A month-to-month rental agreement outlines the terms of the lease, such as the rental amount and security deposit. It should also include the landlord and tenant responsibilities. While the specific contents of month-to-month rental agreements vary by state, there are three basic rental agreement templates you can use based on property type like single-family, multifamily, or vacation home.
Free Downloadable Month-to-Month Rental Agreement Templates
Each of our free rental agreement templates includes information that should be included in your month-to-month lease, such as how much the rental amount is and who is responsible for paying the utilities. We have three templates so you can use the one that best describes your rental property.
Below you can download our free rental agreement templates:
- Single-family home month-to-month rental agreement template: Use this for a single-unit property
- Condo, apartment & multifamily month-to-month rental agreement template: Use this for a rental in a two or more unit building
- Vacation rental property month-to-month rental agreement template: Use this for vacation homes; most property owners don’t use a lease for Airbnb rentals, but this can help with other vacation rentals and includes clauses around furnishings
Keep in mind that these rental agreement templates should be used in conjunction with your state’s laws and disclosures. We provide links to landlord-tenant laws by state in our map, but you should still consult with an attorney to make sure you’re abiding by state and local laws.
For more information about the intricacies of the landlord-tenant relationship, including the legal rights and responsibilities of each party, consider an online course from Lorman. In just 94 minutes, this continuing education provider will teach you the specifics of the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act, the guideline for landlord-tenant law in most states. Get full access for just $199.
Examples of State Landlord-tenant Laws
As we’ve mentioned, landlord-tenant laws vary by state. Check your state laws and consult with a local attorney if you have any questions about state-specific landlord-tenant laws. These laws pertain to things such as eviction proceedings and security deposits, among others.
Let’s look at couple landlord-tenant laws in different states:
- California: Landlord can charge up to two months’ rent for an unfurnished unit and three months’ rent as a security deposit for a furnished unit; you must return a security deposit to the tenant within 21 days of their move out date
- Florida: No limit on maximum security deposit amount and deposit must be returned to tenant within 60 days of their move out date
- New York: There is no maximum security deposit amount, and the deposit must be returned within a “reasonable amount of time”; no specific time period is given
“In Illinois, the landlord must hold the security deposit for a month-to-month rental agreement or an annual lease agreement in a federally insured, interest-bearing bank account located in the state. They may not comingle the deposit with other funds.”
― Ericka Rios, Principal & Director of Leasing, Downtown Apartment Company.
For more information on landlord-tenant laws, check out our in-depth guide on landlord-tenant laws.
Landlord-tenant Laws by State
Our interactive map shows how landlord-tenant laws differ by state. Specifically, you can click on the state in which you own rental property. Once there, you can see what the landlord-tenant laws and disclosures are concerning evictions, security deposits, and more. This is helpful so your lease can be in compliance.
Check out the map below for landlord-tenant state laws and disclosures regarding your residential lease agreement:
Avail takes the burden out of figuring out state-specific laws and disclosures. It’s a property management software for landlords and property managers, and it includes tools for do-it-yourself landlords like lawyer-reviewed leases that include state-specific disclosures. Your first unit is always free and additional units start at $24.99 per month.
When to Use a Rental Agreement Template
Typically, landlords use a rental agreement template so they can save time by not creating their own month-to-month lease agreement from scratch. You should use our free rental agreement as a guide to build off of while incorporating your own state’s specific landlord-tenant laws.
“As a landlord, usually the terms of the agreement are the same. Using a rental agreement template saves on time and money for attorney fees to recreate your lease, should you have multiple tenants.”
― Ray Foster, Owner, 2nd Chance Investment Group
Typically, you should use a rental agreement template when:
- You’re not sure what to include in your month-to-month rental agreement and need a free template to use as a guide
- You want to compare the rental agreement form your property manager uses for your tenants with a template to see if the month-by-month lease they’re using contains all of the pertinent information
- You own multiple properties and want to use the same terms for each one, and the rental agreement template serves as a starting point
Who a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement Is Right For
A month-to-month rental agreement is usually right for short term rental and vacation rental property owners who want their place filled longer than for just a few days or weeks. It’s also right for off-peak, difficult to rent times of the year, such as winter in the Northeast because it offers tenants flexibility.
A month-to-month rental agreement is typically right for:
- A landlord who is selling a property but needs rental income before it sells
- A property that isn’t renting well during an off-peak season, such as the summers in South Florida or around the winter holidays in the Northeast
- A real estate investor who owns property in an area with a high relocation rate
- An investor who rents to college students who won’t be in the area for an entire year
- If you’re renting your personal residence while you’re temporarily away
- The end of an annual lease that has a monthly renewal clause
“In Texas, after the year lease ends, the lease automatically renews to a month-to-month lease. If the landlord wants to extend the lease agreement for another year, the landlord must present the tenant with an extension of the lease agreement, stating new terms, such as an increase in the monthly rent.”
― Nancy Wallace-Laabs, Real Estate Broker, KBN Homes
Who a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement Is Not Right For
Now, let’s look at when a month-to-month rental agreement may not be right for you:
- If your lender restricts month-by-month leases and requires annual leases
- If the building your unit is located in doesn’t allow month-by-month leases; check with your homeowners’ association (HOA) to see the minimum lease length permitted
- For commercial property owners because commercial real estate often requires expensive build outs and takes longer to rent than residential property; however, a monthly lease is often used in strip malls and other similar properties unless the lender won’t allow it
- For properties with high vacancy rates, because short term leases can negatively affect a property’s return on investment
“Every time a renter moves out, the landlord has to spend some amount of money on repairing and/or cleaning your rental. In my experience, month-to-month leases encourage renters who do not plan on staying in your property for too long. I prefer leases of at least one year, preferably longer to avoid high turnovers.”
― Cornelius Charles, co-owner, Dream Home Property Solutions, LLC
Keep in mind that landlords typically have the ‘power’ with month-to-month leases because they can end the lease for any reason, which is different than an annual lease. With an annual lease, the landlord has to wait until the end of the lease to terminate it, or the tenant must break one of the rules of the lease for it to be legally terminated early.
However, don’t use a month-by-month lease for the wrong reasons, such as making a tenant’s lease term uncomfortable as a real estate pro mentions below:
“Landlords in a month-to-month lease agreement often think that because the leasehold is so short that they can make the lessor’s life hell. They can cross the threshold into constructive eviction, which occurs when the warranty of habitability becomes so frustrated by disrepair or intervening forces that the very purpose of using the space is no longer available. For example, allowing loud neighbors and turning off the water. This is illegal, and you may be liable for the damages.”
― Brad Biren, Attorney, Johnston Martineau
For more information on leases and what you should include in a residential lease, check out our residential lease agreement template.
What to Include in a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
A month-to-month lease agreement varies by state, but it should have certain components that make the landlord’s and tenant’s responsibilities clear from the initial lease signing. For example, the tenant may be responsible for paying all utilities, and the landlord is responsible for maintenance and repairs. Specifying this information can help prevent problems and evictions later on down the road.
Here are the 15 most important components of a month-to-month lease agreement.
1. The Term of the Rental Agreement
The term of a month-to-month agreement outlines how long the lease will be, which is one month. It should include the time, date, month, and year that the lease will begin and end and the renewal option. The most common type of month-by-month rental agreement renews automatically on a monthly basis until either the landlord or tenant ends it.
Typically, the tenant or landlord will need to give at least 30 days’ written notice to end the monthly lease. However, some states like North Carolina only require seven days’ notice while Delaware requires 60 days’ notice. To find out the amount of notice your state requires, use landlord-tenant state law map.
2. Security Deposit for a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
This section of the rental agreement template outlines the amount of security deposit due prior to move in. The security deposit is given by a tenant to a landlord and can be used by the landlord if the tenant damages the property above and beyond normal wear and tear. It can also be used by the landlord at the end of the lease term if the tenant has unpaid rent.
The security deposit section of a month-to-month lease agreement should note the amount of the security deposit, what account it’s held in, and when it needs to be returned. Typically, security deposit amounts range from one months’ rent to three months’ rent and usually have to be returned from 15 to 60 days from the tenant’s move out date.
3. Month-to-Month Rental Agreement Total Move in Money Required
The move in money is the amount of money required for the tenant to move into the property, which is typically a security deposit, first month’s rent, and sometimes last month’s rent. The lease should specify the total amount needed to move in, how much the tenant has already paid and the remainder due.
Typically, the tenant will leave a security deposit once their application and proof of income are accepted, and the remainder of the move in money will be due prior to the move-in date.
Pro tip: Don’t allow a tenant to move in if the entire amount of their move-in money hasn’t been paid in full. This can save you headaches and possibly an eviction in the future.
Keep in mind that some apartment buildings and condominiums charge a few hundred dollars in administrative fees each time a tenant moves in so that will need to be noted as part of the tenant’s move in money.
4. Amount of Monthly Rent in a Monthly Lease Agreement
The amount of the monthly rent is one of the most important sections in a month-to-month rental agreement. It outlines how much the rent is and when it’s due. Usually, the rent is paid monthly and due on the first of the month. Typically, there will be a grace period until the rent is due. For example, if the rent isn’t paid within three days of the due date, a late fee will be assessed. The late fee is mentioned in more detail in the late fee section
This section should also include how the rent should be paid. For example, online or in the mail, as well as the forms of payment accepted. Acceptable forms of payment may include credit card, money order, personal check, or money-receiving app like PayPal.
5. Month-to-Month Rental Agreement Late Fees & Returned Payment Fees
Late fees can be charged to the tenant for paying the rent past the grace period of the due date and are outlined in the month-by-month lease agreement. A typical grace period is three to five days past the due date. Late fees vary by state but are typically 10% of the monthly rent.
Returned payment fees are fees charged to the tenant for a method of payment that was returned by a financial institution for any reason. For example, a tenant writes a check and it bounces, a returned payment fee will be charged. Returned payment fees also vary but are generally $50 to $75. Once again, remember to check your state landlord-tenant laws to see if they set maximum late and returned payment fees.
If you need help with a lease that includes your state’s landlord-tenant laws and disclosures, check out Avail. They’re a property management software that offers lawyer-reviewed leases with state-specific disclosures. Your first unit is always free and additional units start at $24.99 per month.
6. Number of Occupants Allowed in a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
The number of occupants allowed to live in a month-to-month rental property legally varies by state, but typically the maximum allowed is two people per bedroom. The occupants need to be listed on the lease along with their age ― if age 18 or younger ― and if they’re older than 18, each occupant should be screened.
When you’re ready to screen potential tenants, check out RentPrep. It’s a community-driven tenant screening service that also offers rental background checks. It can help take some of the frustration away from screening tenants yourself. Its tenant screening services start at $18.95 per report.
7. Insurance Required for a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
Typically, rental property insurance does not protect a tenant’s belongings, so it’s recommended that a tenant has renters’ insurance prior to moving into the property. Some buildings also require that each tenant has a certain amount of coverage and list the management company as an additional insured person on the policy.
8. Maintenance in a Month-by-Month Rental
This section of the rental agreement template will outline if the tenant, landlord, or both are responsible for the maintenance of the property or both of them. Typically, a landlord is responsible for anything higher than $100 worth of repairs or maintenance. This is to prevent the tenant from calling the landlord about small issues like light bulbs, smoke detector batteries, and air conditioning filters.
Remember to include who the tenant should contact for maintenance or repairs. Typically, the tenant should contact the property manager, landlord, or contractor directly for maintenance requests.
9. Utilities for a Monthly Rental
This section lists all of the utilities associated with the unit or the property and whether or not they’re included in the rent. It also includes who is responsible for paying each of the utilities. For example, the landlord may be responsible for water, sewer, and trash removal and the tenants pay their own electricity, gas, and cable.
Along with utilities, this section should also include things such as:
- Lawn care: This includes who is responsible for cutting the grass, watering flowers, and so on
- Snow removal: The landlord will be liable if someone slips on their property, so it’s important to outline who is responsible for snow removal
- Pool cleaning: This tells you who is responsible for cleaning the pool, with what chemicals and how often because a dirty pool can have bacteria and be dangerous to swim in
- Minimum temperature of the thermostat: In most states that get cold weather in the winter, the tenant is responsible for keeping the heat above a certain temperature to prevent the pipes from freezing
- Heater maintenance: Typically, the landlord is responsible for making sure the heater is functioning
10. Month-to-Month Rental Agreement Landlord & Tenant Responsibilities
This section outlines the responsibilities and expectations of both the landlord and the tenant. Usually, a landlord is required to have working smoke detectors in the property, and the property should be free of any building code violations. The tenant should let the landlord know of any repairs as soon as possible. The tenant is also expected to use the property legally and responsibly and keep it clean.
Some key landlord responsibilities include:
- Maintain all common areas
- Keep all systems in working order, including heating, plumbing, and air conditioning, even if the tenant hasn’t paid rent
- Provide a habitable rental unit that meets all state and local health and building codes
Some key tenant responsibilities include:
- Follow all laws while in the property, such as no illegal drugs or explosives on the property
- Keep the rental unit in safe and sanitary condition
- Allow the landlord to enter the premises when notice has been provided or without notice during an emergency
- Not purposefully damaging the unit, which is referred to as tenant caused damage
11. Subletting a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
Typically, subletting a property during a month-to-month lease is not allowed because the tenancy is short and can be ended quickly. However, if the landlord does allow subletting, he or she will need to screen each subletter as if they were new tenants so that they know who is living in his or her property.
If you agree to let your tenant sublet your property, you may need help screening tenants. This is where RentPrep can help. It offers tenant screening services, including background reports and credit reports. Its tenant screening services start at $18.95 per report.
12. Quiet Enjoyment of a Monthly Rental
Quiet enjoyment has varying definitions. However, in terms of month-to-month rental agreements, it means the tenant is entitled to have quiet enjoyment of the property without disturbing other tenants’ neighbors. It also means the tenant can’t violate any building rules or laws.
Some buildings and towns have noise restrictions during certain hours, such as quiet hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and some neighborhoods also have similar restrictions. So, make sure you and your tenants know what is expected of them so everyone can have quiet enjoyment of their property.
13. Termination of a Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
Another important aspect of a month-by-month lease agreement is information about terminating the lease. This section should include how the legal eviction process works in your state and how much notice the landlord needs to give the tenant before eviction proceedings begin. Typically, at least 15 days’ notice is required before you can begin eviction proceedings.
14. Month-to-Month Rental Agreement State Laws, Rules & Addendums
This section should include any state landlord-tenant laws, disclosures, building rules, and any addendums. For example, this is where you would find the HOA building rules, a pet addendum, and a lead-based paint disclosure if applicable. This section can be customized to your property and include anything not addressed elsewhere in the lease.
15. Monthly Rental Agreement Signatures
The signature section is usually the final section of a month-to-month rental agreement form. The contract isn’t valid until both the landlord and tenant sign it. You should also put the date it was signed next to each signature. As is the case with any signed legal contract, we recommend having an attorney review the lease terms prior to signing.
Month-to-Month Rental Agreement Template Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below, we will answer some frequently asked questions on a basic rental agreement, specifically a month-to-month lease agreement. If you have additional questions or would like to comment on the subject, please visit our FitSmallBusiness forum.
Below are some frequently asked questions about month-to-month rental agreements.
Do You Have to Give 30 Days’ Notice on a Month-to-Month Lease?
How much notice you have to give to end a month-to-month lease depends on if there’s a landlord-tenant law that dictates the amount of notice required in your state. The amount of notice required to end a month-to-month tenancy should also be written in your lease.
It’s important to include the amount of notice required to end the lease, so both the landlord and the tenant know how much notice is required before signing the month-to-month rental agreement.
Can a Landlord Terminate a Month-to-Month Lease Without Cause?
Typically, a landlord can terminate a month-to-month lease without cause as long as proper notice is given. The proper notice should be outlined in the month-by-month lease and is typically 30 days, but it may vary by state so be familiar with your state’s landlord-tenant laws.
How to File an Eviction on a Month-to-Month Tenant?
Typically, you will need to go through the local court proceedings to file an eviction on a month-to-month tenant, or they will have to accept cash for keys, which is an alternative to eviction. The steps to file an eviction vary not only by state but also by the municipality. However, typically you will need to give the tenant written notice, go to court, and then schedule the eviction date with the local sheriff’s office.
The Bottom Line
A month-to-month rental agreement form includes the landlord’s and tenant’s rights and responsibilities like who pays the utilities and takes care of the landscaping. There are typically three types of month-to-month rental agreement forms based on property type, but the specific contents of the month-by-month lease vary by state.