Another common question comes from tenants who are fighting with their landlords over issues when tenant is a month-to-month tenant (under no written lease); or that tenant is under an expiring lease that the landlord will not renew. The most common questions from month to month tenants are: 1) My landlord is forcing me to sign a lease; and 2) My landlord wants to raise my rent.
Starting with the easiest issue is when the tenant is under a lease and landlord issues a notice of non-renewal. You need to check your lease as the lease will generally say how much notice time either landlord or tenant must give in the event that either chooses not to renew the lease. When tenant is a month to month tenant, the necessary notice may be as short as 15 days, while other situations may require 30 days; however, a rental agreement may not require more than 60 days’ notice from either the tenant or the landlord. Generally it is 60 days for a 1 year lease.
Once you have verified that you received the proper amount of notice time, your next option is to try to talk to the landlord and work something out. But if landlord is adamant about not renewing your lease, there is nothing further you can do as landlord has no further obligation to you by law. If you fail to vacate the property timely, you will likely face an eviction lawsuit and have that on your public record making in much harder to rent in the future as the majority of landlords this day and age do background checks and search for prior evictions.
In regards to a situation where the tenant says that my landlord is “forcing” me to sign a lease as a month-to-month tenant, the same as the above applies. You can sign the lease or landlord will simply issue a 15 day notice terminating your month-to-month tenancy and if you fail to do so file eviction. Landlord owns the property and sets the rules of the game, and as a month-to-month tenant oyu have little leverage to interject.
The final situation relates to raising the rental price. As a month-to-month tenant, each month is a new contract with landlord. Thus, landlord can raise the rent every month if he/she so chooses. Only a written lease can lock you into a price. Again, your options as a tenant are to pay the increased amount or move out; or you may face eviction if you fail to timely vacate based on a 3 day or 15 day notice.
Our office represents landlords and tenants throughout South Florida. Please contact our office at [email protected] or 754-800-LAW0 (5290) for a free case review