Most of my leases are month-to-month written agreements and I love doing business this way. Why? Many reasons:
- People are transient. They lose jobs, get transferred, etc. A monthly lease makes it easier on them and the landlord, should their situation change.
- Generally speaking, you can charge a little more in rent for the privilege of using a monthly agreement.
- And my favorite … in a monthly lease, I can terminate the lease, with 30 days’ notice, at any time, for almost any reason, assuming discrimination is not involved. For example, if my tenant has a bad attitude, is surly and difficult, argumentative, bothers the other tenants, has bad personal hygiene and the apartment smells funky, or whatever else irritates me. Now, it’s a bit tricky to say these things to a tenant, but you can always say you’re going to do some renovation to the place and need to have them vacate within 30 days.
- If you do give a 30-day notice, the tenant is obligated to continue paying rent for that period.
- Several of my homes are multi-family, and one bad apple can change the whole complexion of the house. I love for my tenants to get along with each other; I make them share the grass-cutting chores, etc. If I had year-long leases, it would be tough getting that bad apple out.
- Month-to-month leases aren’t any more difficult to execute than yearly leases. They stand up just as well in court if you need to evict someone.
In the high-end rentals I manage, the tenants are all on yearly leases. It’s more common to see monthly leases in low- and middle-income rentals. But they work well across the board, so don’t be afraid to use them.