When the legal relationship between the landlord and the tenant is verbal and essentially unwritten, it is usually as a periodic estate, which is sometimes called periodic tenancy or an estate (tenancy) from period to period. However, the periodic tenancy can sometimes—and probably always should be—in a written agreement.
When no lease agreement is present, state and local statutes govern the landlord-tenant relationship. One of the key statutes that apply especially to periodic estate/tenancy is the notice requirements for termination.
Periodic tenancy continues indefinitely from period to period, and does not end unless the tenancy is properly terminated. Strictly speaking, a month-to-month tenancy begins anew with each month's rental payment. In fact, however, the tenancy renews and continues even when the tenant fails to make a timely payment.
This restriction, however, is normally a two-way street. The tenant's responsibility will continue indefinitely unless that tenant formally terminates the tenancy. If a tenant decides to vacate the premise at the end of a paid month, that tenant will continue to be liable for future rent payments if the tenancy has not been terminated.
A late payment does result in delinquency and default. But to terminate the lease agreement, the landlord and/or tenant must provide a proper notice of termination. Each state has its own governing statutes, but most states share similar notice requirements:
If the required termination notice period is not met, the termination notice is effectively void. Note that when the landlord is processing an eviction, most state and local landlord-tenant laws require the landlord to reject any rent payments from the tenant. If the landlord does accept a payment, the periodic tenancy may be reinstated and any eviction attempts would have to be reinitiated.
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