The Expired Domain Deletion Policy is an ICANN Consensus Policy applicable to all ICANN-Accredited Registrars. It has been incorporated in the current (21 May 2009) Registrar Accreditation Agreement as follows:
3.7.5 At the conclusion of the registration period, failure by or on behalf of the Registered Name Holder to consent that the registration be renewed within the time specified in a second notice or reminder shall, in the absence of extenuating circumstances, result in cancellation of the registration by the end of the auto-renew grace period (although Registrar may choose to cancel the name earlier).
184.108.40.206 Extenuating circumstances are defined as: UDRP action, valid court order, failure of a Registrar’s renewal process (which does not include failure of a registrant to respond), the domain name is used by a nameserver that provides DNS service to third-parties (additional time may be required to migrate the records managed by the nameserver), the registrant is subject to bankruptcy proceedings, payment dispute (where a registrant claims to have paid for a renewal, or a discrepancy in the amount paid), billing dispute (where a registrant disputes the amount on a bill), domain name subject to litigation in a court of competent jurisdiction, or other circumstance as approved specifically by ICANN.
220.127.116.11 Where Registrar chooses, under extenuating circumstances, to renew a domain name without the explicit consent of the registrant, the registrar must maintain a record of the extenuating circumstances associated with renewing that specific domain name for inspection by ICANN consistent with clauses 3.4.2 and 3.4.3 of this registrar accreditation agreement.
18.104.22.168 In the absence of extenuating circumstances (as defined in Section 22.214.171.124 above), a domain name must be deleted within 45 days of either the registrar or the registrant terminating a registration agreement.
126.96.36.199 Registrar shall provide notice to each new registrant describing the details of their deletion and auto-renewal policy including the expected time at which a non-renewed domain name would be deleted relative to the domains expiration date, or a date range not to exceed ten (10) days in length. If a registrar makes any material changes to its deletion policy during the period of the registration agreement, it must make at least the same effort to inform the registrant of the changes as it would to inform the registrant of other material changes to the registration agreement (as defined in clause 3.7.7 of the registrars accreditation agreement).”
188.8.131.52 If Registrar operates a website for domain name registration or renewal, details of Registrar’s deletion and auto-renewal policies must be clearly displayed on the website.
184.108.40.206 If Registrar operates a website for domain registration or renewal, it should state, both at the time of registration and in a clear place on its website, any fee charged for the recovery of a domain name during the Redemption Grace Period.
220.127.116.11 In the event that a domain which is the subject of a UDRP dispute is deleted or expires during the course of the dispute, the complainant in the UDRP dispute will have the option to renew or restore the name under the same commercial terms as the registrant. If the complainant renews or restores the name, the name will be placed in Registrar HOLD and Registrar LOCK status, the WHOIS contact information for the registrant will be removed, and the WHOIS entry will indicate that the name is subject to dispute. If the complaint is terminated, or the UDRP dispute finds against the complainant, the name will be deleted within 45 days. The registrant retains the right under the existing redemption grace period provisions to recover the name at any time during the Redemption Grace Period, and retains the right to renew the name before it is deleted.
For information on the effect of this policy on the 2001 version of the RAA see http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/eddp-21sep04-enp.htm