Renting: what type of tenancy is best for me?
There are few different ways to rent an apartment or house. The two most common are renting with a written Lease or as a Tenant at Will.
With a Lease, you and your landlord have a written agreement called a Lease. A lease that states your rental amount, the length of your tenancy and any other rules in place for renting. A lease is usually for one year, but can be shorter or longer upon agreement of both parties.
As a Tenant at Will, there is no agreed upon date for you to move out, so you have a month-to-month tenancy. Either party may end the tenancy at any time after giving the required 30 day notice. Your month to month agreement with your landlord may be written or oral.
So now for the pros and cons of each type of rental:
As a Tenant at Will, you may have an oral agreement to rent or you may have a written agreement with your landlord that says you have a month to month tenancy or it does not say when your tenancy ends. Month to Month tenancies can also be created when you stay past a lease term without signing a new written Lease. The biggest “pro” to a month to month tenancy is flexibility. Both you or your landlord can terminate your tenancy by giving a 30 day notice to quit (from the landlord) or notice to vacate (from you). If you do not plan on staying in the area, or are trying to buy a house, or move frequently for work, these are good reasons to have a month to month tenancy. The biggest “con” is the same thing – felxibiltiy. As a month to month tenant, you do not have a long-term right to this property. Your landlord can ask you to leave at any time with 30 days notice. For that reason, month to month tenancies don’t always appeal to most renters.
As a Tenant with a written Lease, you have a written agreement that spells out your rights and responsibilities for the term of the lease. During this term, usually a year, the landlord cannot raise the rent. Nor can she evict you just because she may want you to move out. During this year, the landlord can evict you only if you have not paid your rent or if you don’t follow the terms of your lease. For example, if the lease says you cannot have pets and you get a dog without your landlord’s permission. Or if you violate a noise ordinance or other rule set forth in the lease, then your landlord can begin the eviction process based on your alleged violation of the lease. The biggest “pro” to a Lease is having security. You have a right to rent your apartment or house for the full term of that lease as long as you pay on time and follow the rules. The biggest “con” is lack of flexibility. If something changes in your life and you need to move, you are still responsible for the rent for the full term of that Lease. Your landlord could sue you for the remaining months rent if you vacate early.
No matter how you choose to rent, I advise you to consider purchasing Renter’s Insurance to protect yourself and your personal property in case of a disaster at the property you are renting. Your landlord’s insurance may not be enough to fully protect you as a renter. Whether you choose to rent month to month or with a written lease, it is always a good idea to have your attorney review the paperwork before you sign. Feel free to contact me at Vargo Law 413-781-3000 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.