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How to Find Month to Month Rental Apartments

April 27, 2021

Moving on short notice, and not sure if you want to commit to an apartment for a traditional 12-month lease? Or, maybe, you have to move to a new city ASAP, and you’re not entirely sure which neighborhood to live in. You might be needing the flexibility of a month to month lease.

If you are considering renting a month to month apartment, we’ve put together the perfect guide on month to month rentals and how to find them.

In this guide, we'll cover:

What is a Month to Month Lease?

A month to month lease is a rental agreement to lease an apartment for one month at a time. The lease is can be renewed after each month until terminated by either the renter or the landlord.

How Do Month to Month Leases Work?

A month to month lease agreement only covers 30 days. It's automatically renewed at the end of the period unless the tenant or landlord terminates the agreement.

If you sign a month to month lease you have the flexibility of canceling your lease with one month’s notice. However, your landlord also has more flexibility as to when they can raise your rent or terminate your lease.

There are tons of differences between long-term and short-term leases, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the details.

Pros of Month to Month Apartments

Is it a good idea to rent a month to month apartment? If you are debating between a month to month lease and a long-term lease, weigh the pros and cons appropriately.

Many of the details that impact these pros and cons will be outlined in your lease agreement, so make sure to read that carefully.

Below are some pros of these short-term leases.

1. Added Flexibility

The major draw of a month to month lease is the flexibility it offers. You can move out at any time without breaking your lease as long as you give the required notice. For most month to month leases, landlords require 30-days notice. 

2. No Penalty for Leaving Early

Because a month to month lease is renewed every month, you will not be penalized for moving out before you’ve lived somewhere for 12-months. Just make sure you give appropriate notice as laid out in your lease agreement.

3. Easy to Convert to a Full-Time Lease

If you decide you want to stay longer, most month to month leases are easy to convert to a long-term lease. This may result in a rent decrease, or at least stabilized rent prices for the next year.

Cons of Month to Month Apartments

The pros might sound great, but get familiar with the cons as well.

1. Expensive Rent Prices

Month to month leases are almost always more expensive than a long-term lease. It can be expensive for a landlord to replace a tenant. To make up for the uncertainty of a short-term renter, landlords often charge a higher monthly rent. You pay extra for the flexibility of a month to month rental.

2. Risk of Termination

While a month to month lease offers flexibility, it also comes with the risk of termination. Just as a renter can give 30-days notice to a landlord to end the lease, a landlord can do the same to the renter. In some states, a landlord only has to give 1-2 weeks. Other states require 30, 60, or 90 days.

Make sure you know what the termination clause in your lease says, and understand that if you have a month to month lease, it can end at any time. 

3. Rent Instability

Most month to month leases also allow a landlord to adjust the rent to the market rate. This means your rent could go up.

How to Find Month to Month Rentals Near You

One of the challenges of finding a month to month lease is they aren't always offered as an option. In fact, finding a short-term lease like a 3 or 6-month lease can be difficult as well.

Here are a few tips on finding month to month apartments near your city.

Start Your Apartment Search Early

Make sure to start your search as early as possible so that you find a place that works for you. By starting early, you have plenty of time to speak with landlords and property managers, discuss your situation, and determine if you can make a month to month lease work.

Know What You Want in an Apartment

Take the time to outline exactly what you're looking for. Make sure you answer the following questions before starting your search:

Since month to month rentals can be hard to find, it's important to know exactly what you want in an apartment so you can strike fast! Keep an eye out for apartment move in specials that can cut your costs down.

Browse Apartment Lease Options

Most apartments will share their lease options on their websites, so this should be the first place to check. Note that most large multifamily properties don’t allow month to month leases, but may offer other short-term leases like 3 or 6 months.

Landlords place a much higher priority on long-term leases, which makes life easier for them. However, you should check the website ahead of time and see what they offer.

To get tons of options at a glance, just start the quiz at the top of this page.

Call the Leasing Office

Don’t be afraid to call the leasing office to see if they offer month to month or any other shorter-term leases. It’ll be a quick conversation, and the worst that can happen is they say no, so why not give a call? They may be able to point you in the direction of apartments that offer the lease type you’re looking for.

Look for Sublets

Some tenants will sublet, or sublease, their apartment. This means that the tenant on the lease is bringing in another tenant to pay the monthly rent.

Oftentimes, renters will look to sublet their apartments short-term if they have to leave the city for work for a few months, or have other circumstances that won’t allow them to live in the apartment. Since they are probably doing this for a short amount of time, they will likely be open to month to month leases.

Reach Out to Friends

Have friends living in the area where you’re looking to move to? Ask them if they could benefit from an extra roommate. You could help cut down their rent and lend them an extra set of hands for chores. Reach out to friends, reach out to friends of friends, and see if they’d be open to taking you in for a short time.

Explain Your Situation to the Landlord

If you find a place you love but need a month to month lease, make sure you explain why to your landlord. Explaining your situation can create trust between you and your landlord, and give you a chance to prove you are a good tenant. You may be able to negotiate a month to month lease if you are honest.

If you find a great place but don’t have time to see it before signing a lease, open communication with your landlord will also help! You can request pictures and a virtual tour to ensure you will feel comfortable in your new home.

Month to month leases aren’t as common as longer-term leases, so you’re going to have to be diligent when searching for them. For the added flexibility that you need, it’ll be highly worth it to put some effort into a thorough search.

Reasons to Sign a Month to Month Lease

There are a few instances when it makes sense to sign a month to month lease. If any of these below sound like your situation, a month to month apartment makes sense for you!

  • You are a student and will only live in the area for 9 months (Use our college apartment checklist when moving)
  • You expect a big life change, like a career move, a child, or marriage, in the next couple of months
  • You are new to a city and do not know where you want to live yet so desire flexibility in your living situation at the start
  • You plan to buy a home soon
  • You travel frequently for work and often move cities
  • You have a roommate that can’t commit to a 12-month lease

It can be a good idea to rent a month to month apartment if you are new to a city or if you often relocate for work. The flexibility of canceling your lease with one month’s notice. However, it's likely to cost you more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Month to Month Rentals

Can landlords raise the rent on month to month leases?

Typically a landlord can raise your rent to market rate with a 30-day notice if you are on a month to month lease.

Does a month to month lease need to be signed every month?

No, month to month leases automatically renew every month until one party legally terminates the lease.

Are month to month apartments expensive?

Month to month leases are usually more expensive than a 12 month lease. This is because a landlord takes on the uncertainty of when a renter will leave. In exchange for flexibility, the landlord will often charge more.

How much notice do I need to give to end my month to month lease?

Most month to month leases require a 30-day notice for termination. However, if you give a 30-day notice in the middle of the month, you may be required to pay for the entire next month of rent.

How much notice does my landlord need to give me to end my month to month lease?

The amount of time a landlord is legally required to give a tenant to end a month to month lease varies by state. Some states only require 1 to 2 weeks, others require 30, 60 or 90 days.

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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