What establishes a month-to-month tenancy?

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2011

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What establishes a month-to-month tenancy?

I am being told that I have an implied contract because I paid 3 months rent in the form of a check under my parents name (as a graduation present). I, on the other hand, have paid for the rental utilities under my name and under my checks. Is this implied that I signed a 1 year lease? I received a lease, however I never signed it nor given it back to her. Is this considered month-to-month? She wants to take me to small claims court now. Am I obligated to continue payments after I leave if I have given proper notice?

Asked on August 22, 2011 Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A month to month tenancy is created either intentionally, in a written lease; or it is the tenancy created when there is no written lease. In the absence of a written lease therefore--i.e. if there is only an oral or verbal agreement--you tenancy is month to month. (Be careful of one thing: a "lease" does not always have to be a single signed piece of paper; it is possible that if there was extensive correspondence setting out the terms of the tenancy, which you agreed to, that a lease could be found to have been created. Similarly, if there was a written lease presented to you, which you did not sign, but you moved in, resided there pursuant to its terms, made all payments called for under it, etc., it could be argued that your actions accepted the lease.)

Assuming there is no written lease, your obligation is to provide 30 days notice prior to terminating the tenancy; you  would be obligated to pay for the notice period (if you left before it was over), but not otherwise--i.e. if you give the proper notice on a month to month tenancy, you are not responsible for rent after the notice period.

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