The rental market can prove to be a very intimidating environment. There are a number of sites to search through, legal jargon to research, and even misleading landlords to deal with. Obviously it can be a very rigorous process. However, there are certain decisions to make before you even consider entering the search phase of your apartment hunt. Making these decisions early on will help elevate some of the potential stress of the entire process.
So let’s go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of specifically a month to month lease. The type of lease you decide on will impact a number of things as you move along. So consider your own needs first and compare them with the following pro’s and con’s.
For some flexibility is a very important aspect of owning an apartment. Obviously investing in a mortgage can lock you down for a longer period of time. If your future is somewhat up in the air, even within the next 6-12 months than a month to month lease might be ideal for you.
It’s important to note that you’ll need to give your landlord at least a 30 day notice before you’re ready to move on from your apartment.
While you did the added flexibility you’ll often times be charged a premium. The goal is to have an apartment rented as much as possible and finding someone to replace you can prove to be a challenging process for the land lord. To compensate for the possible time gap between your departure and another renters arrival you might have pay more.
A 12 month lease will certainly be cheaper and allow you to lock in a rental rate. However, if you do need to leave before that 12 month period is up you’ll need to find someone to take your place. This is the only way you’ll be allowed to terminate the agreement early.
Pro: TYPICALLY you can switch to a long-term lease
In most cases a Landlord will be open to the idea of you becoming a longterm tenant. As long as you we’re a good tenant that is. Discuss this possibility with the landlord first however before making your final decision.
Con: Non fixed rent
On a month to month rent basis the landlord is legally allowed to hike your rent for any reason. One of the best benefits to a 12 month lease is a locked in rent rate. So be leery of this possibility.
In most cases it isn’t all that difficult to find an apartment that was actually designed or renovated specifically for a short term renter. Places near hotspots in town for example typically accommodate such a thing. Also you should find there are some caps in place in most cities preventing land lords from hiking your rent too high. Again though, only a longer term lease will let you establish a fixed rate.
Con: Cost of Moving
Flexibility is great and all but remember if you bounce around from short term lease to short term lease, you’ll use up money that could have been used on a down payment. Also there are some apartment complexes that charge a move in fee.
Con: More Searching
In most cases landlords will want a longer term commitment so you might have to do more searching than you would like to. Finding the right land lord who won’t hike your rent and will be perfectly fine with your short term lease is some what of a rarity but it certainly can be done.
Choosing between a short term lease and a 12 month lease can certainly seem like a difficult task. Flexibility is certainly a desirable quality, especially if your at an early stage in your life. It’s important to note however again that you can in most cases opt out of your 12 year lease if you have another renter lined up to take your place. So talk to your land lord and see if they’re comfortable with you locking in a 12 month rate as well as with the possibility of you leaving as long as you have a replacement.
Bottom line, just be open an honest with your landlord about your intentions and you should be able to find a set up that works out well for the both of you.
About Seth Muenzer’s Real Estate Blog: The above article “The Pros and Cons of a Month-to-Month Lease” is hosted by the Seth Muenzer, the owner of www.sethmuenzer.com. If you’re thinking of selling or buying, I would love to share my knowledge and expertise.