This is the first episode in our new video series distinguishing the different terms of occupancy under residential rental and lease agreements.

Rental and lease agreements – what’s in a name?

In this series, we’re going to take a close look at the similarities and differences between residential occupancy agreements.

Residential landlords and tenants typically enter into either a fixed-term lease agreement or a periodic rental agreement. [See RPI Form 550 and 551]

Residential periodic tenancies frequently take the form of month-to-month rental agreements. [See RPI Form 551]

Residential rental and lease agreements both grant the tenant the right to possession. Both impose the same rights and obligations regarding maintenance of the property on the landlord and tenant.

If they both do these same fundamental things, how are they different?

The tenant’s expectation of continued occupancy and their obligation to pay future rent differs between a rental agreement and a lease agreement.

A month-to-month rental agreement runs for an indefinite period of time. It automatically renews monthly, and on the same terms, until modified or terminated by notice. It keeps going and going (and going). [See RPI Form 551 §3]

Periodic tenancies can be terminated by either the tenant or landlord on 30 days’ written notice. However, a landlord needs to give the tenant at least 60 days’ written notice when the tenant’s occupancy has exceeded one year.

What about a lease agreement?

A lease agreement is finite. A lease agreement creates a tenancy that continues for a fixed period. [See RPI Form 550]

At the end of the fixed-period, both the lease agreement and the tenant’s right of possession expires. The terms of the lease set the expiration date, and no further notice is required.

Unlike a periodic tenancy, the lease agreement does not automatically renew, unless an option to renew or extend has been written into the lease agreement and timely exercised. [See RPI Form 565]

In the rest of this series, we’ll go over your professional use of residential rental and lease agreements, and related addenda.

Editor’s note – Stay tuned! A new episode in this series will release each week.