As a landlord, you may consider using a month-to-month lease at some point. We’ll give you the pros and cons of this type of lease and show you when you might use them.
Both tenants and landlords experience flexibility with this type of lease. Tenants with uncertain situations may look for a month-to-month lease rather than commit for six months or more. Students and those with unpredictable jobs may seek out these leases because they won’t have to pay a penalty when their situation changes.
Great for trial periods
Landlords and tenants may want to initiate a trial period to ensure that they are a good fit. In this case, the landlord may put the tenant on a month-to-month lease with an option to renegotiate a longer lease after the trial period.
Harder to find
Month-to-month leases are harder to find because of the risks and hassle that landlords deal with when finding new tenants on a regular basis. A longer lease means more reliable income for landlords and a stronger landlord-tenant relationship. For these reasons, many landlords and property managers prefer that their tenants commit to a longer period of time.
There are expenses associated with the rental process, and renting can be more expensive for tenants if they are changing apartments regularly. They may be paying for criminal background and credit checks, cleaning fees, deposits, and other moving expenses more than tenants on a six-month lease. Sometimes, landlords increase the rent on month-to-month leases as insurance for unreliable tenants.
This is the other side of the coin when it comes to flexibility. If a lease is set up to be terminated with 30 days notice with no financial penalty, then it is very easy for landlords to find themselves without a tenant. Likewise, renters may be moving sooner than they expect if the lease is not renewed. Both landlords and tenants have more stability with a long term lease.
They could affect your credit
Moving around could affect a tenant’s credit. A new landlord means a new credit check. If the landlord uses a “soft” credit inquiry, then the tenant’s credit will not be affected. However, if a landlord uses a “hard” credit inquiry, then the tenant could see a small decrease in their credit score. Read more about hard and soft inquiries here.
Month-to-month leases don’t provide the stability that longer-term leases do, but they can be good in certain situations. You might be tempted to forgo a lease for short-term tenants, but it is always a good idea to have a lease. This can prevent misunderstandings happening between landlords and tenants and sets out the financial expectations.