I have always had to sign a year lease when renting. However, when bought a rental last year and I suggested this to my property management company they acted like it was out of the ordinary to ask someone to sign a year lease. My father says that it's not the norm.
Is this local culture or is there even a standard?
The property management company I work with for my rental asks for a one-year lease. That's in san francisco. When I used to rent in SF, my rent was month-to-month (possibly after an initial one year lease).
I always thought this decision is up to the landlord's preference.
I've never heard of anyone not wanting a lease at the beginning of a tenancy. When I lived in the Bay Area, I lived in two rentals. Both started as a one year lease and then continued month-to-month.
My understanding it signing a lease is standard, even on a month to month tenancy. What happens if you don't have a signed lease & have to go to eviction court & judge asks to see it?
The standard for most areas is a one year lease at the initial agreement and reversion to a month-to-month tenancy upon expiration. It depends on what kind of market you're currently in however; if the market is on the upside then lock them in for another year (or two) at the most that you can, if it's slow, you anticipate needing to have them vacate in the near future, or just want to keep your options open then leave it on a month-to-month.
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