Periodic tenancy

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Periodic tenancy
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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.


  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


Author: Dawid Barcik