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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.
In the state of New York, a tenant can decide to enter into a long term lease agreement with a landlord, or they can opt for a month to month option that will only hold the tenant responsible for staying in the property for a month at a time. If the lease is not going to continue for the next month, the person who is ending the contract must give the other party a 30-day notice. In New York, a tenant that has resided in the same unit for more than a year must be given a 60-day notice to vacate the premise. This document will serve as a legal agreement that will enforce the tenant’s actions while living in the unit, and it will also give help to enforce the actions of the landlord.
Typically, a month to month lease does not differ that much from a long term lease; the same type of policies and regulations that are set in one is set in the other and the terms of the lease are agreed upon. In general, this type of agreement is typically rolled over to the next month at the end of each month. This will continue as long as the rent is paid on time, or the landlord decides that they no longer want the tenant to continue living there.
This is a type of lease that is much more flexible, so if a tenant is planning on living in the area for an unknown amount of time, a month to month lease may be right what they are looking for. It will allow them to continue living in the same location as long as they need, but when it comes time for them to relocate, a simple notice is all that is required, and they will not be breaking the terms of the lease. It is also a great option for a family that is looking to purchase a home in the area. Once they find their dream home, they can simply move out of their current unit without any repercussions.
The one thing that differs with a month to month rental agreement is that the amount of rent that is paid for the unit can go up at any time. This can come as a surprise to the tenant, so in order to do this, a notice pertaining to the increase must be given to the tenant 30 to 60 days before the increase goes into effect. The amount of time required will vary based on the amount of the increase. In general, these type of rentals does tend to cost a bit more than a yearly rental because the unit has a higher chance of being vacant.
Writing a New York Month-to-Month Lease Agreement
Here are the specific sections advised to include in a legally-compliant month-to-month residential lease agreement in the state of New York:
As with most long term rental agreements, this document will begin with the name of both of the parties that are participating in the agreement as well as the date that the agreement is to begin This section, which is designed to include the full legal name of the tenant and the landlord, will also contain the contact information for both parties as well. This will include a good phone number where the landlord and the tenant can be reached.
The next section that will need to be spelled out in this document will give the details of the property that is being rented out in the agreement. The full address of the property should be included in this section as well as the unit number of the floor if it applies. In some areas of New York, it is imperative that the county is listed with the address as well, so take this into consideration when preparing this type of document.
The Terms of the Lease
Here, the starting date of the lease needs to be stated clearly. Typically, this is put into the document in the following format: mm/dd/yyyy. This will give both parties a definitive date that the agreement began, and it will give both parties a date to go by for things like lease termination. Another thing that should be covered here is the amount of money that the tenant has agreed to pay each month for the unit that is being rented. The date that the payment is due for the month and the location where the check should be dropped off will also need to be stated in this section. This most likely means that the address for the management office will be listed on the lease in this section.
If the rent is not paid in a timely fashion, the landlord has the right to terminate the contract, but they also have the option of attaching a late fee onto the amount that is due if it is not in by a certain date in the month. Make sure to note when the rent is late, and the amount that is charged for the late fee. This can be a flat rate that is charged for the late rent, or it can be a percentage that increases daily.
Also, even though this is a month to month lease, the landlord is very likely to require a security deposit to be paid and held by the landlord to be used to make any repairs that may need to be done when the tenant vacates the property. If the tenant decides to vacate the property without giving the 30-day notice that is required, the landlord can rightfully keep the security deposit that was given. If the property was vacated correctly and there is no damage to the property once it is empty, the tenant should receive their security deposit back.
In this section, the landlord will add any of the imperative information about the lease that the tenant needs to know. Some of the topics that can be covered here include:
- Quiet time enjoyment: This is designed to let the new tenant know if there is a time that the landlord would like the residents who live on the property to keep the volume down. This will help ensure that all of the tenants in the building can sleep when they want to without being disturbed.
- Occupants: Some landlords do not allow guests of the tenant to stay in the home for an extended period of time without some notification. If this is something that the landlord needs to know about, then it should be listed here.
- Utilities: When a tenant is in a month to month contract, the landlord may decide to pay the utilities and ad the cost to the monthly rent. This is so that the name on the bill does not need to be changed every time a new tenant moves into the unit.
- Pets: Not all rental properties in New York allow pets in the space. Whether the landlord allows cats, dogs, both, or neither on the property should be stated in this section of the lease. Some landlords will also limit the breed of dog that is permitted on the property, so if this is the case, make sure that the potential tenant is aware of this before signing the lease.
- Maintenance and repairs: Anything that needs to be fixed in the unit or on the property needs to be discussed in this section. Sometimes the landlord will be responsible for taking care of these issues when they occur, but other times they may have the tenant take care of it. If specific issues are covered by the landlord, it should be addressed in this section.
- Alterations and improvements: Anything that the tenant wants to change when it comes to the property and the unit that they are renting specifically will need to be approved by the landlord before starting the process. In some cases, these alterations can be subtracted from the rent owed once it is approved by the landlord.
Additional Terms and Conditions
When there is a month to month lease between a landlord and a tenant, there are going to be some things that need to be discussed before the tenant moves in so that they can have a better understanding of what to expect on a daily basis. If a tenant is only living on the premise for a limited time, they need to feel at home during this time, so they will need to know where they can park and what they will have access to. Some of the things to consider putting in this space include:
- Parking: This will either assign a specific parking space for the tenant or allow them to park in any of the spaces on the premise that are available when they come home. The tenant may be required to put a sticker on the window of their vehicle to indicate that they do indeed live on the premise, but this will assure that their vehicle does not get towed unexpectedly. In this section, the tenants may be asked to add some information about the vehicle that will be parked on the premise. This can include the make and model of the car, the year, the color, and the license plate number.
- Balconies: If the property has balconies, the rules that are present for the use of the balconies should go in this section. Most properties do not allow grilling to be done on the balcony or for the residents to have clothing hanging from them at any time.
- Grilling: Is grilling allowed to be done on the property at all, or is it an activity that the tenants cannot take part in on the property? Some landlords will provide grills in the lawn that tenants can use, but others may not allow grilling at all. If there are rules about this activity, make sure to note them here.
- Bicycles: When a resident has a bike, they are going to need to have a place to store it. Some rental properties have a designated space where residents can park their bikes, which can be much more convenient than hauling the bike upstairs to take it into a second-floor unit.
- Adding Locks: If a tenant does not feel that a single lock on the door of the unit is sufficient, sometimes they will decide to put an additional lock on the door. This can increase the security of the unit, but it may not be permitted by the landlord because it will not grant them access to the unit if there is an emergency. Some landlords will permit the lock to be added as long as they have a copy of the key. If there are any restrictions to adding a lock on the door of the unit, it should be stated here.
Reporting an Issue
If there is an issue in the unit that will affect the unit or others around it, then it should be reported directly to the landlord. One of the main issues that landlords in New York experience when it comes to this type of issue is water leaks. If there is a leak of any kind that cannot be stopped quickly, contact the landlord immediately. The landlord will most likely instruct the tenant to turn the water off until they can get someone into the unit to fix the issue. If water is coming from another unit, it must be reported as well. Water that is left unattended can cause mold and damage to the walls and ceiling that can be costly to repair.
Since this agreement is legally binding on that is between two parties, both of the parties will need to sign the bottom of the document. This symbolizes that both the tenant and the landlord accept the terms of the month to month rental agreement and that it is set to begin at the date that is outlined in the terms of the lease. The document must also be dated, and both parties must print their name as well. If there is more than one tenant moving in the unit, then all of the new occupants that will be moving into the unit must sign the document.