month-to-month tenancy

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A month-to-month tenancy is a periodic tenancy that does not have an expiration date and thus runs for an indefinite time. The tenant continues as such and pays the monthly rent to the landlord until one of the parties gives notice to terminate the tenancy.

Under common law, notice is effective at the end of the complete month following notice given by any of the parties. For example, according to the common law rule, a month-to-month tenancy that started on January 10 will expire on February 9. If the landlord gives notice to terminate on February 12, the month-to-month tenancy will finish on April 9 because, at the monthly period ending on March 9, a whole monthly term would not have passed from the time of notice.

However, some states have enacted statutes establishing shorter notice periods, such as 15 days. Therefore, under such specific statutes, if either the landlord or tenant intends to terminate the tenancy, the interested party must give the other notice of that intent before the time of notice established in the statute. Otherwise, the month-to-month tenancy will continue for another complete period.

If there is no written contract, the parties’ conduct may create a month-to-month tenancy. For instance, if the landlord accepts the monthly rent paid by the tenant, that conduct will create a month-to-month tenancy. Conversely, the tenant and landlord may also expressly create a month-to-month tenancy. Finally, a month-to-month tenancy is presumed if the parties enter into a lease contract with no stated duration period.

[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]