Reviewed by Sep 30, 2020| Updated on
Tenancy-at-will is a property tenancy where either the tenant, the owner or landlord may terminate at any time. This operates without a contract or lease and does not typically define the length of a tenant's term or payment exchange.
Tenancy-at-will is also known as estate-at-will. The arrangement is usually advantageous for both tenants and owners, who may want the versatility to quickly adjust rental circumstances without breaching a contract.
Tenants who have consent from their landlords but usually don't have leases have a tenancy-at-will. Such tenancies are often referred to as at-will or month-to-month agreements, although there is no formal contract outlining the period of time the tenancy takes place.
A tenancy-at-will describes the arrangement between the landlord and the tenant when strict terms are not available, are faulty in nature or have expired, such as those found within a lease agreement. At the beginning of the landlord-tenant relationship, a tenancy-at-will agreement can also be established.
Tenancies-at-will takes effect if there is an oral agreement between the two parties instead of a written agreement, whether there is a written agreement specifying that the tenancy is month-to-month with no defined period, or whether the tenancy is extended after the original lease expires without signing a new one.
In general, tenancies-at-will include parties unknown to one another. They occur between family members in some cases.
A tenancy-at-will contract does not have written and decided upon conditions with regard to notice of intention to vacate; the terms are usually set out in local landlord-tenant laws. It is not uncommon for the tenant as well as the landlord to apply for a 30-day notice.
This means that if the tenant wishes to vacate, or the landlord requires the tenant to vacate, then the other party will obtain 30 days' notice. Neither party is expected to give a justification for the request to vacate. Traditionally, the notification is given in writing.