Is a month to month or a one year lease better?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Let’s go to Tony in Winter Garden. Tony, you’re on News 96.5. Go ahead.

Tony: Yes, good morning gentlemen. I have a townhouse that I rent out and the tenants have moved out a few moths ago. I have an acquaintance that I work with and he got a divorce and he needed a place to move into quick. So he’s been in there now for approximately two months, but I still haven’t given him a lease to sign. I am a little concerned about his money situation to be able to make the month lease. So should I go with the month-to-month lease when I see him or should I go with the year’s lease? Which is going to be the easiest for me to evict him, if God forbid I had to?

Attorney Tom Olsen: So, Tony that is a question- For this I’m going to turn you over to attorney Rob Solomon, so that’s the question, Rob. From Tony’s perspective is it okay to have an oral month-to-month lease or would Tony be better off with a written one-year lease?

 Attorney Rob Solomon: Okay, Tony, so the person who came in actually is a tenant, even though you haven’t written anything down. He’s been there, I presume he’s been paying rent and so he is a month-to-month tenant. Now you've raised a very interesting question, one that I talk about in my workshops, which is; is there really a benefit to a landlord to have a year-to-year lease as opposed to a month-to-month lease and I think this is where I do give some advice. It’s a little bit counterintuitive, which is- I actually think that landlords are better with month-to-month leases. I don’t like that it’s not written. You can write a month-to-month lease. I write them all the time. If you needed one, that’s something that we could do for you. So it should be a written one with all the appropriate terms in it. But the benefit of a month-to-month lease for a landlord is, when you want him to leave, if you want to sell the place, it’s relatively short notice for it to get him out. On the other hand, when he departs on a lease, you’ll never going to see him again possibly, and so, a year-to-year lease sticks you with a lease, it binds you way more in a practical way than it binds the tenant. So I’m a believer in month-to-month leases for landlords.

Attorney Tom Olsen: So, Rob, what you're saying is always, from your advices, that the landlord have the lease in writing, but not necessarily for a one-year term. A month-to-month term could be- serve the landlord better. 

Attorney Rob Solomon: Absolutely. Yes, and the only reason why the landlords don’t do it is a commercial reason, which is it’s hard to get tenants in when you don’t promise them a year, but his tenant is already in, he’s already a month-to-month tenant. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: Got it.