Business & Finance Renting & Real Estate

Can a Landlord Legally Break a Lease by the Sale of His Property?

    Sale

    • In general, a landlord cannot legally break a lease by the sale of his property. Most land sales contracts include a clause that requires the purchaser to become responsible for fulfilling the landlord's existing legal obligations. This means that a tenant may not be evicted and may not be charged increased rent during the existing lease term. In addition, the new landlord is required to maintain and repair the rental unit according to his statutory duties for the length of the time remaining on the original lease. Likewise, the tenant is liable to the new landlord for paying rent timely and for adhering to the lease agreement.

    Exception

    • If your landlord is selling his property, and you are concerned that he is illegally attempting to break the lease agreement by doing so, you must read your lease to ensure that it is silent regarding the sale of the property. Some landlords have lease agreements that have language stating that the lease automatically ends at the time the property is sold. If your lease agreement has such language, a court will enforce this provision, and the landlord can legally end the lease by selling the property.

    Notice

    • When a landlord is selling his property, most states require him to provide notice of the sale to a tenant. In addition to informing you that a sale is in process, the landlord must provide to you the name, mailing address and telephone number of the new landlord so that you can forward rental payments and request maintenance or repairs to the property.

    Distinction

    • After the property sale, the new landlord is only required to fulfill the obligation of the previous landlord until the end of the lease. The new landlord may then require that a new lease -- with different terms -- be signed. If there is no existing lease term, the new landlord can continue the rental relationship on a month-to-month basis in most states. He then must provide proper notice to terminate the lease. For example, in California, a new landlord may terminate a month-to-month rental relationship with 60 days' notice.

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