The lease is probably the most important item governing the landlord tenant relationship. The lease is the legal agreement, or contract, between the landlord and tenant. The lease spells out the tenant’s rights, and allows the tenant to use the property for a specified period of time. The lease sets the terms, the rent amount, the length of the tenancy, and all the other rules.
If you have a lease, you cannot be evicted without cause during the term of your lease. Also, rent cannot be raised for the duration of the lease.
If you don’t have a lease, then you are a tenant at will. This means that you have a month-to-month agreement with the landlord, and, in general, can vacate or be evicted with one months’ notice. A landlord also cannot raise the rent on a tenant at will unless the landlord gives one month’s notice.