While most of us choose to sign a standard 12-month lease when renting an apartment, there is another option available that can give you some much-needed flexibility: the month-to-month lease. This type of lease certainly isn’t right for everyone–if you’re planning on staying put for the next few years, there’s no reason to make the switch–but given the right circumstances, it may be exactly what you need.
PRO: Greater Flexibility
If you are working a temporary job or are unsure where you will want to live in a few months–perhaps you are the spontaneous-traveler type–signing a month-to-month lease is probably in your best interest. If you rent month-to-month, you have the flexibility to pick up your life at a moment’s notice and leave town without having to find a subletter.
CON: Unstable Rent
The flexibility that renting month-to-month gives you also applies to your landlord. Because neither of your are locked into a long-term contract, there’s nothing preventing your landlord from raising your rent while you live in the apartment. All he or she has to do is provide you with a 30-day written notice. Your landlord can also terminate your lease with a 30-day notice if he or she so chooses.
PRO: No Charge for Breaking Your Lease
One of the perks of renting month-to-month is that you will not incur any charges if you need to break your lease for some reason. If you sign a 12-month lease, you are legally responsible for those 12 months of rent payments, whether or not you still live in the apartment. If you anticipate having to move before the year is up, a month-to-month lease may end up being less expensive in the long run.
CON: Could Affect Your Credit
If you continually choose month-to-month leases, it may begin to affect your credit score. New landlords are likely to pull your credit history, and the more times that report is accessed, the more it can negatively affect your credit score. This could signal to future landlords that you live an unstable lifestyle–not exactly the vibe you want to be giving off.
PRO: Can Easily Be Converted
If you begin you a month-to-month lease and decide it’s finally time to settle down, that lease can generally be converted into a year-long lease without any adverse effects. If you choose to make the switch to a 12-month lease, you will also be able to lock in a rental rate for the duration of your lease term.