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Can a Landlord force a Tenant to sign a new Lease even though the original agreement says it becomes month-to-month at the end?

Huntington Beach, CA |

From the Lease Agreement: "The term of this Lease shall be commencing at 12:01 a.m. on ______July 1, 2012_____, and ending at 12:01 a.m. on _____June 30, 2013_____ unless sooner terminated as herein provide; thereafter said tenancy shall continue month-to-month on the same terms and conditions as set forth herein and subject to termination upon thirty (30) days’ written notice." Last Wed, May 29, our Landlord calls to say we either agree to an Addendum to extend the Lease one-year or he gives us 30-days Notice. And because he was leaving town on Fri, May 31, we had only one day to make a decision - sign or have to move in a month. This is the first time he mentioned of having to sign another lease. is this legal?

Attorney Answers 4


Yes. As a month to month tenant, you can be terminated with thirty days notice, so the landlord is within his rights.

Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.

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But we are not yet on a month-to-month. The year lease doesn't expire till the end of next month, and then it becomes month-to-month.

Celia R Reed

Celia R Reed


Sorry - I misread your facts. Unfortunately the answer is the same. The landlord can terminate at the end of your lease by giving you thirty days notice to vacate.


In California, a tenant who has lived in the place a year is entitled to 60 days' written notice; the 30-day notice is for shorter tenancies. If you don't sign the extension agreement but you do pay your rent on July 1, your landlord cannot win an unlawful detainer action unless and until he gives you a proper 60-day notice, then files suit after the 60 days have expired, assuming you have not yet moved.

You probably should start looking for a new place to live, and if you can move by the end of June or the end of July, all should be well. Otherwise, you'll eventually have to sign an extension and be obligated to stay for another year. If that's what you want, all good, and no need to ruffle the landlord's feathers.

Hope this helps.

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You don't say it outright but IMPLY that you felt you had no choice but to sign the new lease? if that is correct then you can break it if you want to leave w/in the 60 days my colleague mentioned. The basis would be an adhesion contract forced upon you under duress. Your facts seem solid so make a decision to move and break the lease considering the "substance" of what transpired is that you decided you did not want a 12 month lease and were moving out in 60 days and but for his duress you would not have executed the addendum. If you leave then this is what you tell him in writing as well the day you will let the landlord noodle on whether it is worth his while to sue you for the balance of the "bogus" lease (technically we would say invalid lease). Go have a consult with a landlord tenant attorney in your area to solidify your thinking. Good luck.

My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.

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I am going to agree with my colleagues here. The landlord can force you out if you do not sign a new lease. The amount of time required is a another story.

If the lease is not expired, the landlord must give you at least 60 days notice.
If the lease is expired, the landlord must give you a FULL 30 days notice (e.g. given on the 3rd of month, then you have until 3rd of following month.)

There is nothing retaliatory in this; unless of course, you reported a problem with the property - in writing I hope - to either him or to the appropriate governmental authority. Then, this would PROBABLY be illegal. But without additional facts, I cannot say more.

If you have additional questions, be sure to speak with a lawyer that handles landlord-tenant situations.

Adam Jaffe Law Office of Adam Jay Jaffe 124 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, #204 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (619) 810-7964 This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice". Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different states.

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