction notice has been served. This rule may appear to favor the tenant, but there is still the matter of a lease. Under a number of landlord/tenant laws, a landlord only has to provide a 30-day notice before terminating a rental contract. An undesirable tenant facing court-ordered eviction cannot enjoy the benefits of the agreement after that time has elapsed. The landlord may have to provide a reason for eviction in court proceedings, but he or she is not contractually obligated to provide a reason for a lease termination.
Many leases and rental agreements provide legal conditions for early termination, including relocation for work purposes or military duty. If an unscrupulous landlord deliberately fails to make repairs or provide a safe living environment, the tenant can legally move out of the premises and refuse to honor the remainder of the contract. This is called constructive eviction during any civil law action taken against the landlord. The landlord also cannot coerce a tenant into early termination of a lease through retaliatory or discriminatory actions.