What is tenant at will?

What is tenant at will?


Tenant at will refers to a type of tenancy agreement where a tenant occupies a property with the permission of the landlord, but without a formal lease or fixed term. This arrangement provides flexibility for both parties, allowing the tenant to occupy the property on a month-to-month basis and the landlord to terminate the tenancy with relatively short notice. In this article, we will explore the concept of tenant at will in more detail, including its advantages and disadvantages for both tenants and landlords.

Understanding Tenant at Will

A tenant at will agreement is a less formal arrangement compared to a traditional lease. It typically does not involve a written contract and can be established through an oral agreement or even implied by the actions of the parties involved. This type of tenancy can be terminated by either the landlord or the tenant with relatively short notice, usually 30 days, although the specific notice period may vary depending on local laws and regulations.

Advantages for Tenants

Flexibility: One of the main advantages of being a tenant at will is the flexibility it offers. This arrangement allows tenants to have a more temporary living situation, which can be beneficial for individuals who are uncertain about their long-term plans or need temporary housing.

Shorter Notice Period: Compared to traditional leases, tenant at will agreements generally require a shorter notice period for termination. This can be advantageous for tenants who may need to relocate quickly or have changing circumstances that require them to move out on short notice.

Less Financial Commitment: Tenant at will agreements often do not require a significant financial commitment, such as a security deposit or a long-term lease. This can be beneficial for tenants who may not have the means to provide a large upfront payment or who prefer to have more flexibility in their financial obligations.

Advantages for Landlords

Flexibility: Just as tenant at will agreements offer flexibility for tenants, they also provide flexibility for landlords. Landlords can terminate the tenancy with relatively short notice if they need the property for personal use, decide to sell it, or have other reasons for ending the arrangement.

Easy Eviction Process: Compared to formal leases, tenant at will agreements generally have a simpler eviction process. If a tenant fails to comply with the terms of the agreement or violates any rules, the landlord can terminate the tenancy with the appropriate notice and proceed with eviction if necessary.

Disadvantages for Tenants

Lack of Security: One of the main disadvantages of being a tenant at will is the lack of security. Since the tenancy is not based on a fixed term, the landlord can terminate the agreement with relatively short notice, leaving the tenant with the need to find alternative housing quickly.

Inconsistent Rent Increases: In some cases, landlords may increase the rent more frequently for tenants at will compared to those with formal leases. Without a fixed term agreement, landlords have more flexibility to adjust the rent as they see fit, potentially leading to more frequent rent increases for tenants.

Disadvantages for Landlords

Uncertain Income: Landlords who have tenants at will may experience more uncertainty regarding their rental income. Since the tenancy is not guaranteed for a fixed term, there is a risk of tenants leaving on short notice, leading to potential vacancies and income gaps.

Difficulty Planning: Without the stability of long-term leases, landlords may find it challenging to plan for the future. The constant turnover of tenants at will can make it difficult to predict occupancy rates and plan for property maintenance and improvements.


Tenant at will agreements offer flexibility for both tenants and landlords, allowing for short-term occupancy and the ability to terminate the tenancy with relatively short notice. However, this flexibility comes with certain disadvantages, such as a lack of security for tenants and uncertain income for landlords. It is essential for both parties to carefully consider the pros and cons before entering into a tenant at will agreement.


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