A lot of Texas renters have month-to-month agreements with their landlords, rather than a year-long lease. Often, month-to-month leases are verbal, so the terms can seem murky. But Texas law is clear—both landlords and tenants can end their agreement at any time, as long as they give the other person 30 days’ advance notice.1
Tenants with an expired or verbal lease agreement are month-to-month
Month-to-month leases are one type of periodic tenancy, which means they renew automatically at the end of every rent payment period. There are typically three ways to establish a month-to-month tenancy in Texas:
- The landlord and tenant signed a written lease that explicitly created a month-to-month tenancy.
- The landlord and tenant signed a fixed-term lease that expired—but the tenant kept paying rent and the landlord accepted those payments, thus establishing a month-to-month agreement.
- There is no written lease, but the tenant pays rent monthly.
A month-to-month tenancy is different than a fixed-term tenancy, which has a set start and end date (often a year, but not always). There are pros and cons to both sorts of agreements: month-to-month tenancies are more flexible, but they are also more unpredictable, since either party could end them at any time with just 30 days’ notice.
Thirty days’ notice is usually required to end a month-to-month lease
At least one month’s notice is required to end most month-to-month leases. However, Texas law does allow landlords to establish a shorter or longer notice period in the lease—for instance, if a tenant signed a lease that said only 24 hours’ notice is required to terminate the lease, that is legal. (This only applies if there’s a written lease, however. If it’s a verbal agreement, 30 days’ notice is always required.)
Once a notice of termination has been delivered, the tenancy ends on whichever date is later:2
- The end date mentioned in the notice
- One month after the day the notice is delivered
If the end date of the tenancy falls in the middle of the month, the tenant is only responsible for paying rent up to the date of termination.
Month-to-month tenancies can be terminated for any reason
Ending a month-to-month tenancy is not the same thing as an eviction. A landlord can only evict a tenant if they’ve done something wrong, such as violate the terms of the lease or commit crimes on the property. But a landlord can terminate a month-to-month tenancy for any reason—or no reason at all. The only exception is discrimination (on the basis of race, gender, or any other protected class under fair housing laws) or retaliation against a tenant for exercising their legal rights.
A landlord can formally evict a month-to-month tenant if they have broken the terms of their lease agreement in some way. The eviction process in Texas moves much more quickly than in other states, and is often completed in under 30 days. But it requires several steps to be executed correctly, so it’s often simpler to just terminate a tenant’s lease with a 30-day notice if they're month-to-month.
Lease terms can be changed with 30 days’ notice
If a landlord wants to change the lease terms in some way—for instance, a landlord wants to raise the monthly rent, or add a no-pets rule—they must give 30 days’ notice before the change goes into effect. If a tenant doesn’t agree to the new terms after trying to negotiate, they must make it crystal-clear that they are not renewing the lease. They should do so by sending a 30-day notice of termination, ideally in writing.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.