What Kinds of Tenancies Are There

Produced by Patty Whiting
Last Updated May 2017

In Massachusetts, there are several kinds of tenancies. You can be a:

  1. Tenant with Written Lease
  2. Tenant at Will
  3. Tenant at Sufferance
  4. Tenant by Regulation
  5. Other Kinds of Non-Traditional Housing
  1. Tenant with Written Lease
    You and your landlord have a written agreement, a lease that states your rent and the length of your tenancy. Usually a lease is for 1 year. But it may be shorter or longer.
  2. Tenant at Will
    There is no agreed upon date for you to move out, so you have a month-to-month tenancy. Either party may end the tenancy at any time after giving the required notice. Your agreement with your landlord may be written or oral. See Who is a Tenant at Will.
  3. Tenant at Sufferance
    Your tenancy has ended because either your lease ended or the landlord has sent you a notice to quit terminating your tenancy. Your landlord has not agreed to it, but you are staying in your apartment anyway.
  4. Tenant by Regulation
    You rent a mobile home or you are a tenant in public or subsidized housing. You have more protections than tenants who have a private landlord. For more information about your rights in mobile homes See Chapter 16: Mobile Homes. For more about public housing see public housing.
  5. Other Kinds of Non-Traditional Housing
    If you are in a program that provides temporary housing and services while you look for permanent housing, you may have rights similar to a tenant. For example, you may have the right to challenge an eviction in court. This depends upon the type of program.

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