If no lease is signed, does a rental become month-to-month even if there was a verbal understanding that rent would be per semester?

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If no lease is signed, does a rental become month-to-month even if there was a verbal understanding that rent would be per semester?

3 college students each paid a deposit on an apartment and were told there would be a lease and the rent would be per semester, or maybe for the school year. They moved in without a lease being signed; only a blank copy was provided, with no term or rent amount filled in; it was not signed. After about a month, all 3 students moved out without paying any rent and without providing notice. What is the landlord entitled to?

Asked on January 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When there is no lease--or rather, no written lease--a tenancy is month to month. Verbal or oral agreements only create month-to-month tenancies. That means the landlord is only entitled to:

1) Rent for any time they were actually in (so about 1 month)

2) Rent for the next month, if they gave less than 30 days notice (for a month to month tenancy, a tenant needs to provide 30 days notice)

3) If there was a security deposit, the landlord may take out of it money for any damages done by tenants--or if there is no security deposit, he may sue for any damage.

However, that's it--the "verbal understanding" of a semester term has no effect in this situation; it's just a standard oral or verbal month-to-month tenancy.


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