Leasing properties is a significant aspect of real estate investing, and the choice between month-to-month leases and fixed-term leases can greatly impact a landlord's business strategy.

Understanding the pros and cons of different leasing options is crucial in making an informed choice that aligns with your investment goals.

What is a Month-to-Month Lease?

A month-to-month lease is a rental agreement that renews each month automatically. Unlike a fixed-term lease, which binds both tenant and landlord for a set period (typically a year), a month-to-month lease offers flexibility. Either party can terminate this agreement with proper notice, which is usually 30 days.

Why Landlords Prefer Month-to-Month Leases

Many landlords favor month-to-month leases due to their flexibility. This arrangement allows you to adjust rental terms rapidly in response to market changes, such as increasing rent in a high-demand area. It also provides the freedom to end the lease conveniently if you have other plans for the property, like renovations or selling.

Pros of Month-to-Month Leases

Flexibility and Control

One of the primary benefits of month-to-month leases for landlords is flexibility.

These agreements allow landlords to adjust terms, such as rent prices, with relatively short notice. This is especially beneficial in rapidly changing markets where the ability to adapt quickly can lead to increased profits.

An aerial shot of a suburban cul-de-sac

In contrast, fixed-term leases lock both parties into set conditions for the duration of the lease, which can be limiting if market conditions change.

Potentially Higher Rental Income

Month-to-month leases can potentially lead to higher rental income due to their premium nature. Tenants often pay more for the flexibility these leases offer.

This lease type attracts a variety of tenants, including those seeking short-term housing, offering you a diverse tenant pool.

Market Dynamics and Adaptability

The ability to quickly adapt to market conditions is a significant advantage of month-to-month leases. Landlords can adjust rental rates to match current market trends, ensuring they are not locked into rates that become uncompetitive.

This adaptability is less feasible with long-term leases, where landlords must wait for the lease term to end before making significant changes.

Risks of Month-to-Month Leases

Tenant Relations and High Turnover Rate

The impact of lease type on landlord-tenant relationships is also crucial. Month-to-month leases may attract tenants seeking temporary housing or unsure of their long-term plans, potentially leading to a higher turnover rate. This can strain the landlord-tenant relationship and increase the administrative workload.

Conversely, tenants desiring stability might prefer long-term leases to foster a more stable and long-term relationship with their landlord.

Legal and Administrative Aspects

Legally, month-to-month leases can be more complex. Eviction lawhttps://selfhelp.courts.ca.gov/eviction-landlords and notice requirements often differ for these types of leases compared to fixed-term agreements.

A mailed eviction notice.

Managing month-to-month leases requires more administrative effort due to the higher tenant turnover rate, including more frequent tenant screening, lease negotiations, and property maintenance between occupancies.

Financial Risks

While month-to-month leases often generate higher rent, this comes with the risk of frequent vacancies and associated costs, such as advertising for new tenants and preparing the property for new occupancy.

The lack of long-term commitment from tenants may result in irregular rental income. Long-term leases, while typically lower in monthly rent, provide more financial stability and predictability, as the rental income is guaranteed for a longer period.

How to Know If a Month-to-Month Lease Is Right For You

Determining whether a month-to-month lease is right for you as a landlord involves evaluating several factors specific to your situation and goals. Here are key considerations to help you make this decision:

Understand Your Market

  • Rental Demand: High-demand areas where tenants seek short-term housing options may be well-suited for month-to-month leases.
  • Market Volatility: In markets with fluctuating rental prices, month-to-month leases allow you to adjust rent more frequently.

Evaluate Your Financial Goals and Risk Tolerance

  • Income Stability vs. Flexibility: If consistent income is crucial for your financial stability, a longer-term lease might be preferable. However, if you value the potential for higher rent and can manage periods of vacancy, a month-to-month lease could be advantageous.
  • Risk Tolerance: Month-to-month leases often involve higher tenant turnover, which can lead to increased vacancy rates and associated costs.

An empty living room

Assess Your Availability for Property Management

  • Time Commitment: Month-to-month leases generally require more active management, including frequent tenant screenings and property maintenance.
  • Property Management Resources: If you have limited time or prefer not to engage actively in property management, you might consider a fixed-term lease or hiring a property manager.

Understand Legal and Regulatory Factors

  • Legal Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local laws regarding month-to-month leases, such as notice periods for rent increases and lease terminations.
  • Eviction Laws: Understand the eviction process in your area, as it may differ for month-to-month leases compared to longer-term agreements.

Planning for the Future of Your Property

  • Flexibility for Future Use: If you have plans to sell or renovate the property in the near future, a month-to-month lease offers more flexibility to end the current tenancy when needed.
  • Long-Term Investment Strategy: Consider how a month-to-month lease aligns with your long-term investment goals.

Analyzing Tenant Preferences and Behavior

  • Tenant Demographics: Consider the type of tenants your property attracts. Properties in areas popular with students, temporary workers, or transient populations might benefit more from month-to-month leases.
  • Tenant Stability: Evaluate if you prefer the stability and lower turnover rates associated with longer-term tenants.

Why You Should Hire a Professional Property Manager

Given the dynamic nature of month-to-month leases, hiring a professional property manager can be a wise decision. They can handle the complexities and frequent changes associated with these leases, including marketing your property, screening tenants, managing legal paperwork, and ensuring timely rent collection.

Large binders filled with papers.

This not only saves you time, but ensures your property is managed efficiently and professionally as well. You’ll maximize your investment while minimizing your stress and workload.


Month-to-month leases offer a great deal of flexibility and potential financial benefits to landlords. However, they also come with their own set of challenges.

By understanding these dynamics and considering the assistance of a professional property manager, you can make the most out of your rental property and manage month-to-month leasing effectively.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.