What is a tenant at will?

What is a tenant at will?


A tenant at will refers to a type of tenancy agreement where a tenant occupies a property with the permission of the landlord, without a fixed-term lease or rental agreement. This arrangement is often more flexible and informal than traditional leases, allowing both parties to have greater flexibility in terminating the tenancy. In this article, we will explore what a tenant at will is, the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord, and the advantages and disadvantages of this type of tenancy.

Understanding Tenant at Will

A tenant at will, also known as a month-to-month tenancy or an estate at will, is a rental agreement that does not have a specified end date. Instead, it continues on a month-to-month basis until either the tenant or the landlord decides to terminate the tenancy. This type of arrangement is often used when the landlord and tenant want more flexibility, such as in situations where the tenant is unsure about the duration of their stay or when the landlord wants the option to quickly regain possession of the property.

Rights and Responsibilities

Tenant’s Rights: A tenant at will has certain rights, including the right to occupy the property as their primary residence, the right to privacy, and the right to a habitable living environment. The tenant is entitled to the same basic rights and protections as tenants with fixed-term leases, such as protection against unlawful eviction and the right to request repairs for essential amenities.

Tenant’s Responsibilities: The tenant at will is responsible for paying rent on time, maintaining the property in a reasonable condition, and adhering to any rules or regulations set by the landlord. They must also provide proper notice when they intend to terminate the tenancy, typically 30 days in advance.

Landlord’s Rights: The landlord has the right to collect rent, enter the property for necessary repairs or inspections, and terminate the tenancy with proper notice. They may also increase the rent, but usually with advance notice as required by local laws.

Landlord’s Responsibilities: The landlord is responsible for maintaining the property in a habitable condition, making necessary repairs, and ensuring that the tenant’s rights are respected. They must also provide proper notice if they intend to terminate the tenancy.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Tenant at Will: One of the main advantages of being a tenant at will is the flexibility it offers. The tenant has the freedom to move out with relatively short notice, allowing them to adapt to changing circumstances or take advantage of better opportunities elsewhere. For landlords, this arrangement provides the flexibility to adjust rental terms or regain possession of the property without waiting for a fixed-term lease to expire.

Disadvantages of Tenant at Will: The main disadvantage for tenants is the lack of long-term stability. The landlord can terminate the tenancy with proper notice, which may disrupt the tenant’s living arrangements. Additionally, the rent can be increased more frequently compared to fixed-term leases. For landlords, the main disadvantage is the potential for higher turnover rates and the need to find new tenants more frequently.


A tenant at will is a type of tenancy agreement that offers flexibility for both tenants and landlords. It allows tenants to occupy a property without a fixed-term lease, providing the freedom to move out with relatively short notice. Landlords benefit from the ability to adjust rental terms and regain possession of the property more easily. However, this arrangement also comes with certain disadvantages, such as the lack of long-term stability for tenants and potentially higher turnover rates for landlords. It is important for both parties to understand their rights and responsibilities under a tenant at will agreement.


– Nolo.com
– LegalMatch.com
– LawDepot.com