How Much Notice Is Necessary to Terminate a Month-to-Month Lease?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Generally, state and local rules vary widely. Because most leases are based on monthly rental payments, the law presumes the ending of a one year lease becomes the payment period, usually every month. The 30-day notice, or “Notice to Quit,” can be given by a landlord on any day, not necessarily on the 1st or any particular day. Notice is effective 30 days thereafter, with the tenant responsible for the rent to the end of the 30th day.

In some states, landlords may be required to allow the tenant to remain until the end of the current period plus one more revolving period. For example, if the tenant pays rent monthly on the first of the month and the landlord wants to give the tenant 30 day notice on the 15th, the 30 day notice period begins the next time the tenant pays rent, on the first. The tenant may stay the remaining 15 days in the current rental period plus an entire 30 day period after that.

Tenant rights and responsibilities can vary widely, depending on where you live. New York City, for example, has been rated as the most regulated rental market in America, which gives both tenants and landlords more avenues from which to pursue their rights. Some states, including some court judges, are regarded as more or less friendly to landlords or tenants. Florida, for example, often has a reputation of being renter-unfriendly.

When a one-year lease ends, it is possible to argue (but not very likely to succeed) that you want a new 1-year lease, or even some other period of time. This argument is likely to be undercut by the way payments have been made since the one-year lease ended. If it has been several months, for example, then this is strongly suggestive that a month-to-month lease is what was accepted by both parties. The law usually also requires an annual lease to be in writing.

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