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What does "month-to-month" mean anyway, specifically when it comes to raising rent?

Arlington, VA |

I am a tenant. I have a rental agreement, covered by the VRLTA. The rental agreement states a rental amount and provides for an initial 12 month lease. After this the agreement continues on a month to month basis. There are no written provisions for rent increases.

The specific continuation clause reads: "After expiration of the initial lease term the rental agreement shall continue on a month to month basis".

The VRLTA says the original rental agreement must expire before landlord is allowed to raise rent on a month to month tenant. Does my agreement expire after 12 months? Does the word "continue" as opposed to "renew" mean it does not expire? Does this allow the landlord to raise the rent at will after 12 months? Or is the rent fixed until a 30 day rental termination notice is given?

Relevant VRLTA text from § 55-248.37(C): In the event of termination of a rental agreement and the tenant remains in possession with the agreement of the landlord either as a hold-over tenant or a month-to-month tenant and no new rental agreement is entered into, the terms of the terminated agreement shall remain in effect and govern the hold-over or month-to-month tenancy, except that the amount of rent shall be either as provided in the terminated rental agreement or the amount set forth in a written notice to the tenant, provided that such new rent amount shall not take effect until the next rent due date coming 30 days after the notice.

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

Does my agreement expire after 12 months? No. The agreement continues but only for 30 day periods. After each 30 day period either you or the landlord may give appropriate notice to change the terms of the agreement going forward. If either of you disagree with the changes, you can terminate your tenancy with the proper notice. The agreement does expire in the context of your question in that the Landlord may give notice to raise the rent after the initial 12 month term.

Does the word "continue" as opposed to "renew" mean it does not expire? See answer above.

Does this allow the landlord to raise the rent at will after 12 months? Yes with proper notice.

Or is the rent fixed until a 30 day rental termination notice is given? You would not receive a rental termination notice unless the Landlord wanted you out of the property. The rent is fixed at the monthly amount as noted in your lease until proper notice is given to change that amount. The Landlord does not need to "terminate" a month-to-month lease in order to raise the rent.