A lease refers to a legal document that spells out the relationship between a landlord and a tenant. It usually covers matters such as the property address and description, time period of the rental arrangement, the rent and deposit amount, the payment schedule and late fees. The lease may also contain details about what happens if the landlord wants to sell the property.
If the lease specifies a time period for the rental arrangement, the tenant has the right to remain in the rental unit until the end of the lease, regardless of whether the landlord sells the property. While the landlord can sell the property, your lease would survive the sale. The new owner has to let you stay and take on the responsibilities of a landlord without you having to sign a new lease with him. This is true even if the new owner is not aware of the lease.
Special Lease Terms
While the lease generally survives the property sale, there could be an exception. If your lease states that a sale automatically ends your lease, then you might have to move out after the sale. You could also negotiate a new lease with the new owner, but he doesn't have any obligation to let you stay.
If you have a month-to-month lease, then not only can your landlord sell the property, but he can also give you notice to move out without providing any reason. A month-to-month lease doesn't have any expiry date and only renews each month if both the landlord and the tenant want to continue the rental arrangement. In most states, the landlord only has to give a 30 day notice to terminate a month-to-month lease.
Potential for Conflict
If your landlord goes through with the sale and you have the right to stay, the new owner could pressure you to move out. The new owner can't deny you basic amenities, but can make the rest of your stay in the property unpleasant. For example, some landlords rent out adjoining apartment units to tourists or remove certain features of the property. If you get into a disagreement with the new owner, check the tenancy regulations in your state before you do anything rash.
- Cornell University Law School: Lease
- Illinois Legal Aid: What Happens to My Lease if My Landlord Sells the Property
- MSN: When Your Landlord Sells You Out
- Nolo. "Tenant Rights to a Livable Place." Accessed March 24, 2020.
- Justia. "Major Repairs and Maintenance." Accessed March 24, 2020.
- Washington Law Help. "I am a Tenant Living in a Foreclosed Property. What are My Rights?" Accessed March 24, 2020.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook - Glossary," Page 5. Accessed March 24, 2020.
- Bornstein Law. "A glance at owner move-in evictions in 2018." Accessed March 24, 2020.
- Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "Student or Not, You Have Rights as a Tenant." Accessed March 24, 2020.
Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.