Leases or periodic rental agreements describe the tenancy of renters in California. A lease provides the tenant with a long-term rental agreement that specifies the end of the lease. A month-to-month agreement is a common periodic rental agreement. At the end of the rental period, there are differences between the two types of contracts. A landlord can evict a tenant at the end of the lease without notification. But an eviction is usually not necessary.
Rental Contract Differences
The lease contract specifies the date that the lease ends. Six-month to one-year leases are common for residential houses or apartments. In California, any lease that lasts for more than one year must be in writing. A month-to-month rental agreement continues until the tenant gives a 30-day notice of moving or the landlord gives a 30- or 60-day notice for the tenant to move. With a lease, the landlord can’t raise the rent unless the lease describes that a rent increase is allowed. With a 30-day notice, the landlord can raise the rent for a month-to-month rental agreement.
End of Tenancy
In California, a lease automatically expires on the date stated in the lease. A tenant has two options at the end of a lease. He or she may move out by the date listed in the lease or continue to live in the rental unit with the landlord's permission. If a new lease is not negotiated with the landlord, tenancy continues on a month-to-month basis. If the tenant wishes to stay in the unit, negotiating a new lease is often the better option. However, if the tenant remains in the house or apartment without permission, the landlord may evict the tenant by filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit in superior court.
Some lease agreements have an automatic renewal clause. The lease is renewed unless the tenant notifies the landlord that he or she will move from the unit. If a landlord wants the tenant to move at the end of the lease, the landlord may issue a 30-day notice one month before the end of the lease. The tenant must leave the house or apartment on the day the lease expires. Some leases state the procedure that must be followed at the end of the lease. This may include notification of the landlord by the tenant with the decision to stay or move.
Termination of Tenancy
If a tenant doesn’t follow the lease agreement, the landlord may terminate the lease prior to the date listed in the lease. If the tenant doesn’t pay the rent, causes damage to the property, allows unlawful activity on the premises or is a nuisance to neighbors, the landlord may end the lease with proper notice.
Read More: Termination of Tenancy in California: Types of Eviction Notices
- California Department of Consumer Affairs; Consumer Publications – Landlord/Tenant; 2010
- Tenants Legal Center of San Diego; Leases
- California Department of Consumer Affairs; California Tenants; 2006 (PDF)
- County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs; Rental Agreements and Leases; April 2011
- University of California, Santa Barbara; Housing Choices; Frequently Asked Questions
Kim Dieter has taught agriscience classes, developed curriculum and participated in the school accreditation process at the secondary and community college levels since 1980. She holds a Master of Science degree from the University of California, Davis, in animal science.