What Is A Periodic Tenancy? Definition, Examples, Termination & Laws

What Is A Periodic Tenancy? Definition, Examples, Termination & Laws

What Is A Periodic Tenancy? Definition, Examples, Termination & Laws

A periodic tenancy is a type of rental agreement where a tenant rents a property for a certain period of time, usually a week, a month, or a year, and the tenancy automatically renews for another period until the tenant gives notice to end the tenancy.

This type of tenancy can be created either by an explicit agreement between the landlord and tenant or by implication, such as when rent is paid at regular intervals without a specific end date being agreed upon.

For example, if a tenant signs a lease agreement for a year and continues to pay rent on a monthly basis after the lease expires, the tenancy becomes periodic.

To end a periodic tenancy, the tenant must give notice to the landlord at least equal to the length of the period of the tenancy itself, unless the parties agree to different terms for termination

Periodic tenancies are common in situations where tenants and landlords want flexibility, such as when a tenant is uncertain about how long they will stay in a property or when a landlord prefers to have the option to make changes to the lease terms or rent on relatively short notice.

It’s important for both parties to understand the terms of the periodic tenancy and to be aware of local rental laws and regulations, as they can vary from one jurisdiction to another.

Key characteristics of a periodic tenancy include:

  1. No Fixed Term: Periodic tenancies do not have a set duration, so they can continue indefinitely as long as both the landlord and tenant do not terminate the agreement.
  2. Notice to Terminate: Both the landlord and the tenant usually have the right to terminate a periodic tenancy with proper notice. The notice period can vary by jurisdiction but is typically 30 days. In some cases, it may be longer or shorter, so it’s important to be aware of local laws.
  3. Rent Payment: Rent is typically paid on a periodic basis, often monthly, but it can also be weekly or quarterly, depending on the terms of the agreement.
  4. Flexibility: Periodic tenancies offer more flexibility to both tenants and landlords. Tenants can leave with proper notice, and landlords can decide to end the tenancy with notice if needed.
  5. Renewal: In the absence of a termination notice from either party, the periodic tenancy automatically renews for another period (e.g., another month).
  6. Legal Protections: Tenants in a periodic tenancy generally have the same legal protections as tenants with fixed-term leases, including protections against unlawful eviction and the right to habitable living conditions.

How To End A Periodic Tenancy

Ending a periodic tenancy typically requires giving proper notice to the other party, whether you are the landlord or the tenant. The specific steps and notice periods may vary depending on local rental laws, so it’s essential to check the regulations in your jurisdiction

Following proper processes helps avoid illegal lockouts or self-eviction when terminating a periodic tenancy.

Here are some key steps for ending a periodic tenancy:

  1. Check your rental agreement and state laws – The notice period required to end a periodic tenancy may be specified in the rental contract. If not, your state’s landlord-tenant law will dictate the required notice. Common notice periods are 30 days or 60 days.
  2. Serve proper written notice – Most states require advance written notice from the landlord or tenant to terminate a periodic tenancy. The notice should state the date the tenancy will end. Make sure the method of delivering notice follows your state’s rules (e.g. certified mail). Keep a copy.
  3. Comply with notice period – The tenant needs to vacate by the end date specified on the termination notice. As the landlord, you cannot repossess the unit until the notice period has fully elapsed. State the exact end date clearly.
  4. File for eviction (if needed) – If the tenant won’t vacate after proper notice, you’ll have to formally evict through the court system. An eviction lawsuit is necessary to legally compel the tenant to move out.
  5. Remove belongings (if abandoned) – If the tenant vacates but leaves belongings behind, follow rules for disposing of abandoned property. This involves storing items and notifying the tenant before disposing.
  6. Change the locks – Once the unit is vacant, change the locks immediately so the tenant can’t re-enter. Provide new keys to any new tenants.

Example of Periodic Tenancy

Here are some examples of periodic tenancies:

Month-to-Month Tenancy

This is the most common type of periodic tenancy. The lease automatically renews each month and continues indefinitely until either the landlord or tenant provides proper notice to vacate (usually 30 days). The tenancy period is one calendar month.

Weekly Tenancy

In this case, the occupancy period is one week. The tenant pays rent on a weekly basis and the lease automatically renews each week unless terminated with proper notice (typically 7 days). This is common with room rentals.

Yearly Tenancy

The lease period is one year. The tenant rents on an annual basis and the lease rolls over every 12 months unless the landlord or tenant ends the tenancy by providing notice (typically 60-90 days).

Biweekly Tenancy

With this type of periodic tenancy, rent is paid every two weeks. The tenancy period is 14 days and the lease automatically renews every two weeks unless canceled with sufficient notice (usually 14 days).

Statutory Periodic Tenancy

This is when a fixed-term tenancy ends but the tenant remains in the property with the landlord’s consent. This automatically creates a periodic tenancy, often defaulting to month-to-month unless stated otherwise.

In essence, any rolling tenancy without a set end date that continues until canceled by either party is considered a periodic tenancy. The most common is month-to-month due to the frequency of monthly rental payments.

Disadvantages Of Periodic Tenancy

The main downsides are lack of stability, higher turnover costs, and less predictable income for landlords and tenants alike. However, periodic tenancies provide more flexibility if either party needs to end the arrangement.

Here are some potential disadvantages of a periodic tenancy for tenants and landlords:

For tenants:

  • Lack of stability – Periodic tenancies can be ended with proper notice, so tenants don’t have the stability and predictable end date of a fixed term.
  • Rent increases – Landlords can raise the rent with advance notice, which may be challenging for tenants on tight budgets.
  • Evictions without cause – Landlords can terminate a periodic tenancy without specifying a reason, as long as they provide proper advance notice.
  • Moving costs – More frequent moves may mean paying moving costs more often if the landlord ends the tenancy or the rent is raised.

For landlords:

  • Lack of long-term income – Periodic tenancies don’t guarantee a long-term tenant, so income may be less predictable.
  • Lower rental demand – Tenants may prefer the stability of a fixed term and be less interested in a periodic tenancy.
  • Admin hassles – More frequent tenant turnover means more work screening tenants and arranging unit turns.
  • Proper notice required to end tenancy – Landlords must still follow proper state notice rules before terminating a periodic tenancy.
  • Risk of problem tenants – It may be harder to remove an undesirable tenant without a lease violation.
  • Limitations on rent increases – Most states limit how much and how often rent can be raised with a periodic tenancy.


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