Landlords and Tenants: Leases and Leaseholds
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Periodic Tenancies
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A periodic tenancy is a leasehold in which you as the tenant have an interest in the premises that continues from period to period until it is terminated by proper notice by either you or your landlord. For example, let’s say you’re unsure how long you’re going to be living in one place because your boss tells you that you’re going to be relocated, but he’s not sure when. Under these circumstances, you decide to enter into a lease by which you rent your apartment on a month-to-month basis. This is a periodic tenancy, where a "month" constitutes the period under which you rent.

A periodic tenancy can be created a number of different ways, but it is most typically done via a written lease agreement. If the period is less than one year, the lease does not actually have to be in writing. In fact, your landlord could simply tell you to pay him a certain sum on a monthly basis, and this in and of itself would create an implied periodic tenancy. Finally, a periodic tenancy could be created by operation of law. For example, let’s say that you sign a lease to rent an apartment for one year. At the end of your lease, instead of moving out, you pay another month’s rent to the landlord, and your landlord cashes the check. By doing this, you and your landlord have essentially created a periodic tenancy under which the period consists of a "month."

Until the tenant or the landlord gives proper notice to the other party, a periodic tenancy will be automatically renewed for successive periods. Proper notice usually consists of notice given one full period in advance, after which you must vacate the premises at the end of the following period. For example, under a month-to-month lease, you must give your landlord one month’s notice prior to terminating your periodic tenancy. If your landlord tells you on January 1st that your lease is being terminated, you have until the end of February to vacate the premises. The only exception to this, absent any other agreement between the parties, is when a "year" constitutes the period under which you rent. If you are renting year-to-year, then you or the landlord must give six months’ notice prior to ending the periodic tenancy.

Next, let’s take a look at tenancies at will.

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