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My Landlord Is Selling the House I Currently Rent—What Are My Rights?

My landlord is planning to sell the house I’m currently renting; do I have any rights as a renter? “You sure do,” says, “Local Records Office“. As a renter, you have many rights but keep in mind that the homeowner has the right to sell the property too. In some states, the landlord isn’t required to tell you the house is being sold, and you as a renter are required to move out the same day your lease is up. As a tenant, you should educate yourself on your rights as a renter.

Are You Required to Move Out as Soon as the Property is Sold?

There have been many cases where the new landlords continue the same lease, but keep in mind that the new owner might increase the rent. While some people decide to stay others have it worst. After the house is sold the new owners will likely want to make major renovations and have the tenants move out to do it. So the question is “are you required out?” Every case is different.

How Soon Do I Have to Move Out?

Depending on the type of lease you’ve previously signed it is usually 30-days after your lease is up, but in states like Arkansas, the landlord is not required to do. Arkansas is so tough on renters that if you’re late 1 day the law requires you to be arrested. Yes, for being 1 day late on your rent. Seattle has it the best, the Seattle landlords are required to give you a heads up of 60-days.

Renters who signed longer leases like 1 to 2 years usually have the legal right to finish the lease, even if the house is sold before your lease is up. By law, the new owner has to respect the legally binding contract.

Is There a “Lease Termination Due to Sale” Clause?

Here is where most property landlords have the upper hand. By signing a contract with a “lease termination due to sale” clause the landlord is legally able to sell the property and you have moved out in 30-days even though your lease might still have another year on it.

Many landlords are aware of this trick and will not lease an apartment unit without it on the contract. The way you might be able to have more time will be if you are able to negotiate something “before” signing your lease.

This is how it works: if the landlord sells the property will you still have time on your lease you may be able to request 60-days to move out instead of the 30-days, another way would be to acquire a “buyout” notice of a certain amount of money or both.

“If the tenants have somewhere to go they usually request a ‘buyout’ and move out,” says, Samantha Lewis from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “but in most cases tenants don’t have enough time to find another location and request the 60-days instead” Lewis says.

Does Your Lease Offer Tenant Relocating Allowance?

Like we talked about before a relocating allowance or buyout is when the landlord gives the tenets money to move out. Even though this is pretty rare it’s the fastest way landlords could get rid of tenants and proceed with the sale.

San Francisco has the Ellis Act where “each” tenant receives $5,555.21 if he or she is evicted from an apartment unit this is known as the tenant relocating allowance, or tenant relocating payment.

“When the house I was renting was sold I wasn’t aware of the Ellis Act, I found out about from a friend who had been in the same situation a few months prior” says, Mark Packer a house renter in San Francisco, CA. “my wife and I were paid $5,555.21 each which was a good amount but it also took awhile for us to get it” Packer says.

Security Deposit

The security deposit is one of the first things that come to mind when the house you’re renting is about to be sold. For the cities that don’t offer a relocating allowance or buyout option, the security deposit is the only thing that will help the renter. If the property doesn’t require any repairs your landlord is required to return your security deposit, but the only downside is that he or she could do it between 14 to 60 business days to give you a check or money order. For some renters, 14 to 60 business days is way too long to wait especially when a security deposit is required for the other location the renter is going to rent.

To avoid future problems make sure to remove all your property from the location, even the things that you don’t need, clean the entire house, and return the key to the landlord. Avoiding your landlord because he is selling the house is not going to help.

Once you have removed your things and cleaned your landlord will usually perform a walk-through to inspect the condition of the house.

“Landlords are known to find any little thing to try to not give you your security deposit back” says, Yesinia Blank a property manager in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “The landlord wans to keep your security deposit and he or she will look at every hole you made when you hung your picture frames on the wall” says, Blank.