Property Management Blog

Is a Month-to-Month Lease Better for Landlords?

System - Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Property Management Blog

Savvy landlords know the importance of requiring tenants to sign a lease or rental agreement before moving in. Now, among the lease options landlords have is a month-to-month rental agreement. This is a short-term agreement that allows landlords to rent out their properties without any long-term commitments. 

A month-to-month lease is different from fixed-term leases and has its own pros and cons. The following is everything you need to know regarding a month-to-month lease and whether it’s better for your rental business. 

What is a Month-to-Month Lease? 

First, a month-to-month lease is just like any other rental agreement in the sense that it’s a legally binding document. It binds both parties to the lease for a month and to break it, either party must serve the other appropriate notice. In Virginia, the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires that a notice of at least 30 days be served prior to terminating a month-to-month lease. 

Usually, landlords use month-to-month agreements to extend fixed-term leases that have come to an end. This helps avoid holdover situations, where a tenant occupies a property without a lease agreement. That said, it’s also possible for landlords to require tenants to sign a month-to-month lease from the very start. 

two people looking over contracts while sitting on a couch

Why Would a Landlord Choose a Month-to-Month Lease? 

Landlords who choose a month-to-month lease agreement over fixed-term leases usually do so for flexibility purposes. A month-to-month lease can make it easy for you to choose who to rent to and for how long. It can also be helpful when you want to extend a fixed-term lease agreement rather than have the tenant hold over. 

That said, month-to-month agreements can make it harder for landlords looking to generate a consistent rental income. This is because you may find yourself experiencing vacancies every now and then. 

Pros of Month-to-Month Lease Agreements 

Just like any other type of lease, a month-to-month lease has its fair share of pros and cons. The following are the pros: 

You Can Terminate It Easily 

Terminating a month-to-month isn’t as complicated as terminating a fixed-term lease. With a fixed-term lease, you’ll have to wait for the entire period to end to get back your home. The only exception would be to either seek mutual termination or evict the tenant for a legitimate cause. 

With a month-to-month lease, however, all you have to do is serve the tenant with proper notice of termination. The minimum termination notice for tenants on a month-to-month lease in Virginia is 30 days. 

a contract with a pen on top of it

You Can Test the Waters as New Landlords 

Are you a newbie DIY landlord? If so, a month-to-month lease can help you figure out whether or not being a landlord is right for you. You can use this time to learn how best to market your property, screen prospective tenants, and handle maintenance requests.

You’re can Raise the Rent

A month-to-month will enable you to raise rent quite easily without having to lose a tenant. But before you do so, make sure you check local laws to know the minimum notice requirements. 

In Virginia, how much notice you need to provide tenants prior to a rent increase depends on the lease term. For month-to-month, a 30 days notice is mandatory. Also, make sure to comply with anti-discrimination laws and retaliation laws.

Breaking the Lease has No Penalties

Unlike fixed-term leases, there is no penalty for breaking a short-term lease. After all, it’s expected that either party will ultimately end it. The same cannot, however, be said of fixed-term leases. Breaking a fixed-term lease often results in financial and legal ramifications. 

You’re Able to Retain Quality Tenants

A month-to-month rental contract can enable you to retain desirable tenants for optimal returns and reduced stress. Once you land one, you’ll just have to keep renewing their lease until they eventually leave. 

two people shaking hands in front of a large window

You Have Time to Find a Replacement Tenant

As already mentioned, the minimum notice to break a month-to-month rental agreement is 30 days Once the renter leaves, you won’t be on a time crunch trying to re-rent the property. You’ll have time to market the property, screen prospective tenants, and show the rental units to interested tenants. 

Cons of Month-to-Month Leases 

Month-to-month leases aren’t without some cons. They are as follows: 

The End Date is Never Certain

Month-to-month lease agreements can be desirable in some situations, especially when looking for overall flexibility. However, with flexibility comes uncertainty. Having to find a renter every now and then will have an impact on your bottom line. 

For optimum return on investment, you’ll want to hold onto a quality tenant for as long as you can. 

You’ll have a Less Stable Income

Keeping a tenant temporarily will have a negative impact on your bottom line. You may have a less stable income, which may result in a poor return on investment

How are Fixed-Term Leases and Month-to-Month Leases Different from Each Other? 

Fixed-term leases last for far much longer, usually between 6 months and a year. Also, unlike month-to-month leases, breaking fixed-term leases carries certain financial and legal ramifications. 

Bottom Line

So, is a month-to-month lease better for landlords? It depends! Examine both the pros and cons to determine whether it’s the best option for you. For expert help in managing your rental property, turn to the experts at KRS Holdings. We can help maximize your ROI and provide you peace of mind. Get in touch to learn more about our management services!