By Mark B. Zinman| Zona Law
Question: We have a tenant that is month-to-month and has utilities included in the rent. We want to have them start paying utilities. What is the best way to do this?
Answer: Your question highlights the benefit of being on a month-to-month lease: you have more flexibility and can change the terms of the lease on a 30-day notice. Technically, if you send notice that their lease is terminating and that if they stay on, they are subject to new terms (and you list the terms) then they are bound. When the new month starts, they are bound by the new terms. I wrote “technically” because it is technically correct, but we do suggest that if you are changing substantial terms in the lease, you should just have the tenant sign a new lease. This will avoid issues in the future. You could send a non-renewal notice but write that they can stay if they sign a new lease. Remember, when terminating an MTM lease, you must do so on the periodic rental period and give notice at least 30 days prior (35 days if sent certified).