Periodic Tenancy vs. Tenancy at Will

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tisha Collins Batis

Tisha is a licensed real estate agent in Texas. She holds bachelor's in legal studies and a master's degree in criminal justice.

Tenants may enter into a formal lease (periodic tenancy) or an informal agreement (tenancy at will). With examples, gain a deeper understanding of these two types of tenancy and how they differ. Updated: 01/11/2022

Two Types of Tenancy

Unless someone owns their own home, they probably rent or lease it. It's important to understand what one is getting into when he or she moves into real property that is owned by another person. A relationship is created between the person moving in, who is known as the tenant, and the person who owns the real property, known as the landlord. Each has rights, and the type of tenancy the tenant is enjoying can determine some of those rights.

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  • 0:04 Two Types of Tenancy
  • 0:31 Periodic Tenancy
  • 1:15 Tenancy at Will
  • 2:02 Examples
  • 3:07 Differences
  • 3:38 Lesson Summary
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Periodic Tenancy

The term periodic tenancy may lead one to think of a tenant that can come and go as he or she pleases, without having to stay in one place for a particular length of time. If this were the case, a landlord might have trouble paying bills if he only collects rent when the tenant decides to live at the property. However, periodic tenancy is something completely different.

In a periodic tenancy, the tenant lives at a property for successive periods until he or she decides to move out. The tenant agrees to pay the landlord at certain intervals detailed in a lease. Finally, the tenant has to give notice that is either equal to the length of time the tenant stayed at the property or a length of time the tenant and the landlord agree to.

Tenancy at Will

A tenancy at will allows a tenant to live at a property without a formal agreement between the tenant and landlord. Both the tenant and the landlord have the right to terminate the agreement at any time, and there is no contract or lease between them. While this may seem like a sweet deal for both parties, it's important to remember that one person can terminate the agreement at any time, even when it might not be a good time for the other party.

Tenancy at will is flexible and ideal for people that want to enjoy that flexibility. Perhaps a tenant wants to give a particular neighborhood a try and realizes within a week that there is too much noise or crime in the area. Or, a landlord may decide that he or she doesn't like the arrangement because the tenant always has people at the house late at night ,and the neighbors are complaining.

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