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Tenant Rights When Rental Property is Put Up On Sale

If you’ve been renting the same property for a long while, chances are that you call this place home and really mean it. You have collected hundreds of happy moments associated with this place, you know all its ins and outs, and maybe you even dream about it while being far away. This is your home. Well, at least until your lease expires.

Navigate quickly to save your time:

If You Have an Oral Agreement

If You Have a Month-to-Month Lease

If You Have a Fixed-Term Lease

Facts to Keep in Mind

In Conclusion

That’s why most tenants feel frustrated and confused when it turns out that their ‘home’ has been put up for sale. Oftentimes, it feels like a combination of surprise and anger and stress all rolled into one. You are overwhelmed by questions you have no answers to: How could my landlord do this to me? What are my rights? Is this even legal? How soon should I move out? Is there any chance to stay?

To begin with, there is no need to go crazy. Just like the majority of problems on this planet, this one has a solution. The fact that your rental home is available for sale does not automatically mean you should grab your bags and saunter off into the sunset. After all, you have your tenant rights and they are meant to protect you exactly in situations like this.

So let’s dig deeper and find out what landlord-tenant law says in this regard and how to minimize your loss – both mental and financial – when you find out your rental home is available for sale. Quick fact: your course of actions will depend greatly on the type of lease you have.

If You Have an Oral Agreement

Hopefully, you are reading this lines only out of curiosity. Because as experience confirms times and times again, going for a verbal rental agreement is one of the biggest mistakes tenants make. Although it is true that such agreements are binding by law, they are easy to misinterpret and hardly possible to prove. But no worries, learn what rental rights do you have without a written lease and try to make the most out of this knowledge.

If You Have a Month-to-Month Lease

If you are renting on a monthly basis, it basically means that your contract expires and gets renewed every 30 days. Should your landlord decide to sell their property and terminate your month-to-month lease, they can do it with ease. All it takes for them is to give you a notice to vacate within the reasonable term stated by the law.

This term varies from state to state, but it’s usually around 30 days. The rare exception is California, where month-to-month renters should be notified about a termination of their lease 60 days before the expected move-out day if they’ve been living in the same rental unit for a year or more.

Month-to-month lease agreement

But even if you have a month-to-month lease and it is relatively easy for your landlord to show you the door, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should be looking for a new place to rent right away. Just like with fixed-term leases, your month-to-month contract remains valid under the new landlord until he or she says otherwise.

If You Have a Fixed-Term Lease

Although things are more messy with a fixed-term lease, it’s still possible to learn all the ins and outs of your tenant rights when your landlord decides to sell a property. So let’s see what steps you should take to minimize your loss when the place you call home is put up on sale.

Read Your Lease Agreement First

Generally speaking, a rental agreement is yet another form of business contract. And contracts are meant to predict all possible conflicts that might arise during their period of validity. So chances are that your lease copy has all the answers you’re looking for.

It might state that the property you are renting can be put up on sale at any time, but your landlord is obliged to give you a notice at least 60 days before he or she wants you to move out. Alternatively, it might state that you can stay by the end of your lease but under a new landlord.

The bottom line is simple: as soon as you find out your long-term home had been put up for sale, read your rental agreement A to Z. You need to know if there a specific clause explaining your rights in this particular situation.

Check Your State Landlord-Tenant Laws

If your lease doesn’t mention anything about your rights in the discussed situation, the next step to take is to refer to legislation. But remember that tenant-landlord law is different from state to state, which means your tenant rights might slightly vary depending on your location.

Check landlord-tenant laws

For instance, if you’re renting in California, you can have a sigh of relief as a local tenant-landlord law is tenant-friendly. In case you have a fixed-term lease, you have the right to stay in your rental property until its end. What’s more, when in the Golden State, you can request relocation allowance if your new landlord wants you to move out before your lease expires.

In case you’re a tenant in Washington, there is no need to worry either. Your lease remains valid in case a rental property is sold, and your former landlord is obliged to provide you with a name and address of a new landlord. What’s more your former landlord must transfer your security deposit to the bank account of the new owner (make sure it’s done if you want to get your security deposit back).

When in Illinois, tenants can be relaxed too as their lease remains in full effect even if there is a new landlord. This means that tenants cannot be forced to leave or asked to pay a different rent until the current lease expires. According to Illinois tenant-landlord law, tenants must be informed about a sold rental property within 10 days of a purchase.

Facts to Keep in Mind

  • Tenant rights are superior to property rights. It means that your landlord is no longer your landlord and you’ve got a new one, you can live and enjoy your basic tenant rights until your lease comes to an end.
  • You might be a subject to relocation allowance. If your landlord wants you to move out because a property is put up for sale, you might request a relocation allowance. In some cases, you’ll have a chance to receive a so-called tenant relocation payment.
  • Even if your rental home is put up for sale, it is still your home. This means that you still have your right to quiet enjoyment and property owner cannot invite prospective buyers to an open house whenever he or she wants to. A landlord is still obliged to give you a  24 hours’ notice.
  • It’s time to ask for bonuses. When a rental property is put up for sale while you’re still renting it, chances are good that people will come to see the place every now and then. This means you’ll have to keep your property clean and ready for demonstration permanently. As it may cause distress, you have a right to negotiate your rental price and ask for a discount to cover inconveniences. More often than not, landlords agree on that.

In Conclusion

Housing issues should not be a source of stress, but they oftentimes are. If you are renting a home and find out your landlord wants to sell it or even has already done that, the best you can do is to stay calm and collected. No matter what people might say and what relevant horror stories they might share with you, both you and your landlord should abide by the law. And, fortunately, the American law is rather pro-tenant, which means you should enjoy your rights and have no worries.

111 Comments

  1. nice infornation to have i was planning to sell my house fast dallas , but i need some small tweaks to make something better

  2. Hi,
    Does the owner have right to say to others that the house is for rent even if there are still renting/living in that house?

  3. Hi…I signed a 6 month lease in AZ and moved out right before the fourth month began. I then immediately paid the final 3 months on the lease outright and emailed a letter stating that I was permanently off the premises. I kept the utilities on in my name (in good faith) and they are still on. The house has just been put up for sale yesterday by the realtor that originally rented it to me. Am I required to keep the utilities on while they are selling? There are no sales clauses mentioned in the lease. Thanks for any information.

  4. what if the property was sold for cash sale/as is and the tenants were given 10 days notice to vacate, because thats when the escrow closes? ive been here 14 years it was my parents house.

  5. Hi. We live in California. Our lease expires in Jan 2019. The owner intends on putting our house on the market immediately. Quick question: are we required to allow the realtor to take pictures of the inside of the property to put on the MLS listing? We aren’t thrilled with the idea of having our personal belongings put out there for public consumption. Thanks.

    • Hi Marie,

      You could refuse the photo session, but it’s not quite friendly and won’t bring you to anything good with your landlord. Let’s be honest, it’s quite understandable that homeowner needs fresh photos to sell the property and you would do the same, it’s normal.

      Is it possible to find a compromise since the landlord’s request is not unreasonable?

      At lease you can restrict access to a few limited areas/zones/things and ask a photographer to avoid including anything you’d prefer not to include.

  6. Hi Alex,

    I am a California resident and the duplex where I’ve lived the last 30 years has just sold.

    I’ve also been given $20,000 for relocation. Is this taxable?

    Thanks in advance.

    Kae

  7. I live in CO and our landlord has decided to sell the house to an investor. My question is when his realtor brings in a potential buyer do we have to leave the house or can we be present.

    • Hi Laurie,

      You have all legal rights to be present during the open houses with potential buyers!

  8. Who will be responsible for returning the deposit, the new property owners or the the old property owners. Thank you in advance.

    • Hi Victoria,

      The person who signed the lease with you will be responsible for giving back the security deposit, until you sign a new lease with a new owner.

  9. Hello,

    I have a month to month lease. We have been here since 10/2017 so that is 8 months. When paying rent for June, our landlord mentioned he is planning on selling. He did not let us know exactly when he wanted us out. How much time legally do we have to find a new place?

    • Hi Magdalena,

      If you are renting on a monthly basis, it basically means that your contract expires and gets renewed every 30 days. Should your landlord decide to sell their property and terminate your month-to-month lease, they can do it with ease. All it takes for them is to give you a notice to vacate within the reasonable term stated by the law.

      This term varies from state to state, but it’s usually around 30 days. The rare exception is California, where month-to-month renters should be notified about a termination of their lease 60 days before the expected move-out day if they’ve been living in the same rental unit for a year or more.

  10. We have been renting a house for over 5 years now. We have had two leases the first was for a year then it changed to monthly lease both have expired the landlord has not written up another. they texted this morning saying they want to sell the house and want us to move in 30 days we live in tennessee and i am wondering what will happen if we cant move in the 30 days

    • Hi Donna,
      If you received a proper written notice, you must move out. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with the eviction process.

  11. My family has been renting our home for the past 9 years. Our original home owner recently passed away, and her son inherited the house. we received a phone call saying he sold the house. We didn’t give any agreement or receive any notice what so ever on the house being sold or eviction. yes. He was suppose to fix the floor panel under the sink because it leaked thru the floor to the basement. He said there were contractors coming to look at it. But they were the people to buy the house. they were taking pictures as well. and we never received a 24 hour notice that they were going to come

    • Hi Celeste,

      You should be given a 30-days notice to vacate the property in case of sale and the notice should be in a written form.

  12. Should you still have to pay rent if the owner of the property wishes to move back in shouldn’t they pay you to relocate

    • Hi Shaneka,

      It all depends on the state you live in. However, relocation assistance should be paid to the tenant in case of the eviction where there is no tenant’s fault. But in your particular situation it’s still not clear enough if your landlord really started to move back in and do something about his intentions or just simply wishes to do that.

  13. Ok so ive been living on this god for sackin. Place for 5 years. N the landlord jus up and sold the apartment building. We are a little behind on rent with the previous owner. Are we still obligated to pay him once he sells the apartments?

    • Hi Alysia,

      First of all, I would recommend you checking this with your previous landlord directly. But usually it means that you should finish your obligations with the previous landlord and pay everything you owed him in rental payments.

  14. Hello, we have been in a rental home for almost 5 years now. In September of 2017 we discussed a 3 yr real estate contract as to where we would purchase the house in 3 yrs. She never sent me the contract and now they stated they needed to sell the home. We have investors/realtors coming to our home M-S and is very hard with 2 young kids in our home. Also the landlords came by last weekend and asked us to get the house “sell ready”. They are meaning paint where there paint is old, clean up yard etc. Our house is kept in a clean environment all the time but they are asking us to do the extra work to make the house nicer. Is that not their job? I honestly do not mind painting etc if they were to purchase the paint and reimburse me for my services.

    • Hi Mary,

      It’s not your obligation to do in-house repairs to prepare the house for sale, it is up to landlord to perform all the work.

  15. I would like to know if i can set the time my place can be shown.

    • Hi Debra,

      In 23 states, including California and New Jersey, the landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice before she or anyone she authorizes enters the house. The house can be shown only during ‘reasonable hours’, but you cannot set times by yourself.

  16. Hi – I have a question. My property management company informed me on a Friday at 4:30 pm that the owner of my condo decided to sell, and that I had until Monday morning to make it “photographable”. I asked for a place to store boxes, and was told no; I asked for extra time, and was told no; what are my legal obligations for this? I had been in the process of packing to move in a couple of months, and I have no storage unit to put all of the boxes in. No offer of help from the management company or landlord; just demands. Thank you.

    • Hi Nikki,

      While your lease is still active and the house is not sold, you have legal rights to store your boxes and any other belongings in the house.

  17. I live in south carolina. My husband and i are current renters and the owner of the house is looking to sell. Can he give permission for the house to be shown with a 24 hour notice to us? We have a dog that is not friendly with people he doesnt know and 24 hours isnt much time for us to find arrangements for him? Does the landlord have to be present when the house is being shown since he approved the showing? Some of the times we have had family there and people sleeping and just not a good time.
    Thank you for your help

    • Hi Megan,

      As I already mentioned in one of my previous replies to a similar question: In 23 states, including California and New Jersey, the landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice before she or anyone she authorizes enters the house. The open house sessions can be held during ‘reasonable hours’ and your landlord has a right to be present while showing an apartment to a potential buyer.

  18. My husband bought a house and there was a pervious tentant living in the house but hasn’t paid rent to the pervious landlord in 5months we bought the house in March 2, of 2018 and now it’s may 19,2018 we bought it for us to live in it she was told several times that she would have to move now when we
    Drove up to move in she replys she
    Wasn’t informed it was sold it was sold thru a realtor company
    And says she moving but hasn’t and it’s been three weeks since she first said that she moving
    I am now homeless with my son and daughter and myself each get
    SSI she won’t move out and we have no where to go
    Please help

    • Hi Lisa,

      Your situation may be very tricky due to the fact that I cannot know whether previous owner did give the written notice about the house sale. It’s also not obvious from your story whether you became her new landlord according to the lease. In that case you would have to give her a written notice.

      So in this situation, I would strongly recommend seeking the advice from your legal advisor.

  19. Hello i just started renting my apartment this past October 2017 and today which is 5/16/2018 my landlord called me telling me he wants to sell his unit i told him i’m not interested in buying it and i only want to rent for now and my lease ends this year October 2018 and his realtor text me asked me to send him pictures of the apartment so i did and when i signed my lease mt landlord never told me he was selling my unit in the complex till today where by i just moved in and i live in southbridge Massachusetts i called the landlord asking him when my lease ends this October what then and he said thats it smh or if the person buys it and wants to rent to me this is really frustrating because i just moved in and trying to settle down! i have a deep feeling he knew he wanted to sell the place and dint want to tell me cos he wanted money till he sells it which is messed up pls do you have any advise for me

    • Hi Kev,

      No matter what, in case the house is sold earlier than you finish your lease, there are two ways how this may work:
      1. New homeowner may offer you to sign a new lease with him
      2. You will get a written notice from the landlord giving you time to move out.

      The number of days usually depends on the state you live in.

  20. Hi there,

    My mom’s house just entered into contract with a buyer; she has informed her tenant all along that she was selling the house. The tenant informed her via text message 5 months or so prior that he would be moving out at the end of April 2018; so in negotiations she informed the buyer that the unit will be empty. When she updated the tenant that the house is in contract, he said he told her he was leaving in anger and is not serious.

    How should we handle?

    • Hi Kaylee,

      The resolution depends on two things:
      1. What state are you living in?
      2. Did your mother send the written notice about the house sale to the tenant?

  21. Hi there, I live in MN and just found out that my landlord has sold the property I live in. I was never given written notice (that it was being put up for sale in the first place, nor that it had actually sold). The only reason I found out was because I had called my landlord to inquire about getting out of our lease early due to relocating for a new job, and it was only then that he informed me the property has sold. Additionally, I have found out about numerous times my landlord has helped himself into my apartment without any notice. What are the “punishments” for this.. for not giving written notice of the sale of the house as well as entering without notice? We have a written lease/agreement and it says nothing of landlord changes/sale of property. Additionally, my old landlord told us he would have let us out of our lease early as long as we found new tenants to take a new lease, however the new landlord said absolutely not, this is not an option. Is there anything we can do as we have been kept completely in the dark about this situation and now are getting the short end of the stick?

    • Hi Sydney,

      Looks like you have all legal rights to file a lawsuit regarding the fact that your landlord didn’t give you the written notice. However, I would recommend you checking with your legal advisor first.

  22. I live in California. Is there a customary amount or percentage that we ask for for the rent decrease?

    • Hi Kathleen,

      I don’t recall any detailed information regarding the ‘rent decrease’. May be you can specify what you mean by that?

  23. I seen people are still getting answers. I have a question. Maybe someone can answer it for me.
    I signed a lease for 12 months. I moved in and within 3 days found roaches everywhere. dead and some alive. I was ensured the building was being treated every other month for them and not to worry. I had a baby that would be born the next month and didn’t want to move all over again so I trusted them. An exterminator came within a few days and treated the inside of my apartment. That was December 2017. Next we noticed the hot water heater wouldn’t even keep the water hot to make a full bath. So December we noticed a hole in the top of one of our closets. letting in a lot of cold air. we made a complaint about it and the hot water heater within the first month and nothing was done. My electric bill was $200-$250 till April. I live in a two bedroom apartment. I lived in a three bedroom house for a year and a half and never paid over $140 for electric. Anyways within the first two weeks the hot water handle came completely off in the shower. I had to use a pair of vice grips to be able to use it to turn it on and off. It was just fixed on May 6th. It took 5 months to have that fixed. The entire time we was told things would start getting fixed so we kept paying rent hoping. The ceiling had a spot in our bathroom where it was falling in and our kitchen and bathroom sinks won’t drain. Our landlord told us on the third after paying rent on the first of May that they’re selling the building. The building sold on the 8th. I am trying to figure out if I can sue for all my money back plus my deposits. We have lived miserably for 6 months. All while having a newborn baby. Any info or help would be great.

    • Hi Anon,

      If your apartment is inhabitable or needs repairs, your landlord is obligated to fix those problems. In cases he/she doesn’t do that, you should send a notification to him/her that you’re withholding the rent payments until everything gets fixed or fix and deduct the costs. However, I cannot tell you for sure if it’s possible to sue post factum.

      In theory, you can file a lawsuit regarding your security deposit, but this is a sensitive point that you should check with your legal advisor.

      For example, you do not have running water, your heat is not working in the winter or you have a mold issue or lead paint hazard. In this scenario, before you file a lawsuit against the landlord, you usually have the option to notify the landlord that you will withhold rent or move out of the unit if they do not fix the issue.

  24. we’re renting our house for almost 10 years now and we’re on the month to month basis.the house was put on sale.people coming in to see it.the agent told us that they found a serious buyer.i heard from people that the tenant supposed to get paid when the house was sold.is that true?is it also true that landlord have to give financial help to the tenant so they can able to move out?what happen if the notice to move out expires and the tenant still can’t find a new place to move in,what will happen?

    • Hi Stella,

      No, your landlord is not obligated to pay you after the house sale or financially support you. If he gives you a 60-day notice, you should look for a new house and move out. The only money your landlord really owes you is your security deposit (if no damage claims are applicable).

  25. What if its just a room in a home? That is being put up for sale

    • Hi Frank,

      It depends on whether you signed a lease agreement or not. If yes, you have all the same rights as any other tenants, which means that your landlord should give you a written notice stating that the house is on sale.

  26. I live at The Barracks town homes in College Station Tx. We signed through The Barracks themselves which includes maintance, lawn work, etc.. We have been calling for weeks for them to come fix stuff and come to find out they sold our house to someone and will not provide us with any info on how to get ahold of them to get things fixed and to pay rent. Is there any breach in contract for this? or anything we can do that may get us out of this lease?

    • Hi Kaitlyn,

      Very weird situation, they just don’t want to give you any info on a new house owner? You should check your lease agreement and direct all your claims to the person or company that’s listed there as a landlord. If this person or company refuses to cooperate, you should contact your legal advisor regardnig this and start a claim in the small claims court.

  27. Ive been in my house 7 yrs will be 8 soon i rented the house and it was foreclosed. But ive been living here no problem

  28. I live in CA. I’ve lived at the property since 2013, currently the lease is month to month. The property is part of a trust the trust owner has died the major holder of the trust wants to dispose of the property. I have received notice to vacate from property management company; I have until July 1, 2018. My household consist of myself and two elderly relatives one currently receiving hospice services. Do I have any tenant rights? I’ve heard stories of tenants being paid to relocate…
    Thank you,

    • Hi Celeste,

      The house owner has a right to give you a written 60-day notice and sell the house. In this case you’ll have to vacate the property by July 1, 2018 and cannot rely on any financial support from your landlord, unless your lease states that you can.

  29. Hello,
    I live in CA and moved into my rental in January and there was a clause in the lease stating that there is a chance the landlord may sell the house and revisit/ negotiate new terms in June. It is April and he is already having realtors come and inspect the property before June and he wants to wrap up the sale by June, but is initiating the process 2 months prior. Is this ok? ?

    • Hi Holly,

      Your Landlord has a right to sell the house if he gives you a 60-day written notice.

  30. My landlord sold the property we are currently living in but our landlord didnt even give us notice that he in process of selling the property. The property is sold has been sold with in the two weeks of my husband and I finding out the property is for sale. The new owner commented about raising the rent and unfortunately we can’t afford at this time. What can my family do with this situation? we wasn’t given any noticed that the property was on for sale and now we feel we are being forced out. How much time do we have to move out and do we need to give new landlord rent and deposit as we are being told from his reality person.

    • Hi Arlette,

      First of all, it depends on what type of lease agreement you had. But anyway, you had to receive a written notice about the fact that the house is on sale. If you had a month-to-month lease, he had to give 15-30-day notice (depending on the state you live in). If you had a year-to-year lease, he had to give you a 60-day notice.

      P.S. Of course, that doesn’t apply to your situation in case you did not have a written agreement, cause in this case he had all the rights not to give the notice. (However, in some states, verbal agreements can be brought to the small claims court).

      Sometimes, the house can be sold along with the lease, but I doubt that the agreement has been signed behind your back.

  31. Hello, I have been renting for 10 years and we are on a one-year lease which expires August 31, 2018. However, we spoke to the landlord and agreed to go on a month-to-month lease after August 31st with a 60-day written notice to terminate the lease. He said we could be on a month-to-month until February 2019. However, he didn’t write this on the amendment.
    This is what the amendment says (signed by both parties):
    1. Effective immediately, the lease ends August 31
    2. After August 31, the lease will continue month to month with $200 rent increase and 60-day notice should be provided in writing to terminate the lease
    The landlord wants to start listing his condo on July 1st.
    By law, aren’t we allowed to stay until February 2019? The amendment says after August 31 we will continue month to month so don’t we have at least until October 30, 2018 to stay? Can he list his house before August 31st and does he have the right to ask us to leave before Oct 30?

    • Hi Jill,

      I believe you are confusing the terms. A month-to-month lease implies that any party (landlord or tenant) can terminate the lease with the 15 or 30-day notice (depends on the state). Considering the written and signed amendment, you should get an advice from your legal advisor to see whether this amendment will hold up and whether you need to go to the small claims court if things escalate.

  32. I live in Northern California (Bay Area). I suspect my landlord will be listing his apartment building for sale in which I live (4 units with small house attached where the manager lives). I have lived there for several years and have a month-to-month tenancy. If/when the house sells, can the new owners evict all/some of the tenants? Or do landlords typically “clean house” when selling their property? All tenants have lived there for 4 years or more and all are on month-to-month leases. Is it legal to oust everyone that occupies the building? We all pay below market rent for the area. I used to live in SF where tenant’s rights were easily understood and you often get paid relocation monies, but there are no such rent control laws in this city.

    • Hi Diane,

      The homeowner (your landlord) has a right to sell his house with all the units included, no matter how long you or your neighbors lived there. The only thing he’s obligated to do is to send you the written notice stating that the house is on sale. Then you’ll have up to 60 days to vacate the property.

      However, sometimes people tend to sell their houses with active lease. In this case you’ll have to sign new agreement, so it really depends on the situation. As of right now, you just ‘suspect’ and, unless you get a written notice, you cannot really do anything.

  33. Hi i live in Fresno California, the house im living in is up for sale. there’s a buyer who wants to come walk through the house. only problem is, he wants me and my children out of the house while he does the inspection. he wanted us to go somewhere else but i said no. so now hes saying he wants us in the front yard. what are my rights to this subject?

    • Hi Dana,

      Once you’ve received a written notice stating that the house is currently for sale, you have 60 days to look for a new place. Your landlord has a right to schedule a tour during normal business hours. However, you’re not obligated to leave the house during the house tour.

  34. We live in Maryland. As the tenants is there something that needs to be signed in order for the owners to sell the home? I don’t want to be liable for anyone/anything to the home when it is being shown.

    • Hi Carol,

      You don’t have to sign anything. Your landlord should send you a written notice, letting you know that the house is on sale, that’s all.

  35. Hi, I am a month to month tenant in Maine. The owner has decided to sell the condo, and keeps asking me to show it for him. Making sure that the house is always picked up and clean is one thing, but legally do I have to keep showing it to perspective buyers for him? It’s kind of uncomfortable for me. He does not have a realtor yet.

    • Hi Julie,

      All you need to do is grant access to the place for his/her visits during the Open House, it’s his responsibility to show the house to the buyer, not yours.

      Also, be advised that your landlord can only request an open house visit during normal business hours.

  36. We are moving from the townhouse we live in because our landlord is selling the house. We found another place we like and signed the lease. On the day we went to get the keys and things from the real estate management company he dropped the bombshell that the landlady was planning on selling the house after our one year lease was up! Shouldn’t that have been mentioned before we signed the lease? We would never have leased it had we known that. I am extremely upset and the Realtor knew it. I basically turned my back on him and walked out of the house. This is not right, even if it is legal. Do we have any recourse?

    • Hi Ken,

      We’re sorry to hear about your situation.

      It depends on whether your landlord sent you a written notice stating that he is selling the house. Unfortunately, if he just mentioned it during the small talk, there is nothing you can do about it. However, I would recommend you taking advice from your lawyer on whether this issue can be brought to the small claims court.

  37. My landlord has given notice of selling the house I rent from her. It sold and we just found another rental to move, I sent her an text advising that we will be vacating by the weekend as the new owner’s agent is asking access for inspections. The landlord claims that I am obligated to give a 30 day notice because her escrow is 60 days. I know for a fact she can change the escrow to 30 days but I don’t believe I have to give her a 30 day notice since she sold the house. If you can clarify this I would be appreciative.

    • Hi A.D.,

      After your landlord gives you a 60-day notice, you remain tenants until that period expires. If you want to move out sooner, you have to give your own 30-day notice.

  38. My landlord sales the condo I’m living in and gives me a 60 days notice. I found another place to live, and he tells me that he did not give me an early move out date. Just a 60 day notice. This is in California. I can move out prior to the 60 days can’t I.

    • Hi Michele,

      After your landlord gives you a 60-day notice, you remain tenants until that period expires. If you want to move out sooner, you have to give your own 30-day notice.

  39. Hi, my landlord passed away a couple of months ago. His wife still owned the property, but has now decided to sell it in an estate sale. We have potential buyers coming with the management company to look at the apartments. My question is: where do they tend to look? I don’t want to feel like my privacy is being invaded by them going through my closets and cupboards as such. Or do they usually just do a quick walk through? I have two young children, so my house doesn’t look like a museum ( it’s not trashed)

    • Hi Sara,

      Usually, the just have a walk through, take a look at the plumbing system and evaluate the overall property value. However, if your landlord is selling the house along with the furniture, for example, sometimes a potential buyer may want to look at the compartment wardrobe or something like that. However, they have no right to touch or review your personal staff.

  40. I have signed a lease agreement 3 months ago which will end Nov/2018 (State of Florida). Last week the property owners decided to list the house for sale and I’m now receiving visitors (showings) while we are at home. I talked to the landlord asking him to release me from the contract and informed him we can vacate in 30-45 days. He doesn’t want to release us from the contract because he wants to wait and see if the house sells. I don’t want to be in this situation and would like to have the liberty to relocate at my convenience, not the owner’s convenience. My question is: Can he force us to stay in the contract even though he never disclosed (before we signed the lease) he would put the house for sale? I would like to move out but want to resolve this in the best way possible and receive back my security deposit.

    • Hello Hiram,

      First of all, what you need to do is check the lease itself. A lot of times it will have an early termination clause and you can exercise that clause to break the lease early.

      Many clauses in leases require a 60-day notice and two months’ rent, which is a small price to pay to cancel the one year contract. In other cases, the clause could require you to continue to pay rent while the landlord looks for a new tenant or have you surrender your security deposit. It all depends on two things:

      – State you leave in
      – Whether the termination clause is noted in your lease

      Otherwise, the best option for you to resolve this situation safely will be to get your lawyer to look into your lease and give you an advice on it.

  41. We extended our Florida lease by one month because we were in the process of buying a home. The landlord agreed to add the extra month, if we were lenient with the home being shown for prospective buyers. The home had 12 hours’ worth of showings scheduled within hours of it being listed (at a low price – due to structural & hurricane damage) and had a contract in place before noon that same day. We still have a week left on our lease. My biggest question is – what happens to our deposit? If the house is sold “as is”, does that mean we are entitled a full return on the deposit?

    • Hi Michael,

      First of all, your landlord has to show the property only during the reasonable hours. Some states also allow to show the property on Saturday, but still, he/she cannot show your property the whole day.

      As for your deposit, you will get it back in full, in case all the requirements from the lease agreement are met and there is no damage to the house caused by you living in it during the lease.

  42. I live in Michigan. and grandma passed . so they r selling house. the realtor is having ppl come over at 630 7 pm at night. I get told things than it another. r they allowed to go all hrs.

    • Hello Sue,

      Here is the deal: In 23 states, including California and New Jersey, the landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice before she or anyone she authorizes enters the house

      Granted, other states don’t have any laws at all about this (or else have laws with vague words like “reasonable notice,” which are left up to the interpretation of judges—meaning you’d have to sue first), so ask her if she’s planning on giving you notice before the open house occurs, and check your state’s law.

      Generally, unless there’s some emergency, your landlord is restricted to reasonable hours. That means normal business hours during the week, perhaps early evening and may even mean weekends. For example, a California court recently held that Saturdays were “normal business hours” since realtors commonly held open houses on Saturday.

  43. hello, my landlord told us we were having a home inspection but my neighbor over heard that they’re selling the property to rental investors, does this mean we will have to move out or higher rent?

    • Hello, Jennifer!

      If your landlord is selling the house, he will have to give you a notice. The notice time frame is defined by the state you live in, so if you let me know your state, I’ll look up this info for you.

      Usually, it’s 30 days since the initial notice to move out.

      Personally, I would recommend you asking your landlord whether he is selling the house or not (if you are in good relationship with him), cause in this situation you’ll have a chance to look for a new house without the rush.

      • If I am on section 8 and my lease does not expire until the end of the year, where does that leave my family as the new owner buys the house from the original owner

        • Hi Monica,

          When new owner buys a house from the old one, he can sign a new lease with you. Otherwise, the old homeowner will have to give you a written notice to move out (usually it’s a 30-days notice).

  44. Where do I go.landlord my deceased best friend room mate’s dad is selling house I am on disability 100% disabled have no means to move or monies to do it
    . his son died and I was able to stay here. 9yrs. Now he verbally said I have 60 days. He’s trying to get medical for his wife she’s in ltc till she passes. Can I stay till house sells? Selling the house will put her over the eligibility level.? Pled pled put me in the right direction. Also he won’t respond to my calls or letters

    • Hello Leigh,

      It depends on whether you have a written lease agreement or verbal. If you have a written agreement, then it means that your landlord had to give you a written notice, not verbal.

      In case of your landlord breaking this agreement, you’ll need to contact your lawyer to resolve this issue and see whether its possible to stay in this house prior to the end of the lease or the house sale.

  45. Hello i live in Rhode Island and my landlord just texted me today that he accepted an offer on the house and we have to move out next month on April 7. I live a month to month lease. But he will not be my new landlord. Should the new owner give me notice that i have to leave?

    • Hello Tiffany,

      According to the state law:

      The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy or any periodic tenancy for more than a month or less than a year by a written notice, in a form substantially similar to that provided in § 34-18-56(c), delivered to the other at least thirty (30) days before the date specified in the notice.

      The lease agreement is a contract between two parties: you and your landlord. New house owner is not related to your deal. Basically, new house owner can sign a new agreement with you, but only if he wants to rent out this property. Otherwise, you’ll have to move out in 30 days after the notice given by your landlord.

  46. We are leasing our home in California and notice was given that our home is now for sale with 5 months left on the lease. I am planning to have our lawyer draft letter with request to vacate property 8 weeks early and this allow the home to be shown any time and more effectively home can be sold without tenants and sold to anyone vs. just investors. I have new job offer coming for company located farther away so will have longer commute lastly need to leave early since July 1st at the beach where we live is zero availbility of homes for rent and prices go up so hoping to use these reason to leave early. lastly also inconvenience of showing home and unknown future if new owner would rant new lease or ask us to move . any advice trying to avoid lease clause for early departure if they agree of course. Thx

    • Hello Mark,

      I would recommend you first check the legal encyclopedia on breaking your lease (select your state and see the most up to date laws)

      https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/changing-breaking-your-lease

      In some states there is a law saying that your landlord is obligated to re-rent the place if you give him the needed notice prior to leaving the house.

      But here are some things to keep in mind:

      • You may still be responsible for the costs of advertising and showing the unit.
      • Your landlord must take reasonable steps to rerent, not heroic ones. He needn’t put your unit at the top of his list of properties to rent, and he doesn’t have to offer it for a song.
      • The landlord needn’t accept any old applicant who walks in the door. He’s entitled to be as choosy with the next tenant as he was with you.
 Still, you can help the situation a lot by offering your landlord a replacement tenant, someone who has the same good credit and rental history that you did (or better).
  47. Hello, I am a month-to-month tenant. The landlord sold the building and ha owed me monies. I did not sign an estoppel and have been contacted by the new owners looking for rent. I told them that I was owed money by the previous owners and have deducted that from my rent. They said that have nothing to do with previous arrangements. I don’t believe that to be the case.

    • Hello Nikkie,

      Can you please note under what circumstances did you the previous landlord owe you money? Was it some kind of a check for some services that he had to compensate and did not do it?

      Do you have any kind of written proof of your previous landlord not compensating you that sum of money?

  48. My landlord has a pending sale on the apartment building I live in. I do not want to live there under the new owners. He has told me I can go ahead and terminate my lease early. He then said he would keep my deposit. Can that be used as my last month’s rent? And shouldn’t that be returned since he has agreed to terminate my lease early?

    • Hello Carolyn,

      The answer depends on the wording of your lease and the particular landlord-tenant laws in the state you live in. There is a chance that the early termination clause is included in the lease you signed, your landlord will be able not to give back the security deposit if you terminate the lease without following the established rules.

      An early termination clause could read something like this, for example:

      “If the tenant terminates the lease prior to the one-year lease agreement or does not give 30 days’ notice prior to moving out once the lease has gone month-to-month, the tenant is responsible for rent owed for the remainder of the lease. The landlord will deduct the amount owed from the tenant’s security deposit. If the security deposit does not include sufficient funds to cover the amount owed, the tenant is responsible for paying the additional money owed to the landlord for the remainder of the lease.”

      So answering your question, I would recommend you looking at your lease first. Also, did you landlord allow you to terminate your lease just on words or you have any agreement with him on this on paper?

      By the way, I would recommend you reading our article on the most common mistakes you can make when you rent a house.

  49. I live in California. My landlord sold my house to a person who is going to flip the house. My 1 year lease isn’t up until April 1st. I have not been given no notice to move. I have to get a notice right?

    • Hello Lyssa,

      If your landlord wants you to move out prior to an official sale, he merely has to provide you with proper notice to end tenancy and move out on a specified date.

      Most states require a landlord to give a tenant anywhere from 30-60 notice informing a tenant that tenancy will end and they need to move out. Some cities have even more lenient timelines, for example, landlords in Portland, OR, must give their tenants 90-days notice to vacate.

      Your landlord can also sell the house with the active lease or terminate the agreement activating the termination clause. The clause should be mentioned in the contract, this is the amount of money that you, as a tenant, should get compensated by the landlord in case of early termination.

      There is no way he can terminate your lease after the home sale unless it’s stated in the lease agreement that he can.

      Please, review the agreement itself and, if needed, talk to the lawyer, to cover your back in this delicate situation.

  50. The real estate agent wants to hold open house on Sundays ( I don’t know when yet), but there are a few Sundays when I cannot be home. Do I have to give him a key to show the house when I am gone? I really do not want strangers in my house when I am not there.

    • Hello Stephanie,

      The info on the landlord’s access to the rental property varies from state to state. You can check the amount of notice required in non-emergency situations and prior to showing the property to prospects here by looking up your state on the list.

      You should also take a look at your lease agreement, cause it’s usually stated there that your landlord should give you a 24 or 48 hours notice and the Open Houses should be held during normal business hours. If this info is mentioned there, you are obligated to cooperate due to the fact that you signed this lease. But you can also try to find a common ground with your landlord on this if you are have good relationship with him/her

  51. My landlord sold the building, gave me a 30 days notices on 2/2 to vacate the property by 2/28 when my lease is up. What if any rights do I have. Who can move in such a short period of time.

    • Hello Audery,

      The lease termination notice period depends on the state law. Usually, it’s 30 days notice. You said that he gave you a notice on 2/2 to vacate the property by 2/28, that’s 26 days, so there may be a violation on his side.

      It would be much easier to give you the accurate info if you let me know where you’re located (state).

  52. Ok, I have a quick question and hope someone can answer. My husband and I have been renting a home for about 4 years, we have two small children. Our landlord went into foreclosure and the property was sold on 1/11/2018. The new owner had us sign a new lease for a year, which is fine. That way we are here for atleast a year without worry. Problem is do we have rights when it comes to the amount of investors and realtors, they are bringing into our home every week? Just went on the market a week ago, already have had 9 people through my home.

    • Hello Christina,

      So you have a new house owner and you just signed a new year lease in January, 2018. Why is your new owner bringing realtors to your house, is the house on sale again?

  53. I live in California and have been renting a house for over two years. The owner is selling the house. Property mgmt states we have 60 days to move out. Do we pay rent for those 60 days (2 months) or would we save that money for the new place? If we do have to pay this rent, how do they expect a renter to save for a deposit and 1st months rent for a new place?
    Thank you.

    • Hello Lawrence,

      Yes, you have to pay the rent as long as you live there. After you move out, your landlord is obligated to give back your security deposit (minus damage costs if applicable).

  54. What are my rights as far as showings for the property? I have had requests Monday-Sunday, mornings, afternoons, and evenings all odd hours. My lease ends September of 2019

    • Hi,

      The info on the landlord’s access to the rental property varies from state to state. You can check the amount of notice required in non-emergency situations and prior to showing the property to prospects here by looking up your state on the list.

      But usually all these requests have to be during normal business hours. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘odd hours’, but that’s what should be kept in mind by both you and landlord. Also, check your lease agreement, cause this info is usually included there.

  55. How does this all work when the owner of the house deals with a property management company? We rented through the property management company signing a years lease and the owner of the home slapped a for sale sign up front 5 months later. Where do we stand as tenants?

    • Hello Laura,

      There are a few options that you landlord can go with. He can either sell the house with the active lease or terminate the agreement activating the termination clause. The clause should be mentioned in the contract, this is the amount of money that you, as a tenant, should get compensated by the landlord in case of early termination.

      There is no way he can terminate your lease after the home sale unless it’s stated in the lease agreement that he can.

      Please, review the agreement itself and, if needed, talk to the lawyer, to cover your back in this delicate situation.

  56. What are my rights? Been living here 16 years, the owner says I have the first place if I agree to pay the appraisal estimate which was160,000.00 according to her cause the first appraisal was for 130,000.00 to high for all the fixings the house needs, but she sells the house for 122,000.00 to an investor.

    • Hello Joanna,

      As far as I can understand, the property you’ve been renting for 16 years is now put up for sale and you’d like to purchase it for an adequate price. It does seem strange and unfair that the owner has two different price tags for you and an investor, but unfortunately, the decision is completely up to the owner and there is no law to affect this decision. The best strategy for you to follow is to try to negotiate a better deal or let it go and find yourself another property to purchase.

  57. Hi ,

    What is the situation where the house has to be inspected, what are the tenants rights

    • Hello Kellugs,

      Thanks for your question. As a tenant, you have the right to privacy and quiet enjoyment.

      In nearly all the cases, your landlord has to inform you about the upcoming inspection with an adequate prior notice. You have the right to know why and when the inspection will take place.

      Unless it is an emergency like fire or flood damage, your landlord must send you a written notice at least 24 hours before a planned visit. As a tenant, you have the right to be present during the inspection.

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