Q: I’m thinking of signing a month-to-month lease on an apartment. What are the pros and cons?
A: The major advantage of a month-to-month tenancy is flexibility. Either party can end the tenancy in 30-60 days by giving a notice that they wish to terminate the tenancy. The major disadvantage of a month-to-month tenancy is the lack of long-term security. A tenant is only guaranteed a place to live for the next month or so. Similarly, the landlord is only guaranteed a paying tenant for the next month or so.
Q: I have a month-to-month tenancy. Can my landlord end my tenancy for no reason?
A: Usually yes, but there are exceptions. Generally, a landlord can simply inform a month-to-month tenant that the tenancy will end 30 days from the date the next rent payment is due. However, month-to-month tenants who live in low-income housing tax credit projects, tenants who receive certain federal housing subsidies, and owners of manufactured homes who are renting lots from manufactured home parks, cannot have their tenancies terminated unless there is good cause, such as a non-payment of rent.
Landlords are also prohibited from terminating month-to-month tenancies in retaliation for tenants engaging in protected activities such as requesting repairs or calling code enforcement.
Q: I am a month-to-month tenant and my rent is due on the first day of the month. Today is March 10th and I just got a notice from my landlord that he wants to end my tenancy in 30 days. When does my tenancy end?
A: Your landlord is required to give you notice at least 30 days before the periodic rental date. This usually means that a 30-day notice ends the tenancy 30 days from the next date your rent is due. Since it is March 10th your rent will next be due on April 1st, and your tenancy will end on April 30th.
Q: What happens if I don’t leave by April 30th?
A: If you do not vacate by that date, you will become a “holdover tenant” because you are staying at the property beyond your lease term. The landlord could then file a “Notice to Leave the Premises,” asking that you vacate within three days. If you remain at the property after those three days, the landlord could file an eviction action in court.
Q: If the landlord files an eviction action in court, when would I have to be out?
A: The court will schedule an eviction hearing (usually in 2-4 weeks) and serve you with papers telling you when and where the hearing is. If the court grants the eviction judgment, the landlord can have a bailiff post a tag on your door explaining the deadline to vacate (usually between five and 10 days). If you are not out by that time, your belongings can be set outside with assistance from law enforcement.
Q: Where can I get more information?
A: Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA) provides information about evictions and other landlord/tenant issues through www.ohiolegalservices.org.
This “Law You Can Use” consumer legal information column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was prepared by attorney Benjamin D. Horne of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus.