Periodic tenancy

From CEOpedia | Management online

Periodic tenancy is a transfer by which the tenant possess premises for an indefinite term and in which a periodic rent has been reserved to the landlord. Thus, a periodic tenancy is one that continues or runs from day to day, week to week, month to month, or year to year. If the lease does not stipulate the length of the lease term, the initial term's length will conform to the frequency of the rent payments. Thus, if rent is payable monthly, the parties will be found to have a month-to-month periodic tenancy, and if a lease has a starting date, but not termination date, stated in it, it is a periodic tenancy because by default it is governed by the rental period. It can be terminated only by a notice effective at the end of the period specified in the lease. The periodic tenancy endures until one of the parties gives the notice to end it[1].

An estate from period to period can be created when a tenant with an estate for years remains in possession, or holds over, after the lease term expires. If no new lease agreement has been made, a holdover tenancy is created. The landlord may evict the tenant or treat the holdover tenant as one who holds a periodic tenancy. The landlord's acceptance of rent usually is considered conclusive proof of the landlord's acquiescence to the periodic tenancy[2].

Examples of periodic payment

A periodic tenancy automatically continues for successive periods, each for the same length of time, until terminated by a notice to vacate.The length of each successive period of time is determined by the interval between scheduled rental payments. Examples of periodic payment intervals include[3]:

  • annual rental payments, indicating a year-to-year tenancy
  • monthly rental payments, indicating a month-to-month tenancy
  • week rental payments, including a week-to-week tenancy

Types of tenancies

We recognize four distinct types of lease[4]:

  • Periodic Tenancy has no definite ending date: It continues until one of the parties takes proper legal steps to terminate the interest. The periodic tenancy or estate from period to period need not be created expressly: it can be created through the conduct of the parties
  • Tenancy at Will can be created expressly when the parties agree to a lease of property but provide no time period for the lease. In a tenancy at will, both parties have the right to terminate the tenancy at any time and are not required to provide advance notice
  • Tenancy for Years is created by a lease that will run for a specific period of time. Every tenancy for years has fixed beginning and ending date. The lease terminates automatically when we reach the specified ending date. In a tenancy for years, the parties involved have a continuing relationship and should have a written agreement that includes all their rights and obligations
  • Tenancy at Sufferance arises when a tenant who lawfully possessed real property continues in possession of the premises without the landlord's consent after the rights expire. This estate can arise when a tenant for years fails to surrender possession at the expiration of the lease. A tenancy at sufferance also can occur after a foreclosure sale when a borrower, without consent of the purchaser, continues in possession of the property.

Advantages of Periodic tenancy

A periodic tenancy provides certain advantages to both the landlord and the tenant.

  • For the landlord, a periodic tenancy provides the assurance of a stream of periodic income. This can be especially beneficial for landlords who own several properties and rely on rental income for their livelihood.
  • For the tenant, a periodic tenancy provides the flexibility to move out at any time, as long as the required notice period is observed. This can be especially beneficial for those who are looking for short-term accommodations.
  • Additionally, a periodic tenancy gives the tenant the option to renew the lease at the end of the period without any additional fees or paperwork.
  • Finally, a periodic tenancy provides security of tenure to the tenant, meaning that the landlord cannot evict the tenant without a valid reason and due process.

Limitations of Periodic tenancy

A periodic tenancy has some limitations that should be taken into consideration before entering into such an agreement. These limitations include:

  • Limited Control: A periodic tenancy does not give the landlord as much control over the tenant as a fixed-term lease does. The landlord is not able to specify the length of occupancy and the tenant can leave at any time, giving the landlord little recourse if the tenant defaults on rent or damages the property.
  • Lack of Security: Since the tenant can leave at any time, the landlord does not have the assurance of a long-term tenant or guaranteed income from the property.
  • Costly Termination: It can be costly for the landlord to terminate a periodic tenancy since they must often pay the tenant to move out.
  • Increased Risk of Property Damage: Because the tenant can leave at any time, there is a greater risk of the tenant damaging the property before they move out. This can be a costly problem for the landlord, who may have to pay for repairs or replacements.

Other approaches related to Periodic tenancy

A periodic tenancy can be approached in several ways, including:

  • Fixed-term tenancy: This is when a tenant and landlord agree to a set term for the tenancy, such as six months or a year. At the end of the term, the tenancy will end unless the parties agree to renew it.
  • Sublease: This is when a tenant rents out all or part of the premises they are renting from their landlord to a subtenant. The tenant remains liable to the landlord for the obligations of the tenancy and the subtenant is liable to the tenant for the obligations of the sublease.
  • Licence: This is when a person is given permission to use premises without having exclusive possession of them. The licensee will not have the same rights as a tenant, such as the right to exclude others from the premises.

In conclusion, there are several approaches to periodic tenancy, including fixed-term tenancy, sublease, and licence. Each approach has different implications for the rights and obligations of the landlord, tenant and subtenant. It is important for both parties to understand the implications of each approach before entering into a tenancy agreement.


  1. D.B. Burke, J.A. Snoe 2011, p.259-260
  2. H. Bellairs, T. Bellairs, J. Helsel, J. Goldsmith, J. Skindzier 2002, p.74-75
  3. F. Crane 2010, p.17
  4. M. Jennings 2007, p.186-187

Periodic tenancyrecommended articles
Tenancy at WillExecutory considerationCollateral assignmentHold over tenantIndemnity bondDeed of surrenderDischarge of contractTenancy At SufferanceExecuted consideration


Author: Dawid Barcik