5 Reasons a Month-to-Month Lease Agreement Is a Bad Idea

July 26th, 2010 by

A month to month lease agreement has many benefits but it also has several drawbacks. While you may enjoy the freedom a month-to-month lease provides, you should also be aware of the problems such a lease can create.

1. Higher Cost

Because there is always the possibility of a month-to-month lease ending in the next 30 days, most landlords charge more rent for these types of leases. Increases from $100.00 to $500.00 or more are not uncommon. The freedom to move whenever you want, therefore, comes at a cost. Added together, this increase can become quite significant. Signing a lease for a term, even if it is a short term, will save you money.

2. Transitory Neighbors

If you are on a month-to-month lease, most likely your neighbors are renting on the same type of contract. This means that your neighbors can change every month, requiring you to deal with moving company’s and new neighbors on a regular basis. The stability and safety of having a steady circle of neighbors and knowing who those neighbors are should not be ignored. If you have a problem, are in danger or in other situations your neighbors may be the ones you turn to for help.

3. Lack of Upkeep

Landlords that regularly rent on a month-to-month basis may not invest as much time, money or energy into maintaining the property. A property that is regularly vacated and leased more than a few times a year will inevitably incur damage faster than an apartment rented at most once or twice a year. Because of the recurrence of damage, your landlord may not take care of the property as needed. Potentially, also, your landlord could ignore your service requests.

4. The Possibility of the Landlord Ending the Lease

Renting month-to-month could negatively impact your ability to lease for a regular lease term, typically a year, in the future. If you desire to stay in your current apartment for the long-term, your landlord is under no obligation to accept your request or offer you a lease, meaning that you could be required to move out at any time regardless of your wish to do so. Despite your feelings about being free to move whenever you wish, moving is stressful and costly. Being forced to move by your landlord when you do not desire to do so might be something you wish to avoid.

5. Difficulty Leasing In The Future

Additionally, a new apartment complex could dislike the fact that you do not have a rental history consisting of a longer lease term than month-to-month. Possibly, the apartment complex will be afraid that you will terminate the lease early and vacate the property despite agreeing to a year lease. A new apartment complex could respond to this either by requiring that you sign a very long lease term, such as over a year, charge you higher rent or only be willing to rent to you on a month-to-month basis. In this last instance, you face the same possibility of being forced to vacate the premises on the landlord’s request.

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5 Responses to “5 Reasons a Month-to-Month Lease Agreement Is a Bad Idea”

  1. ForGreatJustice Says:

    This whole article is written to pander to landlords, perhaps a landlord even wrote it
    1. There is no justification to have higher rates month to month. Furthermore if rates drop after you sign a year lease your stuck paying the higher rate. Plus if the landlord raises rates on month to month you can leave immediately.

    2. The police are available wherever you go. Plus yearly leases are not synchronized if you move in for a year and a month later someone moves in next door you don’t want to be around your stuck for almost a whole year.

    3. If a landlord thinks he can ignore your requests on month to month the law makes no such allowances. Assuming you have to know your neighbors is not a function of the lease length.

    4. My yearly lease has a clause that allows the landlord to terminate the lease with minminal warning, so lease length has nothing to do with safety from not being moved when you don’t want.

    5. Supporting paranoia in others is not wise. Past lease terms have nothing to do with how long someone will stay in the future. It’s like saying if you play basketball for an hour, next time for sure you’ll only play an hour, instead of three or at all. There is no predictive relation at all.

    The bottom line is there is no relation between lease terms and any of the things mentioned.

  2. newlandlord Says:

    I think post 2008 all of us landlords have to make due with month to month leases in a case by case situation. For example, if you had a great tenant that paid on time and was signed on for 12 months and they request a month to month lease, I think you are almost forced to do it. Also, as long as you have 30 days notice when they leave there is nothing really to lose.

  3. mateo Says:

    i need help>>>>excellent rental history for 7 years, trying to buy a home, but i just rec’d. a 30 day notice to vacate?

    been month to month since my lease expired June 30th.

    and yes, this trailer mgr. has been giving me a hard time for awhile>>>gone to corporate on him successfully several times.

    went from $665>$850, cuz they needed to bring me up to mkt. value…?

    and you’re rite, moving before YOU want to is HELL!!!!!

    any suggestions>>>i got an excellent credit and pymt. history, but i’m staring @ an eviction?

    somebody out there knows something>>>let me know.

    thanks!

  4. Andre Says:

    @for great justice. Sir, you know absolutely nothing about leasing properties or its laws.

  5. SouthScotts Says:

    I agree with Andre, Justice is oversimplifying and misunderstanding the points given in the article. Just to address the repairs – there is more to tenant service than the laws. Example: ceiling fan breaks, landlord can go to Home Depot and find the cheapest available model, which would fulfill his obligation. Or, they can get something upgraded, or even ask the tenant for design preference. What if the tenant needs something like extra dark window shades because they sleep during the day? Or a pet door? Good luck if you are month to month. Bottom line, month to month tenant will get less sevice for more money, and that does not make the landlord a bad guy, just practical.

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