Usually, when thinking of the relationship between a landlord and a tenant, what comes to mind is a lease agreement between the parties where the tenant agrees to stay in the leased premises for a specified period of years and pay an agreed upon rent for the privilege of doing so. In actuality, that scenario is just one type of tenancy, a tenancy for years. The types of landlord/tenant relationships are as follows:
Tenancy for Years
A tenancy for years may also be referred to as a tenancy for a term. In essence, a tenancy for years occurs when a landlord and a tenant agree that the tenant will remain in the leased premises for a fixed period of time. The period of time may be quite short or may be for many years. The rent that is due from the tenant is agreed upon by the parties. At the end of the lease term, the tenancy is over unless the parties make some further arrangement.
A periodic tenancy occurs when a landlord and tenant agree upon the payment of rent for a specified period, such as one month, but make no agreement as to the lease term. Under such circumstances, the tenancy renews for the specified period unless one of the parties terminates it.
Tenancy at Will
A tenancy at will refers to a tenancy where the parties make no agreement as to the lease term or the payment of rent. For instance, a farm worker may be employed by a farm owner as an at-will employee. As a benefit of the farm worker's employment, the farm worker has the option of living on a cabin on the farm. The farm owner never requires the farm worker to pay any rental for the cabin, and the farm worker's right to use the cabin terminates in the event the parties' employment relationship ends.
Tenancy at Sufferance
A tenancy at sufferance occurs when a tenant remains in the leased premises, or "holds over," without the landlord's consent after the expiration of the lease term.
In considering the types of tenancies, it is important to note that they are not without relation to one another. For instance, a tenancy for years may become a tenancy at sufferance. The type of tenancy is determined by the relationship between the landlord and the tenant at a given time.