Month-to-month tenancy is a precarious position to be in. There are reasons why you might want to choose this rental option, but it can leave you without an apartment if you’re not careful.
In a month-to-month tenancy, either party can terminate the tenancy with just 30 days notice. Neither party has to explain why the tenancy is being terminated, only that it is. The landlord may also raise the rent at any time with the consent of the tenant, and give thirty days notice if the tenant refuses. If you’ve lived at the property for more than 1 year 60-days notice is required, and if you’ve lived there for more than 2 years, 90-days notice is required.
Of course, if month-to-month tenancy didn’t have some advantages, nobody would do it. It’s a great option for people who already know they’re going to need to move. In addition, the original lease terms hold. If the landlord wanted to renew the lease with a bunch of new terms you didn’t want to deal with, the month-to-month option can help you avoid those provisions.
In addition, you’re protected under all of the NYC laws that protect tenants. The landlord still has to adhere to the warranty of habitability, for example. On the other hand, if you make too much noise about a problem they might just shrug and give you your thirty days notice. We can challenge that in court: it is illegal to give you notice just because you complain about poor conditions or make a call to the housing inspector, but only if you can prove you made the complaint.
In addition, you can only be evicted with a 14-day demand for the rent (or a 30-day demand in a mobile home park), or if you received notice and did not leave. If you are a Section 8 or HUD Housing recipient, there are additional protections that apply to you. They can also evict you for violations of your original lease, as you are still bound by those terms.
Ultimately we would tell you that it is generally better to either renew your lease or negotiate an extension if you can. An extension can give you a few more months under the same lease terms. Not all landlords will use them, but they are a legal option.
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