Sale of Property during a Lease

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Can a Landlord Evict Me to Sell the Property?

A landlord can evict you and sell the property only if your lease contains a provision stating that you can be evicted in the case of sale. As a general rule, this provision must be in writing, and any oral agreement will be insufficient. As a result of the foreclosure spike in 2008, federal law has been written with the sole purpose of protecting renters from losing their leases.

If the lease does not contain a provision specifying that a sale would automatically terminate your lease, then nothing would change and the new owner would step in for your old landlord. The new owner then takes on all the rights and responsibilities that your previous landlord had.

Different types of leases also factor in on the tenants rights:

Can the New Owner Evict Me or Raise My Rent?

A new owner is usually bound by the existing lease and can only evict a tenant if there is a legally recognized reason for the eviction. Moreover, a new owner cannot raise the tenant's rent in the middle of an existing lease. The landlord has an obligation to follow both the length and terms of the existing lease. Even if the new owner was not informed of existing leases, most state laws presume that the new owner should have inquired about leases or otherwise discovered them. 

What If the New Owner Did Not Know about the Lease?

If the new owner or the buyer did not know about the lease, it would not be the tenant’s problem. The new owner must deal with this matter with the previous landlord. If the new owner buys the property and the lease between the tenant and the landlord did not automatically end the tenants lease upon a sale, the new owner must legally step into the shoes of the previous landlord and assume the rights and responsibilities of the previous landlord.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

If you have a lease and your original or new landlord is attempting to raise you rent or evict you, the advice of an experienced landlord-tenant attorney can be extremely helpful. Due to the differences between states as to property laws, a real property attorney can also be helpful in determining what statutes guide property law in your area.

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Last Modified: 09-26-2014 04:01 PM PDT

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