We get way too many calls to our office from landlords who are unsure of what type of tenancy characterizes their tenants. The word “squatter” routinely gets thrown around simply because landlords do not understand the different types of tenancy. Understanding the different types of tenancy is crucial for understanding the eviction process and writing/serving notices. So, how well do you know the different tenancies?
First, your tenant may be under a lease agreement. This lease can either be written or oral and has a definite period of time. A lease agreement has both a commencement date and an expiration date.
If your tenant does not have a valid lease and pays rent on a periodic basis, he/she is in a periodic tenancy. This tenancy could include a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, or even year-to-year tenancy, depending on how often rent is paid. We see this type of tenancy occur when landlords fail to renew a year lease once it has expired and still continues to collect rent routinely from their tenant. In a periodic tenancy, the notice period is defined by the payment period. For example, if your tenant pays each month and you are looking to terminate their tenancy, you will need to serve them a 28-day notice at the end of a rental period. However, if your tenant pays every week, then a 7-day notice will suffice to terminate their tenancy. Don't forget that you can still serve 5-day and 14-day notices in a periodic tenancy.
Lastly, your tenant may be an at-will tenant. Often referred to by our clients as “squatters”, these tenants do not have a valid lease and do not pay rent periodically. However, they may have a valid claim to the possession of the property. For example, your tenant may live at your property in exchange for maintenance and yard work. Traditionally, you will need to provide your tenant with a 28-day notice at the end of a month to terminate a tenant at-will. Please consult an attorney before trying to evict an at-will tenant, as each unique situation may lead to a different strategy for eviction.
The best way not to worry about all of this is to make sure your tenants sign new leases every year. We always recommend that our clients keep up with the current landlord/tenant laws and have leases that conform to the latest statutes and rules. Call us today to clear up any tenancy turmoil!