Tenants’ Rights When Selling an Occupied Rental Property

Written on August 12, 2016 by , updated on December 9, 2016

Selling an Occupied UnitThere are many reasons why you might sell a rental property.

Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Cash: You want to cash-in on your property’s equity.
  • Cut your losses: The property isn’t performing as well you like, and you just want out.
  • Accidental landlord: You inherited the rental property and have no interest in being a landlord.
  • You’re moving: You’re relocating, don’t wish to be a long-distance landlord, and/or plan to buy something closer to you.
  • 1031 exchange: You want to trade it in for something else.
  • The end is near: You’re retiring or just want to get out of the landlord business altogether.

Whatever the reason, it is your property, so you can sell it any time you wish. However, when you have tenants, the process involves some extra steps depending on the type of lease or agreement they possess.

The two most common types of rental situations are:

  1. Month-to-month agreements
  2. Fixed-term leases

Handling Month-to-Month Agreements

If your tenant is renting on a month-to-month basis, all you need to do is give your tenant proper notice. This involves mailing or delivering a letter to your tenant 30 days before you’d like them out, usually in respective to the rent due date.

The required notice period varies from state to state, so be sure to look up your state’s policy here.

You don’t need a reason to terminate a month-to-month agreement, hence why it is called a “no cause” termination. It’s one of the main benefits of having a month-to-month agreement. You don’t have to tell the tenant why they need to vacate unless you want to.

Here’s a sample of what to do:

  1. Send a letter with the date on it letting your tenant know that their tenancy will terminate in XX days from the date of the notice or next rent due date (depending on your state).
  2. Inform your tenant to remove all possessions and return your keys to you on or before the last day mentioned in the notice.
  3. If they don’t move out, start the eviction process immediately.

Related: Lease vs. Rental Agreement: Which to Choose?

Handling Fixed-Term Leases

Fixed-term leases require a more delicate touch and don’t normally terminate just because a property changes ownership.

Here are five options for handling a tenant with a fixed-term lease:

1. Wait Until the Lease Has Expired

If you have a tenant in good standing who is renting the property under a lease situation, the easiest method for you is to wait to sell the property until the lease is up and your tenant has moved out.

However, if your tenant has violated any lease terms, you can terminate the lease more quickly with proper notice. Valid reasons for a lease termination include, but are not limited to:

  • Failing to pay rent
  • Violating the lease, including:
    • Engaging in illegal activities on the property
    • Violating a no-pet clause
    • Subleasing if prohibited
    • Causing serious property damage
    • Being a nuisance to others
    • Falsifying information on the rental application

2. Sell the Property with an Active Lease

This option limits your prospects because you would need to sell to someone who understands that a tenant is living in the property and is OK with that. You are basically limiting yourself to investors.

It’s important that the new owner honors the tenant’s lease and lets the tenant live in the property until the lease is up.

In almost every state, the lease and security deposit must be transferred with the property, and the new owner becomes the new landlord. A fixed-term lease does not automatically terminate when a property is sold.

Here’s a podcast episode where Lucas addresses the question:

3. Pay your Tenant to Vacate

If you want to sell right away and your tenant still has several months left on the lease, you can try to negotiate a settlement to get your tenant out early.

This tactic is called “cash-for-keys,” but how do you know how much to offer?

Here are some ways to arrive at a figure:

  • Make up the difference: Look to see what comparable properties to yours are renting for in the area. If rent elsewhere is more than what you’ve been charging, offer to pay the difference between what your tenant will likely have to pay and what they have been paying you, times the amount of months left on the lease.
  • Moving costs: You might want to offer some money to help your tenant move for the inconvenience of moving earlier than expected.
  • Pay their security deposit: You might want to offer half of what your tenant would need to move into a new place, which is usually first month’s rent and a security deposit.
  • Whatever you can afford: The bottom line on how much to offer depends on how much you want your tenant out early — and how much you can afford.

Keep in mind, however, that the tenant is under no obligation to agree to your terms. In that case, you’ll need to wait until the end of the lease to sell the property.

Related: “Cash for Keys” will Motivate Bad Tenants to Move Out Quickly

4. Sell the Property to your Tenant

Offer to sell the property to your tenant. You could allow them to get financing on their own, or offer a seller financing arrangement, which is a type of transaction where you are the lender and allow your tenant to make payments to you (on a short-term basis) to buy the property.

Seller financing is especially attractive to offer to long-term tenants in good standing.

Keep in mind that you typically need to own the property free and clear or get approval from your mortgage lender to conduct a seller-financing deal.

5. Execute an Early Termination Clause in the Lease

There is a case where tenants, even those in good standing, don’t get to live out the entire lease. Some leases have an early termination clause to handle a variety of situations.

These clauses usually say that the lease terminates in 30/60/90 days, for example, after closing on the sale of the property. The “trigger” can be anything you want, as long as it is reasonable, and both parties agree to it in the lease.

photo credit: Life in Rescue via (license)
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694 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Tabatha

    Thank you very much Laura, I figured that was the case, but it never hurts to ask, lol. We actually found a beautiful home with a pool and jacuzzi, but had to move to a different county, which upset my kids and mom, there was nothing in our former area for rent that fit our needs. We will adapt eventually, thank you again and take care.
    Sincerely, Tabatha

    • Laura Agadoni

      Yes, it’s always best to ask! When both landlords and tenants know and abide by the law, things tend to go more smoothly. I’m glad you found a nice place to live.

  • Robin

    We are in the opposite situation from most renters – our rental house is being sold and we want to break our lease early.

    Less than 90 days after we signed a one-year lease our landlord announced the house was for sale. In our lease there is a clause that For Sale and For Rent signs cannot be posted nor the property shown to prospective buyers or renters until the last 30 days of the lease. Our landlord had For Sale signs posted, and showings begin with 8 months remaining on our lease. We found a new home and have given 30 days notice, but the landlord is saying we are responsible for the remaining rent and is threatening to take us to court even though he violated the lease. Do the signs/showings possibly equal a 30-notice from him?

    • Robin

      The above should say “will not be posted” instead of “cannot be posted.” Sorry!

      • Laura Agadoni

        Hi Robin,

        I recommend you consult with an attorney at this point. Here’s why. What I would have suggested (although I’m not an attorney!) would have been to send your landlord a certified letter as soon as he violated the lease by posting signs and showing the property before the lease allowed that. At that point, you could have detailed the problem and then asked for a resolution, which in this case, would be moving out early. He might have agreed. If not, you could have taken him to small claims court. But it appears you skipped that step and took matters into your own hands by simply finding a new place and giving notice. I understand why you’d do that, but at this point, you would be wise to ask an attorney for advice. Good luck!

        • Robin

          Thanks! Actually, we did not remember the clause and only discovered it when we went looking for what penalties we might incur with breaking the lease early. There is no penalty clause in the lease, nor anything about giving written notice. We did give him 30 days written notice though, and have offered to take calls and show the house to potential new renters, and continue with showings until we move out (he is required here to try and re-rent the property as soon as possible).

          We would probably not have been looking for a new rental if he had offered some sort of compensation for the showings, or even an acknowledgement of our trouble. But there’s been nothing, just an expectation that we’ll perform for him and keep paying the rent.

          • Laura Agadoni

            Hi Robin,
            Your landlord can’t have it both ways. You are allowed to stay there until your lease expires. You could always take that option and find another place to move to when your lease is up. I would imagine, again no attorney here, that you can refuse to have the signs in the yard and can refuse the showings. As long as you haven’t violated any of the lease terms, you can stay there until the lease ends … unless your lease has an early termination clause that gives the landlord the right to terminate early to sell.

  • Ashley

    Hi I live in Idaho!! My boyfriend and I moved into our apartment roughly two months ago and signed a years lease. Our landlord informed us he was selling the side by side duplex we live in. Our neighbors are not on a lease we are. The realators are not following our requests.. We asked that they can only come when my boyfriend or I are home because we have a small dog, also just do to it being we don’t want random people we do not know walking through our apartment. What ground do we have on the realators?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Ashley,
      Unless the lease has an early termination clause that allows the landlord to sell before your lease period ends, you should be able to stay until the lease ends as long as you remain a tenant in good standing. So get that straightened out first. If the landlord can sell early, see what the lease says about showing the property. Usually landlords can show the property the month before the tenant is to move out. And they usually need to give the tenant 24 hours’ notice before a showing. The landlord (or their agent) typically does not not need to wait for you to be home to show the place. But if you have a signed lease that has no language about early termination, then there would be no reason to show the place at this time.

      • Ashley

        Thank you so much! It says nothing about early termination do to him selling the duplex. We still have 10 months on our lease left.. Shouldnt the showing still be under our discretion even though it says the owner reserves the right to show it to prospective buyers?

        • Laura Agadoni

          Hi Ashley,
          If I were you, I’d talk to the landlord immediately. Tell them that you have a signed lease that ends on X date. Both parties need to honor the lease. That’s the purpose of the lease, after all. But the landlord can put the house up for sale. They might sell to an investor who is looking to buy a place with tenants already in it. Or maybe they think it’ll take 10 months to sell. Who knows? Here’s an article I wrote that gives some perspective on landlords entering the property: http://www.trulia.com/blog/often-landlord-visit-unit/ If you don’t want to live in a place that’s for sale, you can discuss leaving and maybe getting your landlord to pay your moving expenses. Or you can stay until your lease ends.

  • Barnabe

    I live in Oklahoma . I am renting a house and my lease will expire in February . Beginning November I received a letter from the landlord to vacate by the first week of December because the house is getting sold.

    My question is : does that law apply in Oklahoma?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Barnabe,
      Review your lease. If you’re a tenant in good standing, the landlord can’t just break the lease early unless there’s a clause in it that allows for early termination. I did some preliminary research and did not find anything unique to Oklahoma on this.

  • josey salazar

    my mom is leasing a duplex since last April 2015. Landlord told us that the house was going up for sale sometime at the end of the year. My mom’s lease does not expire until April 2016. Landlord told me today that she has until end of December. Today I receive a call and he says she has two weeks. We like in Dallas Texas. Can they do that? Please Help

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Josey,
      I don’t think the landlord can do that as long as your mom is a tenant in good standing (hasn’t broken the lease in any way). In Texas, on a month-to-month rental, the landlord needs to give a 30-day notice. But a signed lease means the tenant can stay until the lease ends as long as they pay rent on time and as long as they don’t violate anything in the lease. In your mom’s case, her lease is probably up on March 31, 2016, if she signed a year lease, not April 2016, unless it was a 13-month lease.

  • Robert Alarcon

    I am a tenant. The owner did not notify me about the house being sold. The new owner showed up with a rental agreement and the rent was 150 % higher than I was paying. What are my rights in this case?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Robert,

      I’m sorry that happened to you. If you have a lease, you don’t have to pay more rent until the lease is up. If you do not have a lease, then you are on a month-to-month. States vary on how much notice you get before the landlord can raise the rent. Most states require a 30-day notice. Your options after that would be to pay the increased rent, try to negotiate lower rent, or move. Good luck.

  • Hari

    Hi Laura,

    My situation is different. I am going to purchase a commercial property which has 11 years remaining lease term. I want to continue that lease. If there is any possibility that the tenant (It is a restaurant) will terminate lease. This is a NNN lease that means the tenant will pay all the expenses including property taxes. After I buy the property the property taxes will be more. Is the rentor (Lessee) are obligated to pay more property taxes because property changes hands (Landlord changes) or will this be shown as a clause to terminate the lease.

  • Laura Agadoni

    Hi Hari,
    I don’t do commercial transactions, and I’m not an attorney, so I recommend that you contact a qualified real estate attorney for this matter. Good luck with your business venture.

  • Shya

    I am a renter since October 2015 with a 1 year lease…no where on my lease it says anything about the house being for sale. My landlord wants to show the inside of my house to potential buyers. Am I obligated to let them inside my home, or can I tell them they will have to wait until my lease is up?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Shya,

      I suggest that you have a discussion with your landlord. Most leases have a clause that allows landlords to show the place to prospective buyers after giving the tenant proper notice. But since you have practically a year still to go on your lease, ask him why he’s showing the house now. Unless your lease has an early termination clause, you can stay there until your lease ends, assuming you remain a tenant in good standing. Your landlord could be selling the place to an investor who wishes to buy a place with tenants already in. You won’t know what’s going on unless you ask. You do have a right to quiet enjoyment, meaning that your landlord can’t come by and show the place without giving you notice first.

      • Shya

        Thanks for your quick response! My landlord only manages the property, I have never met the owners but he is the landlord signed on my lease. I had a discussion already when my landlord called and told me that he needs a time convenient for me to let a potential buyer into my home to look around, which was 2 days ago and they are planning to come today. I told him I didnt know it could be sold while I was renting and he said he is only doing what he was told by the owners so he has to let them see the inside and if they decide to buy they would give me time to get my stuff out. My family and I are upset and worried.

        • Laura Agadoni

          Hi Shya,
          You’re welcome!
          Read you lease. If there is no early termination clause, they can’t tell you to move out early. A lease is a contract. They can ask you to leave early, but, depending on the language of your lease, you have the right to stay until the lease is up. Sometimes landlords or owners offer to pay a tenant to move out early. Again, you don’t have to agree to do that unless you want to.

  • Lisa B

    I moved into a place and signed a lease for one year. The property management that I signed with is no longer holding my lease. I wrote a certified letter to the owner to inform them I was moving because I have not signed a new lease and the new management hasn’t contacted me either. Going on two months no signed lease.
    Now the new company is wanting to start showing my place and I said No. I don’t want strangers coming in when I’m not here. Only have two weeks to go before moving.

    Can I say no entry ? I’m in Florida

    Thanks , Lisa

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Lisa,
      I believe that once you have a lease, it’s still valid, even if there is a new owner. So unless the new owner agrees, you can’t just break the lease. And unless you agree, they can’t make you move early. They can however, show the place after giving you notice of when they will be there to show it, depending on what the lease states.

  • Lisa B

    Thank you, Laura

  • veronica

    Hi, quick question. My nanny is renting an apartment but it is almost two hours away from my home. She wants to break her lease and move into an apartment just minutes away. Her landlord says if she does break her lease she is responsible for the remaining months rent under the lease which is 10 months! The landlord said previous to the new lease being signed that she was not interested in renting the property if my nanny moved-she would simply sell the property. Now that my nanny is ready to move, she insist that she won’t even put the property on the market until after the holidays-and that all rents will be due until a sale is secured. What options do we have to move and not owe for the whole lease due to the landlord irritation?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Veronica,
      This situation is not so much landlord irritation, as you say, but a tenant not honoring a lease they signed. When your nanny signed the lease, your landlord assumed they would stay until the lease ends. The landlord has no obligation to put the house up for sale during the holidays, which might be a busy time for the landlord. Plus, in most areas, the holidays are not the best time to put a house on the market. But in most states, landlords cannot just do nothing while they wait for the lease period to end. Most state laws require landlords to act to find a new tenant, or in this case, to sell. Your nanny is most likely responsible for paying the rent until the owner sells. A lease is a contract.

      • Veronica

        I get a lease is a contract. No need to be condescending. I offered 3 months rent plus forfeiture of the deposit. In Los Angeles rent is very high. I offered over 10k to help get my nanny a clean option. Just wanted pointers due to owner shooting that down and refusing to re rent OR sell as in putting it on the market which honestly isn’t time consuming. Call a realTor and list. Period. Tenants do and should have recourse when moving for employment not because they’re interested in moving. Just trying to educate myself and help a friend.

        • Laura Agadoni

          I apologize if I sounded condescending. You might wish to check the laws in your state. Some states might allow a tenant to break a lease for a job. But generally, tenants are bound by the leases they sign. Regarding selling a house, there can be a lot more to it than just listing, such as getting it ready for sale, and there are strategies involved. It’s not good, for example, for a listing to become stale, which is what could happen if you put it on the market during an off time, like the holiday season. I understand this is frustrating for you, but a lease protects tenants, too, such as from landlords kicking them out early because they wish to sell, for example. I wish you luck in working this out.

  • LaQuana

    I have been in my rental property for about 4 yrs my landlord to me he was selling the property so we tried to buy it and refused to sell to us my lease has been up and we decided to move out but the new owner said we owe money for being in the home we already paid the last landlord in the new owners wants us to sign a new lease i already told them we’re not going too

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi LaQuana,
      Some landlords would love to sell to their tenants, but they don’t have to. Sorry it didn’t work out with you. If your lease is up, you certainly have the right to move out. If you aren’t out, however, by the end of the lease, even if you stay just one day extra, you owe the current landlord that month’s rent. If you stayed a month and a day over, you would owe 2 months, and so on. You certainly don’t have to sign a new lease if you don’t want to, but it sounds as if your new landlord requires a lease agreement vs. a month-to-month rental agreement if you plan to stay.

  • Betty

    Hello, I am purchasing a propert that was occupied by a tenant at will. He was given a 30 day notice but now, three days out he has decided not to vacate and to dispute his displacement in court, Massachusetts. How long could this take to be cleared up? Can I do anything legally as an injured third party to move this along? I am relocating from out of state and I do not have a place to live if this drags out longer than a few days.

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Betty,
      I believe tenants at will don’t need to receive notice: the tenancy ends as soon as either party decides it should end. In any event, a real estate attorney can guide you on what to do. Possible solutions are to file an eviction lawsuit or offer this person money if they get out now. Good luck!

  • stacey

    Hi Laura I live in Florida and the owner is selling the unit I live in to the property owners. He promised me a rent credit for showing the property now he is backing out. Can the new owners evict me for that rent if I don’t pay him. They said they can’t honor his promise because they did not enter into that agreement. So can they evict me for money that is owed prior to them owning the property. I’m looking for advice thanks

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Stacey,
      I don’t believe the new owners can evict you for money you owe someone else. If you owe money to the old landlord, he could sue you for it. The old landlord can’t promise you a rent credit once the new owners have taken over. Since I don’t know all the exact details of what is going on here, I can’t tell you exactly. My advice is to always get everything, such as a “rent credit,” in writing. But unless you have something in writing stating that you get the first month’s rent free with the new owner, you need to start paying rent to the new owner or they could evict you. Basically, it’s doubtful you get a free month here, but you should not have to pay double, either.

  • JB

    We are buying a property with a tenant with 1 year lease from the seller. The property is in California. We need to move to that property. What are our options to convince the tenant to terminate the lease agreement. They have 10 more months till the end of lease. They are paying at least $200. below the comparable rentals. Can I raise the rent? Thanks.

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi JB,
      If you haven’t yet bought the property and you need to move soon, you might want to find another property to buy because you can’t change the tenant’s lease. And if this tenant is paying that much below market, they probably won’t want to leave. You can evict tenants if they violate the lease by not paying rent or by violating another clause in the lease. Otherwise, they get to stay. You can ask them to leave early. But they don’t have to do it. You could offer to pay them to leave. But they don’t have to do that either.

  • Samantha D Wright

    If a landlord sells the property with an active lease how long do the new owners have to create and give me new lease paperwork with their information on it?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Samantha,

      I have not heard of a specific timeframe where this needs to happen. But common sense dictates that you have this information immediately. If the new owners have not provided their contact info, ask your original landlord for it. Your old lease is still in effect even though the landlord is different, so all you need is the new owners’ contact info, not a new lease.

  • Leticia Robles

    Hello Laura, Me and my family have been renting this house now going on 8 years. My husbands been out of work and we are going on 4months of not paying rent. We received an eviction notice and court date for 12-10-15 well its three days before Christmas and my landlord sent me a text stating the owner is selling the property and the buyer needs me to vacate ASAP.. Mind you there is a growing university and we are one of 20 remaing homes in the neighbhood. Now when looking up property info it stated our home was in foreclosure by bank. Now I’ been told that they are offering 4months of no paying rent and funds to relocate. I know where going on our 4th month of no pay, but is there anyway i can buy some more time before they send a sheriff

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Leticia,
      I’m sorry you and your family are going through a tough time. I really can’t answer when the sheriff will be there, but it sounds as if the eviction is already in place. Typically when landlords or owners strike deals with tenants to pay them cash if they’ll leave, it occurs before the eviction process takes place so the landlords can avoid going through the eviction process. It sounds as if the time of striking a deal in your case has passed. You should make plans to lease ASAP before the sheriff comes so that you can have a smoother relocation. I wish you a better 2016.

  • Richard rodriguez

    Hi im renting this place on a month to month lease well the landlord sold the property and did not notify me , now i pay rent to the new landlord , we dont really get along so i desided to move out so i asked him for my deposit money witch was 600 and he says i have to get it from the last landlord and that hes got nothing to do with that , is this true? Or is he responsible to pay me my deposit? What can i do?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Richard,
      As long as you haven’t damaged the place, which would entitle the landlord to keep all or part of the security deposit after sending you an itemized list of why they’re keeping it, you’re entitled to your security deposit back. Generally, the old landlord transfers the security deposit to the new landlord. The new landlord is generally responsible for the security deposit. Tell the new landlord that if he doesn’t return your security deposit by the time specified by your state, you’ll sue him for it. If he didn’t get the security deposit from the old landlord, that’s his problem. He can sue the old landlord for it. But you should not be out your money on their possibly mishandled deal.

  • justin

    Hey, I’m in kind of a mess… my aunt owned a trailer that she was renting out with an option to buy in the hand written contract on a piece of notebook paper. The guy renting it was bringing in too much traffic and obviously up to no good so she was attempting to evict him when she decided to sell it to me. Her eviction didn’t go as planned as she didn’t bring proper paperwork to f.e.d. hearing. The sheriff then suggested we switch it to my name since I’m buying it, and start a 30 day eviction, which he was served with. A couple weeks ago, he was arrested at burger King on 10 felony drug charges. I had him served w a 3 day notice for clear and present danger. The judge then dismissed the f.e.d. hearing, stating that there was question

  • justin

    As to whether he is/was a tennant or a purchaser…this guy has never showed proof of any contract at either hearing, and still gets to live in my trailer bill free! It’s illegal for me to turn any utilities off, what should I do? Just let him stay there and create a new contract? I know he will break it, I just don’t know when and I need a place to live, that’s why I bought it. I just can’t understand how the judge can consider the meth heads “word” of a contract he has never brought or showed to the courts over my physical proof of ownership which was submitted to the courts.

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Justin,
      Because this is a somewhat convoluted situation, you’ll need to seek legal advice. I’m not a lawyer. Rent-to-buy situations usually mean the tenant rents with an OPTION to buy at the end of the lease period, but sometimes the deal means rent with the OBLIGATION to buy at the end of the lease period. I’m not sure what the interpretation of this contract is if it’s not specified. So it’s unclear whether you had the right to buy if the tenant already had a contract stating that he had an obligation to buy. Good luck sorting this all out.

  • Judy

    Hi Laura, I am a landlord in NC. I have a tenant who is 2 months behind in rent. She has been behind in the past and always caught up. Now tho, we have an offer on the property who would like to close in less than 30 days. The tenant would like to stay in the property but she will not be caught up in 30 days. If I do not start eviction proceedings and just let the new owner work things out with her, can I keep her security deposit for past rent or does it convey to the new owner? Her lease has expired and she is month to month. Or, if I start eviction proceedings, can I then keep the security deposit?

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Judy,
      In North Carolina, you need only give your month-to-month tenant a 7-day notice to vacate. If you evict, most states will let you keep the security deposit to cover or make up for unpaid rent. If that still doesn’t cover what the tenant owes you, you can sue the tenant in small claims court for the remainder. If you don’t evict and the new tenant is allowed to stay, you probably will need to give the security deposit to the new owner. You would need to discuss that with the new owner or with your real estate agent. And since I’m not a lawyer, please don’t consider this legal advice. Good luck!

      • Judy

        Thanks for your reply, Laura. I have located some information that states in NC upon selling rental property, the landlord can either: 1) Give the security deposit to the new owner, or 2) Return the deposit to the tenant minus any allowable deductions. Wouldn’t an allowable deduction be back rent? I do appreciate your advise on this matter.

        • Laura Agadoni

          Hi Judy,
          Again, I’m not a lawyer. But I would think that you could tell your tenant that you plan to use the security deposit to pay for the back rent still owed. Put it in writing, and have your tenant sign it. Then send a certified letter to your tenant within the specified time frame for your state (NC), which is 30 days, of the reason you are withholding all or part of the security deposit.

  • JOHN

    I live in Torrance Californina, I am been living in a condo for 8 years, landlord just call me on dec 30\15 saying that he will selling the condo, he just gave a verbal notice , same day real state agency call me for pictures and that he will selling the condo anytime, I contacted in writing the landlord asking for a writing notice, but still nothing, any advise thanks. do i need a lawyer, should i ask for relocation expensens, not sure, please advise.

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi John,
      From my understanding, landlords in CA need to give a written notice. In CA, the notice must be given 60 days in advance to tenants who rented longer than a year. But if the landlord opened escrow with a real estate agent, they need to give you a 30-day written notice. If you stay, however, based on a technicality, the landlord will probably then give you a proper written notice, at which point, you will need to leave or face a probable eviction. You do not get relocation expenses. You can, however, negotiate with your landlord some terms favorable to you since they didn’t give you proper notice to vacate. Favorable terms could be a longer stay or reduced rent your last month, for example. This is not legal advice! Good luck.

      • JOHN

        Condo is in escrow this since February 1 2016, but I have not received any written notice from landlord, he just called and state that escrow will be done in 30 days. I am being living there in Torrance,CA for 10 years, and I know if goes to escrow is 30 days but it is not enough time for my family to move out.

        • Laura Agadoni

          Hi John,
          You’ll need to work this out with your landlord. If nothing can be worked out, he could evict you, so it’s better that you work something out, or start preparing to move now. I’m not sure what will happen if you push not having written notice, stay, and then go to court. But ultimately, you’ll need to move. It will be more difficult to find another place with an eviction on your record. I know it’s hard after being somewhere for 10 years. Good luck finding a new home!

  • Ann

    Hello – I’m a Los Angeles county landlord of a single condo unit. Our tenants signed a 2-year least at their request to lock in the rent rate. It will be up the end of June. We are listing the unit for sale and the tenants are being difficult – only allowing showings on 2 weekdays for a few hours and only when they are present. They have also requested to break the lease if they find a new place before June. I know we are to mitigate the damages by finding a new tenant – but obviously at this point we aren’t going to re-rent for just a couple months. Is the tenant therefore responsible for rent through the term of the lease or are we stuck losing that rental income? We rely on it to pay the condo’s mortgage and HOA fees. Thank you!!

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Ann,
      If your lease specifies how much notice you need to give your tenants, you must abide by that. Otherwise, CA law says you need to give 24 hours notice in writing before showing, and that you can show during normal business hours only. You are under no obligation to agree to your tenant breaking the lease, but you can’t violate a tenant’s rights to quiet enjoyment of the property, either. That could be grounds for a tenant breaking the lease. More on that here: https://www.landlordology.com/implied-covenant-quiet-enjoyment/ It’s a balancing act, particularly if you will be showing the unit for potentially months on end. Here’s a post on that topic: https://www.landlordology.com/6-tips-showing-occupied-rental-unit/ Good luck!

      • Ann

        Thanks for your prompt reply! The tenant wants to be home during showings, and if we do showings during business hours, she’s not going to be able to be there. But she still must give us access when we provide 24 hour notice. If she still will not consent to let us enter the unit when we’ve given her proper notice, what can we do?

        • Laura Agadoni

          Hi Ann,
          You’re welcome! The condo is still yours, so your tenant cannot simply refuse to let you access it. Remind her that you have the right to show the place. But remember, you cannot be unreasonable about how often you show it. I assume you have a key to enter. If you’ve given proper notice, you can show the place without her “consent.” If she changes locks and won’t allow you access, that could be grounds for eviction. More on locks here: https://www.landlordology.com/rules-for-changing-locks/ Please keep in mind that I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.

  • Brenda

    Hi Laura,

    I just moved out of a house I rented for 2 years. We moved because the house was sold and we received a 60 Notice once the property went into escrow. The problem now is that the landlord will not return my full security deposit and will not reimburse me for expenses (such as the electricity bill) during the open house showings they held. We left the property in much better condition than when we first moved in, and have photos to prove it, so there is no reason to deduct anything from our deposit. He also claims that I had to remain in the property until the last day stated on the 60 Notice, is this true? Please advise. Thanks.

    • Laura Agadoni

      Hi Brenda,
      Sorry you’re having so much difficulty. Look up the security deposit laws for your state. Landlords need to return the security deposit by a certain time (varies by state). If they intend to keep all or part of it, they need to send tenants an itemized list of why. Note that normal wear and tear is not a reason to keep all or part of the security deposit. I can’t speak to reimbursing you for utilities. I don’t know what sort of deal you had there. And finally, no landlord can make you remain in a property. As long as you are fully paid in rent, you can leave whenever you like.