A month-to-month tenancy is a lease or rental agreement whereby the leasee has the right to the property only on a month-to-month basis. This is in contrast to longer leases, such as a yearly lease. The tenant has the right to leave the property with 30 days notice, while the landlord also has the right to change the terms of the lease or request the tenant leave within 30 days.
Some tenants prefer a month-to-month tenancy to obtain greater flexibility. For example, when a person is in a month-to-month tenancy situation, he is not bound to remain in his apartment for the duration of a one-year lease. He can move to a different location or vacate the apartment without penalty, as long as he gives his landlord 30 days written notice of his intent to vacate. With a longer lease, if the tenant wishes to leave early, he may lose his security deposit and may be held legally accountable for the rent the landlord loses as a result of his early departure.
There are both benefits and detriments to a landlord in month-to-month tenancy. The main benefit is that the landlord is not locked into a rental rate. This means if rents go up in his area, he can raise the rent. If he receives a lucrative offer to sell the property or a better offer of higher rent, he is free to take the offer and evict the tenant, provided he too provides the required 30 days written notice.
Month-to-month tenancy also has significant detriments to a landlord as well, however. First, the landlord cannot count on having the rental income from that given piece of property for as long of a period of time as he could if he had a longer lease. This makes it more difficult for him to assess his projected cash flow on the building and can create problems for him if the rental market falls and the tenant leaves and he is unable to find a tenant to take over the apartment.
In addition, if a landlord rents an apartment or piece of land through a month-to-month tenancy agreement, he may be required to devote more time to finding new tenants frequently. If the property owner employs a manager to find new tenants, this can raise his wage costs as he must pay the manager to spend the time to find new tenants. In addition, operating costs can also go up in other ways. For example, the costs of marketing the apartment and cleaning the apartment when new tenants move in can be high.