Month to Month Lease Legality

4 Replies

My tenant has been in the unit for 2 years now, but during this past year, she lost her job and I believe got another one.  She hasn't missed any payments, but to be on the safe side, I am having her re-qualify, i.e. income/work verification, to make sure her new income still meets my cutoff ratio.  Also, instead of renewing for a 3rd full year lease, I want to put her on a month-to-month lease which should help if she has issues making the rent.  

Summer is ending though, so I want to put a freeze in the lease between November and February where she can't move out, and I would not change the rent etc.  Should I just add an addendum to a standard month-to-month lease (which I don't even have yet because I don't usually do month-to-month leasing)? Is there a problem putting a freeze in your lease terms?

I can see a problem with you putting a freeze in a MTM lease.  MTM means exactly that and in most states requires 30 days' notice by either party and no reason has to be given.  I'd check with an attorney but why risk being sued because you are concerned about the winter months? I'd rather let the lease turn into a MTM at the end of her tenancy or find a tenant to sign a full year lease.  Best.

@Meg K. Good points.  I just didn't want to kick out a good tenant without good reason. And I really don't want her to decide to move in December.  There are short term leases, so I didn't see why it would be a problem to have a month-to-month that turned into a 4-month lease in November.  I'll keep doing some digging though.

That sounds like a lot of complication for a tenant who's been there for 2 years and given you no trouble. I don't think I would do it. That said, new tenants with us sign a 12 month lease, which converts to either 3 or 4 month lease periods on expiration. The point for me is to prevent move outs during certain months. No problems with that.

I'd say don't rock the boat.  The month to month is a good idea, but look at the entire picture before you make any decisions.  She pays her rent on time and doesn't give you any reason to believe that she will be having any difficulty.  If her history is great and other factors are not issues, I'd say let it play out and don't require her to requal.  Now, if she has been late before, is messy, has long term guests without permission, and tries to get other things by you or creates issues for you outside of the financial aspect, that is a different story.  If she has been a good tenant though, let her continue to be on a month to month until there is more than speculation.  Good tenants are out there, but why replace one or push one if it isn't necessary?

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