The landlord sold house without telling me, is this proper? Unless the landlord has defaulted on an agreement, they do not have to tell you before selling their property.
However, when a landlord sells their house, the new owner can’t evict you or change the terms until the lease ends, as long as you hold up to your end of the bargain such as paying rent on time.
Landlord sold house without telling me
Your landlord is not legally obligated to tell you when they’re selling the house. However, your lease remains valid until the new owner issues you proper written notice following the law. Just continue to pay the rent as required in the lease until or unless you are notified in writing to do otherwise.
The new owner of the house is obligated to issue you written instructions if they want you to pay rent to another person or elsewhere, other than required in your current lease. Make sure to keep your payment receipts. It’s advisable to pay rent by check to prove that your previous landlord received the payment. If you pay cash, obtain written payment, including the date and recipient’s signature to prove you paid your rent.
However, if there’s an option to buy or a Right of First Option in the lease, your landlord must inform you before selling the house. That is to say that the property owner/landlord has done something wrong.
Does a landlord have to tell you if they are selling?
Your landlord does not have to tell you they are selling the rental property unless you had an agreement with them such as a rent-to-own arrangement, which will make you the owner of the property after some months or years.
Meanwhile, the new owner of the house assumes ownership after closing the purchase. Your previous landlord should also say they are selling the house and that your lease is transferred with the property to the new owner. However, it is the responsibility of the new landlord to notify you about the ownership, as well as provide their contact information or reach an agreement with you.
The existing lease does not change after your landlord sells the rental property, so you have the right to occupy the apartment until the lease ends. If the new landlord decides to keep the property as a rental, they can just renew your lease if you want. Note that the new owner can change the terms after the lease expires or even refuse a renewal.
It helps to ask the new landlord about their intent so that you can look for a new apartment if they won’t be renewing the contract.
As mentioned already, your new landlord is bound by the current lease with your former landlord. Thus, if you need repairs, inform your new landlord about it. Your new landlord would have also given you their contact information after closing the purchase.
Term lease agreement
A term lease agreement (typically 6 months to 1 year) between you and your landlord allows you to continue occupying the apartment as a tenant for the specified time. So, if your landlord sold your rental property, and there are still a few months left on the lease agreement, your new landlord can’t evict you. If your new landlord tries to forcefully kick you out, you can get them in trouble.
Keep in mind that the new buyer must agree to follow the lease and honor the lease terms you signed. Your new landlord can ask you to sign a new lease, but you technically don’t have to agree.
Look out for exceptions
a. Lease language exception
An exception may apply if the lease contains special conditions on the property sale. For example, suppose your lease has a language like:
In the event of the sale, the current lease agreement will be void once a new owner takes over the property.
If this language is legal in your state, it means that irrespective of how many months you have left on your lease, the new owner of the house can evict you once they take over. However, a property sale clause like this is not common, but ensure to check your lease.
b. Mutual agreement
If you and your landlord mutually agree to end the lease for you to move out on a specific date, it’s an exception that prevents you from occupying the rental property after the due date. Usually, a landlord can engage in “cash for keys” with a tenant to get them to move to another apartment. Nolo also explains the cash for keys in a foreclosure, look it up.
Problem with month-to-month tenancy
Unfortunately, there’s less security when your landlord sells the house if you currently hold a month-to-month lease agreement.
A landlord who wants you out before selling the property will merely issue a proper notice to end tenancy and move out on a specified date. Depending on your state, a landlord is allowed to issue a tenant a 30-60 day notice to end the tenancy and move out.
Vacation notices are not evictions, but rather, friendly terms for ending a rental tenancy. This move does not affect your rental history.
What to do when your landlord sells the house
If your landlord sold the house without telling you, talk to your landlord to be upfront about whether the buyer will keep the property as a rental or not.
Your landlord could be selling the property for various reasons, including covering a debt. Be friendly during the conversation, perhaps, that will get the landlord to talk to the new buyer about keeping you as a tenant for the long term.
Also, property inspections by the buyer before completing the purchase can be frustrating and uncomfortable since strangers will show up at your apartment. Your landlord must give you a 24-hour notice or as required in your state before the inspector or real estate agent shows up.
Work out something with your landlord for a remedy that will be more convenient and comfortable for you. Try to be understanding and accommodating during the sale process for it to end even faster.
An inspector or a real estate agent won’t just show up and enter the property without your permission. They must give an advanced notice following your state laws before entering your apartment.
What happens with my security deposit after the landlord sells the property?
If you’re moving out before the new landlord closes the property sale, they are responsible for your security deposit. However, if the new owner has taken over the property, they are responsible for the security deposit, even if they failed to get it from the previous owner.
Note that your security deposit can only be returned minus any needed repairs or cleaning after you vacate the property. Depending on your state, a landlord has 14-60 days to return your security deposit.
When your move-out date comes, remove your belongings from the property, clean the vacant rental, and hand over the keys to the landlord. You can do a walk-through with your landlords, and provide a written notice including your new address.
That said, you can always buy your rental property from your landlord if they are willing to sell it.