What is a Month-to-Month Lease?
A month-to-month lease agreement, or “tenancy at will”, is a real estate contract between a landlord and tenant that can be cancelled by either party with written notice. The minimum notice period depends on the State laws where the property is located but is commonly thirty (30) days. In order to cancel, the landlord or tenant will be required to send the other party a notice to quit via certified mail with return receipt or by hand-deliver.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Table of Contents
- What is a Month-to-Month Lease?
- Month-to-Month Lease: Template
- Month-to-Month Lease: By State
- How Does it Work?
- State Specific Laws (Required Termination Periods)
- How to Write a Month-to-Month Lease
A month-to-month lease is like a standard agreement when it comes to moving-in, eviction laws, housing laws, and obeying local ordinances. The only difference is that the landlord or tenant have the opportunity to cancel the agreement at any time by submitting a Notice to Quit (Lease Termination Letter). The amount of notice that is required depends on the State Notice Period which is usually thirty (30) days.
Although, the landlord and tenant can agree to any termination period as long as it is more than the minimum mandated by the State it is located.
The landlord or their agent will show the property and allow the interested party to thoroughly inspect all fixtures and appliances throughout the space. Be sure to show all entryways, exits, common areas, parking, and any other parts of the property to display its amenities.
It is important to obtain the interested party’s personal information through the Rental Application or by getting their e-mail in order to get their personal information at a later time.
Step 2 – Application Process
The application process depends on how in-depth the landlord would like to go in obtaining information about the tenant. Most landlords run a simple credit and employment check to make sure they don’t have any outstanding debts and that they have a job.
Best Screening Services
- RentPrep.com – $18.95 for background check + $9.95 for a credit report
- MySmartMove.com – $25 for background check + $10 for credit report
Sex Offender Search
- National Registry – Use the national database to lookup the applicant.
Step 3 – Making the Decision
When making the decision to rent the property to the applicant the landlord can make safeguards against individuals with bad credit or no renting history by charging more for a security deposit, asking for pre-paid rent, or requiring the tenant to pay via ACH (direct from their bank every month).
If approved, the landlord can move to the next step and begin the lease negotiation.
Step 4 – Drafting the Lease
The landlord and tenant should meet to negotiate the terms of the lease. The popular items that are discussed among the parties will be:
- Monthly Rent ($)
- Security Deposit – Check with the State Maximum Limits.
- Termination Period – Check with the State Month-to-Month Laws.
- Pets – If allowed and if there are any deposits required.
- Parking – How many spaces and if there are any monthly fees associated with it.
Step 5 – Writing the Lease
It is recommended to use the State Specific Agreements as the Generic Template may only be used as long as the State required disclosures are mentioned. Complete the fillable fields in accordance with the Instructions. Typically, the landlord will be the party that will draft the lease. Therefore, the tenant will need to carefully read the lease to ensure that the terms are the same as verbally negotiated.
Make sure the required State addendums are attached to the lease. The most common two (2) disclosures are the following:
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure – Per federal law, 42 U.S. Code § 4852d, must be given to all tenants that are moving-in to properties that were built before 1978. Make sure to include the Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home handout.
Move-in Checklist (Inspection) – Required to be completed at the beginning and end of the lease term to ensure there are no disagreements over the security deposit.
Step 6 – Execute
When the agreement has been reviewed and it is time to execute the lease. The parties should get together along with a third (3rd) party as witness. There is no need for a notary public unless the monthly rent is expensive.
Tenant should bring the following:
- First (1st) Month’s Rent
- Security Deposit
- Pro-Rated Rent
- Pet Deposit (if any)
- Parking Fees (if any)
Landlord should bring the following:
- Access to the Property (keys)
Step 7 – Moving In
The tenant will be able to move-in to the property and use as a residence until either party decides to cancel the agreement.
If either party decides to opt-out, they will need to send a Notice to Terminate via certified mail with return receipt or in accordance with their respective State laws.
The landlord or tenant has the legal right to terminate a month to month lease. Both parties will be subject to the notice period stated in the lease, and if not stated, the statutory limit required by the State (minimum time period). All letters of notice should be sent via Certified Mail with return receipt.
Step 1 – Locate the Original Lease
The first (1st) step is to locate the original lease that was signed by the landlord and tenant at the commencement of the term. The purpose for locating the agreement is to find the notice period that was agreed upon by the parties.
Download the Notice to Terminate a Month to Month Lease (Letter) (Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word (.docx)) informing the other party your intention to terminate the lease in accordance with the Required State Time Period. At the end of the termination period, the tenant will be required to completely remove all their possessions from the premises.
The notice period typically starts the day the recipient receives the notice so it is best to give an extra 3 to 5 days.
Step 3 – Sending Notice
Most States allow official notice to be hand delivery or by sending Certified Mail with return receipt. The route that is selected by the sending party should be able to obtain a signature from the recipient.
When the recipient has been notified of the termination the tenant can begin making plans to move-out and the landlord can start marketing the property to new tenants.
- AL – 30 days (§ 35-9A-441)
- AK – 30 days (§ 34.03.290(b))
- AZ – 30 days (§ 33-1375(b))
- AR – 30 days (§ 18-17-704(b))
- CA – Time Dependent (CIV 1946.1)
- CO – Time Dependent (§ 13-40-107)
- CT – 3 days (§ 47a-23)
- DE – 60 days (§ 25-5106(c))
- FL – 30 days (§ 83-57(3))
- GA – 60 days from landlord, 30 days from tenant (§ 44-7-7)
- HI – 45 days from landlord, 28 days from tenant (§ 521-71)
- ID – 1 month (§ 55-208)
- IL – 30 days (735 ILCS 5/9-207)
- IN – 1 month (§ 32-31-1-1(a))
- IA – 30 days (§ 562A.34(2))
- KS – 30 days (§ 562A-34(b))
- KY – 30 days (§ 383.695(2))
- LA – 10 days (§ 2728(2))
- ME – 30 days (14 § 6002)
- MD – Location Dependent (§ 8–402)
- MA – 30 days (§ 186-12)
- MI – 1 month (§ 554.134(1))
- MN – 1 month (§ 504B.135(a))
- MS – 30 days (§ 89-8-19(3))
- MO – 30 days (§ 441.060(1))
- MT – 30 days (§ 70-24-441(2))
- NE – 30 days (§ 76-1437(2))
- NV – 30 days (§ NRS 40.251(1)(a)(2))
- NH – 30 days (§ 540-3(II))
- NJ – 1 month (§ 2A:18-56(b))
- NM – 30 days (§ 47-8-37(b))
- NY – 1 month/30 days (RPP § 232-a and RPP § 232-b)
- NC – 7 days (§ 42-14)
- ND – 1 month (§ 47-16-15(2))
- OH – 30 days (§ 5321.17(b))
- OK – 30 days (§ 41-111(a))
- OR – 30 days if tenancy 1 year or less, 60 days if over 1 year (§ 90.427(3)(b & c))
- PA – 15 days (§ 250.501.501(b))
- RI – 30 days (§ 34-18-37(b))
- SC – 30 days (§ 27-40-770(b))
- SD – 30 days, 60 days for service members (§ 43-32-13 & § 43-8-8)
- TN – 30 days (§ 68-28-512(b))
- TX – 1 month (§ 91.001(b)(2))
- UT – 15 days (§ 78B-6-802(1)(b)(i))
- VT – 30 days if tenancy 2 years or less, 60 if over 2 years (9 V.S.A. § 4467(e))
- VA – 30 days (§ 55-222(B))
- WA – 20 days (RCW 59.18.200)
- WV – 1 month (§ 37-6-5)
- WI – 28 days (§ 704.19(3))
- WY – No laws
In order to write the landlord will be required to enter the terms and conditions either electronically or after printing in the fillable fields as follows:
Step 1 – Download (Generic Template)
Step 2 – Landlord and Tenant Information
Enter the information of the Parties, i.e. the Landlord and Tenant.
Afterwards, enter the creation date of the lease.
Step 3 – The Premises
Otherwise known as the property address. If it is an apartment be sure to include the number (#). The square footage of the property including any additional space may also be mentioned in this section.
Step 4 – Lease Term
The lease “start date”. If the tenant would like to move-in to the property before this date, it does not need to be mentioned in the lease, although, the tenant should provide payment for the pro-rated share of the pro-rated period (this is calculated as getting the monthly rent amount and dividing by 30. Then multiply by the number (#) of days the tenant is moving in early).
Step 5 – Lease Payments (monthly rent)
Enter the monthly rent, the day of the monthly rent is due, and the instructions for payment.
Step 6 – Late Charges
Late charges are usually mandated by the State. It is recommended to make the late fee 1% of the monthly amount every day rent is late.
Step 7 – Insufficient Funds (NSF)
A recommended NSF fee amount is $35 but may be any amount desired by the landlord.
Step 8 – Security Deposit Amount
A maximum Security Deposit amount is mandated by most States (See Laws). The landlord may make the amount required as high as they would like depending on the credit worthiness of the tenant.
Step 9 – Possession and Surrender
The day the Tenant is allowed to move-in. This is usually the first (1st) day of the lease.
Step 10 – Occupants and Visitors
An Occupant is a person that is not listed on the lease but will be living in the premises such as family or girlfriend/boyfriend.
A maximum time-period allowed for visitors is usually required to ensure that too many people do not occupy the property at one (1) time using more resources than the landlord initially thought at the start of the term.
Step 11 – Utilities and Services
Enter either “Landlord” or “Tenant” next to the utility or service that will be responsible for payment.
Step 12 – Pets
Step 13 – Abandonment
In order to ensure the property is well maintained the Landlord will usually not allow the Tenant to be away from the space for more than a specified period of time. This is to ensure the premises is always being maintained. If the Tenant does removes themselves from the property, usually more than 15 days, the Landlord may have the right to terminate the lease.
Step 14 – Governing Law
Enter the State the Property is located.
Step 15 – Notices
If the there is official notice that will be given to any of the parties, such as a notice to quit, the addresses in this section will state how it will be delivered.
Step 16 – Parking
If there is any parking provided it should be mentioned. If so, the Landlord has the option to add a monthly fee amount which is common in urban areas.
Step 17 – Additional Terms and Conditions
List any additional terms or conditions to the tenancy that have not been previously mentioned in the agreement.
Step 18 – Witness and Signature
The Parties should sign either in person or electronically. If in person, a third (3rd) party individual should be available to witness.