Lease vs. Tenant at Will
When you rent an apartment, you will be asked to sign either a lease or a 'tenant at will' agreement. This is your contract with the landlord, and it is a legally-binding document.
A lease is a written contract containing all the terms and conditions under which a landlord will rent a specific property, for a fixed term of months, at a stated rent, to a tenant.
A tenancy at will is a written contract containing all the terms and conditions under which a landlord will rent a specific property, for an indeterminite term, at a stated rent, to a tenant. The contract may be ended by either the landlord or the tenant by written notice to the other. The length of the notice is governed by state law, but may be longer if the parties agreed.
So, the Tenancy at Will gives you more flexibility, in that you can end the tenancy with the proper notice, but the landlord can also end the tenancy, or adjust the rent, with the same notice. A Lease gives you the security of knowing that the terms of the Lease cannot be changed during the lease period.
If you are at all in doubt about your lease or tenant-at-will agreement, make sure to speak with an attorney.
More Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the phone numbers/websites for the basic services?
What's a lease, vs. "Tenant at Will"
Finding an apartment
How can I find an apartment?
Will the landlord do a credit check on me?
Why do I need to pay a security deposit?
How much will the security deposit be?
Do I earn interest on my security deposit?
Will I get my deposit back?
How can I ensure I get my deposit back?
How clean does the apartment need to be?
Can I have a pet?
Can I sublet my apartment if necessary?
Do I need renter's insurance?
Roommates and Roommate Agreements
Can I get a roommate?
Do I need a roommate's agreement?
Official Town Websites