MONTH-TO-MONTH TENANT(tenancy at will)
What is commonly referred to as a month-to-month tenant or month-to-month rental is legally recognized as a tenancy-at-will.
A tenancy-at-will is basically a rental agreement that can be written or oral that does not contain start and end dates,
in other words the agreement does not contain a length of time for the tenancy. The law then determines
the missing start and end date by how often the rent is paid.
The most common
situation is that rent is paid monthly therefore the law determines that the tenancy is monthly. Each month
when the tenant pays rent and the landlord accepts the rent the tenancy is renewed for a month. Hence,
the tenancy is called a month-to-month. Rent can also be paid weekly, quarterly, yearly or with whatever
frequency is agreed upon by the landlord and tenant. The law will then determine the tenancy to be week-to-week,
quarter-to-quarter and so on.
A tenancy-at-will is also created at the end of a lease that contains and
end date where the tenant continues to reside at the rented property with the permission of the landlord. Example,
a lease has an end of June 30 and the rent is payable on the first of the month, the tenant does not move out by June 30 and
pays rent to the landlord on July 1, after the lease has expired and the landlord accepts the rent. At
this point a month-to-month tenancy-at-will has been created.
A tenancy-at-will can be terminated
by either the landlord or the tenant, by either one giving the other notice of their intention to terminate the tenancy.
Unlike other notices that are required by law, the contents of a notice to terminate a tenancy-at-will are not spelled
out by Florida law. However, Florida law sets forth the procedure that a landlord or tenant must use to
give notice of their intention to terminate the tenancy-at-will, which is basically a two-step process, timing and delivery.
The first step is to determine when the notice must be delivered. Using the most common scenario
of a month-to-month tenancy the law requires the notice to be delivered 15 days before the rent is due. If
the rent is due on the first of the month the notice must be delivered by the 15th of the previous month.
Example, rent is due on the first and you want to terminate a month-to-month tenancy before the May 1st
rent is due. The notice must be delivered by April 15th, which is at least 15 days before the
next rental installment is due, May 1.
On the issue of timing Florida law section 83.57 provides
the following guidance:
“1) When the tenancy is from year to year, by giving
not less than 60 days' notice prior to the end of any annual period; (2) When the tenancy is from quarter to quarter, by giving not less than 30 days' notice prior to
the end of any quarterly period; (3) When the
tenancy is from month to month, by giving not less than 15 days' notice prior to the end of any monthly period; and (4) When the tenancy is from week to week, by giving not less than 7 days'
notice prior to the end of any weekly period.”
The second step is how to deliver the notice. Florida law requires that the notice be either mailed
or delivered personally. Although, not required by law, it may be a good idea to use certified mail, delivery
confirmation or some other form of verifiable delivery service so that the first step of timing does not become an issue later.