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What is a Month-to-Month Residential Lease Agreement?
The month-to-month residential lease is an agreement between a landlord and a tenant for one month of residency. This type of lease is automatically renewed each month unless terminated by the landlord or tenant in accordance with state regulations. While it is not legally advised, if there is no verbal or written residential lease agreement, it is implied to operate on a month-to-month basis.
One of the best features of a month-to-month residential lease agreement in the state of Georgia is that it serves as a reliable long-term lease agreement that also allows for some flexibility for both the landlord and tenant. Unlike a standard lease agreement, there’s no preset amount of time, which in many cases is six months or one year. Instead, with a month-to-month agreement, all that’s required is a lease termination letter on the part of either party to effectively end the lease.
This is advantageous for the landlord because this allows him or her to move onto the premises down the road or sell the property. For the renter, this can work out if they are looking to purchase an ideal property that hasn’t quite come onto the market yet. This can also work well for both parties if they are trying to avoid being bound by an unfavorable lease.
Based on Georgia Code § 44-7-7, with this type of at-will tenancy, the tenant must provide the landlord with a 30-day notice before moving out of the property. For landlords, this same code also necessitates that the owner must give a 60-day notice before asking a tenant to vacate.
These lease agreements automatically renew every month after the first one, and once the lease renews, all of the associated responsibilities and disclosures outlined in the original lease will carry on in perpetuity.
Writing a Month to Month Lease Agreement in Georgia
One of the chief reasons for establishing one of these month-to-month agreements is to provide a framework that both parties can use. This includes the specific conditions in which the property must be maintained and coverage for things like monthly rent and security deposits. It also establishes a particular set of rules and regulations for terminating a lease agreement so that neither party is inconvenienced. Here are a few things to include when writing one of these agreements:
Tenant and Landlord Information
To start, this document needs to entail the information of both parties so that those involved in the lease agreement are firmly established. As a result, the full name of both the tenant and the landlord must be noted here. For a complete picture, information about the property should also be presented here. This means that not only the street address should be here, but the number of the property, the county, any cross streets, and any other identifying information should be placed here for recordkeeping. Finally, also include the date of the contract signing.
Important Property Information
In addition to the information previously mentioned, it’s crucial also to include the monthly rent amount, the due date of the rent every month, and when the lease will terminate (usually at the end of each calendar month). Of course, as a month-to-month, this means that the lease will renew on this same monthly basis. It’s important that this renewal is clearly stated.
This section will detail the location where the rent must be paid on a month-to-month basis. This will outline how payments should be submitted as well as the location the payments should be sent. In addition to this, this is also a section where the dollar amount of the first month’s rent can be included as well as the security deposit and the additional charges that the landlord may require of the tenant. Once delineated, the total amount of these items should be noted as well as the name of the person or organization that the payments must be made to.
The landlord can also include a “Late Charge” section that details the date in which rent is considered late as well as any late charges that the renter may incur. The maximum percentage of the rent late fee that must not be exceeded by the tenant is also to be included here. Finally, penalty fees for bounced checks should be included here as well.
Not every month-to-month lease agreement in the state of Georgia is between a single landlord and a single tenant; in some cases, there are multiple people staying on-premise, and in this section, the names of additional occupants, including animals, should be included. This can even include individuals that aren’t officially on the lease. It’s also a good idea to include the maximum number of occupants allowable on the property.
Some properties require a pet fee that is payable on a monthly basis to ensure that any damage done to the property by a dog or cat can be covered. Name this section “Pets,” and the dollar amount of the pet deposit or fee should be noted here. If a tenant doesn’t wish to have a pet present on the property, he or she can leave the associated “pet name” line blank. If there is to be a pet, then the name should be placed on this line and the rent increase amount demarcated on a blank line underneath.
For those tenants that have motor vehicles, it’s important to outline their rights as occupants as pertains to parking spaces. In this section, it’s essential to precisely define the number and location of any parking spaces that the renter can use during their month-to-month tenancy. Sometimes, there’s an associated monthly fee for parking, and if this is the case, a section and a blank line where this amount is cataloged should be included. It’s also in this section that a tenant can provide details about their vehicle. This can help provide identification so that the vehicle isn’t towed away at the owner’s expense.
Notice to Vacate
In Georgia, a landlord can opt to evict a renter in much the same way as he or she might evict a tenant that’s signed a traditional lease. Of course, if this is the case, the landlord must first provide a 60-day notice ahead of time. So that all parties understand this right, a section outlining this is important; simply note that if the lease terms aren’t met, then a Notice to Vacate can be furnished.
It’s critical to clearly outline tenant expectations so that there’s a smooth and easy tenancy. Here are a few things that can be noted on this lease agreement:
- Noise: When it comes to noise ordinances in Georgia, the law clearly states that past the hour of 10:00 p.m., loud noises such as those generated by speakers or sound amplifiers aren’t permitted in residential areas. Each property is different, and some landlords may establish quiet periods so that the tenants can have periods of time where they are undisturbed. On the lease agreement, it should be firmly stated that loud noises are not allowable past certain times of night without violating the lease agreement’s terms.
- What Stays: For a month-to-month lease in a furnished or partially furnished property, it’s a good idea to establish what stays and what goes when a tenant or the landlord opts to end the lease. What’s provided in the property needs to be clearly stated as part of the dwelling so that the landlord has legal recourse should any of this material be removed when a tenant leaves.
- Garbage Removal: One potential point of contention that a landlord might have with a tenant is how to remove garbage from the premises. Uncollected garbage or garbage that is placed in inappropriate places can stymie the acquisition of new tenants and make the property look unappealing. In the lease agreement, it should be clearly stated how frequently garbage must be removed from the property and where it should be placed.
- Abandonment: Since this is a month-to-month agreement, it’s understood that a tenant or landlord may end the lease, but there should still be protections in place for both parties. For this reason, this part of the agreement should establish the appropriate number of days that a property, without having rent paid, can be considered abandoned. This will help the landlord know when to seek out new tenants.
- Signage Display: Additionally, for the landlord to avoid vacant properties, the number of days before the tenant moves where the landlord may display signage indicating that he or she is seeking tenants should be established in the agreement. This can be considered the “Display of Signs” section and is established with the understanding that the current renter has given appropriate notice to the landlord.
To close the document, the signatures of any involved party are required. To start, in the state of Georgia, the landlord will have to sign and print his or her name. Underneath this, the tenant must also provide the same information – ensuring both to sign and print his or her name. Finally, if there are any co-tenants on the property, they should also sign. This section of the Georgia month-to-month lease agreement will bind all applicable parties to the rules of the month-to-month agreement and will serve as a legal record should any issues arise during the tenancy.