In real estate law, a periodic tenancy refers to an arrangement between a landlord and a tenant in which the tenant occupies a property on a periodic basis. The tenancy may be set on a week-to-week, month-to-month, or year-to-year basis. Alternatively, though less common, the landlord and tenant can agree on another time period. Usually, no formal termination date has been set, and the tenancy runs for an indefinite period of time.
A periodic tenancy can occur for either commercial or residential properties, and it primarily arises in a couple of different cases. Most commonly, it occurs when a tenant continues to inhabit a property after a formal written lease has ended. This is considered an implied periodic tenancy. In other situations, a landlord and tenant can enter into a written agreement that expressly specifies the periodic rental period. These rental arrangements can be advantageous because they provide landlords and tenants with the ability to end rental agreements on relatively short notice.
Termination of a periodic tenancy ordinarily occurs when one party gives the other party proper termination notice. Usually, the notice needs to be one full period, unless otherwise dictated by statute or a written agreement between the parties. For instance, if the periodic tenancy is month-to-month, notice of termination would need to be given a month in advance. If proper notice is not provided, the tenancy can end by agreement of the landlord and tenant or by a court order. As a general rule, termination notices should be made in writing.
A periodic tenancy is different from a tenancy at will, which is an arrangement in which either a landlord or a tenant can terminate a tenancy without giving the other party prior notice. A tenancy at will often forms if the parties have not entered into a formal lease. It can also occur if the tenant has not offered consideration, such as the payment of rent, for the tenancy. For example, a tenancy at will may be created if a person allows a relative to live in his or her home without entering into a formal agreement.
Many jurisdictions also distinguish between a periodic tenancy and a fixed-term tenancy. When the term is fixed, the parties usually enter into a written agreement that specifies a date on which the lease ends. Neither the landlord nor the tenant is required to give notice of termination. The lease simply ends on the date set forth in the agreement.