Can My Landlord Sell the House I’m Renting?
Can My Landlord Sell the House I’m Renting?
Is your landlord planning to sell your house? Rest assured, you’re not alone. As the property owners, landlords do have the right to sell their property whenever they please. However, this doesn’t mean they can simply evict you or tamper with your security deposit in an instant.
But hold on, tenants have rights too! If a buyer emerges and your building gets a new owner, this new landlord might introduce changes that could impact the place you’re renting.
So, let’s delve into what you should know about your tenants’ rights when your landlord decides to sell the property, whether it’s a fantastic duplex or a regular old apartment.
Do I have to move when a landlord sells to a new owner?
No need to jump to conclusions and start panicking about eviction or rushing to find a new rental place just yet. Just because your landlord is selling the house you’re renting doesn’t automatically mean you have to start hunting for a new home.
If luck is on your side, the outgoing landlord might sell to a buyer who’s more than willing to sign a new lease with the current tenants once the sale is finalized. So, it’s worth checking with the new owner to see if that’s a possibility.
However, if that option isn’t on the table or you’re dissatisfied with the new lease terms, you may have to consider moving out and finding a new rental property.
When do you have to move from the rental property?
If you happen to be on a month-to-month lease, most states typically require landlords to provide tenants with a written notice of 30 days if they decide to sell the property to a buyer or new landlord. However, it’s worth noting that rent laws can differ in various areas, so it’s wise to conduct a thorough check. For instance, residents of Seattle who rent are fortunate to receive a 60-day notice. To determine where you stand, tenants can consult their state’s landlord-tenant laws on Avail.
Now, if you’ve signed a fixed-term lease for a longer period, like a year or two, it’s highly likely that you possess the legal right to continue residing in the rental property until your lease reaches its end. Even if the house or apartment gets sold before your lease expires, the new owner is obligated to honor the terms of the legally binding contract with the tenant.
Lucas Hall, the founder of Landlordology, aptly explains, “A lease is tied to a rental property, not an owner.” This means that even if the homeowner undergoes a change, the lease remains intact for the renter or tenant.
Hall further adds, “Even a specific month-to-month agreement will transfer.”
Check for a ‘lease termination due to sale’ in your renter’s clause if your landlord is selling house
Also, it’s essential to check if your contract includes a “lease termination due to sale” clause. In such cases, whatever is specified in the clause takes precedence. Surprisingly, even long-term leases may not offer much protection for the tenant, according to Hall.
In simpler terms, let’s say you have eight months remaining on your lease, but the contract states that lease termination due to sale requires a 30-day notice. Unfortunately, you’ll only have those 30 days left as your rental period, regardless of having paid a security deposit. Your landlord will want you out so that the new owner can step in.
Here’s a nugget of advice that might have been useful earlier: you can actually negotiate the amount of time a landlord is obliged to give you if they terminate a lease due to a sale.
The catch is, you need to do this negotiation before becoming a tenant and signing the lease for your rental home.
“For instance, if the landlord wishes to have the option to terminate the lease due to a sale, the tenant could request a minimum of 60 days’ notice and/or require a specified ‘buyout’ amount,” suggests Hall.
If it’s too late to implement this advice in your current situation, keep it in mind for future reference when signing with a new landlord. Additionally, you can obtain updated information by contacting on of our property management professionals here at RE/MAX heritage.
Look into a tenant relocation allowance from the landlord
Wouldn’t it be great if landlords actually paid tenants to relocate from the apartments they rent?
Well, let’s be honest, it’s not something you come across every day, but there are certain situations where your landlord might be compelled to offer some financial incentive to encourage tenants to vacate. This usually occurs when the landlord decides to sell the building to a new owner or convert it into condominiums.
Tenants rights when landlord sells property: Keep your landlord in line
As long as you’re residing in the rental property, you have certain fundamental tenant rights that should be respected. For instance, your landlord cannot make threats of eviction, disconnect your water or electricity, enter your apartment without proper notice (unless there’s an emergency), or hire a remodeling crew to work until the wee hours of the morning.
If you believe your landlord is infringing upon your tenant rights, it’s crucial to seek assistance. You can reach out to a tenant lawyer or get in touch with your local housing authority for guidance and support.
What happens to the security deposit that you gave the landlord
Once you’ve moved out, your landlord is legally obligated to return your security deposit, deducting any necessary repairs or cleaning expenses. The specific timeframe for this process varies depending on state laws, typically ranging from 14 to 60 days after you vacate the apartment.
When the time comes, treat the move-out process like any other. Ensure that you take all of your belongings, thoroughly clean the rental property, and return the keys to the landlord. If possible, consider doing a final walk-through with your landlord and provide them with written notice containing your new address.
By wrapping things up on a positive note with your landlord before moving out, you can smoothly transition to the next phase of your life, whether it involves finding a new place to rent or even becoming a homeowner yourself!
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