Tenants Rights When Landlord Sells Property

By PropertyClub Team
Aug 12th 2022
If your landlord is selling the property, it's important to know what rights you have as a tenant. Here is a look at the important things you should know if your landlord decides to sell the building you’re renting. 

hash-markTenant Rights When Landlord Sells Property

  • Right to Advanced Notice Before Showing
  • Right to Advanced Notice to Vacate the Property
  • Right to Original Lease Terms
  • Right to “Keys for Cash”
  • Right to Occupy the Unit After Sale
  • Right to Break the Lease if Terms are Violated

1. Right to Advanced Notice Before Showing

The right to advanced notice before a showing is a right that guarantees that you need to be notified at least 1-2 days in advance prior to the landlord accessing the property to show it to prospective buyers. This right also applies to other forms of access the landlord may need, including conducting an inspection, appraisal, or getting estimates for necessary repairs and upgrades. The exact amount of notice the landlord needs to give you by state, so it’s important to be aware of local laws.

You and the landlord must mutually agree on the time that they can access the unit. Since it is their property, you can’t outright refuse entry as long as they give you notice and have a legitimate reason. But they also can’t just show up and demand access. So, the landlord must give you fair notice and come at a reasonable time if they need to gain entry to your living space for any reason.

2. Right to Advanced Notice to Vacate the Property

The right to advanced notice to vacate the property is a right that requires landlords to give you sufficient notice that you will need to leave the home. This will allow you ample time to make arrangements and find a new place to live. Even if your lease is set to expire soon, your landlord will still have to let you know if they don't want to renew the lease or if a change in ownership means that you cannot renew it for an additional year. The exact amount of time required will vary from state to state, but typically it’s either 30 or 60-days notice.  

3. Right to Original Lease Terms

The right to original lease terms is a right that ensures your original lease is enforceable, even if your landlord decides to sell the house. So, if you still have six months left on the agreement, you have the right to remain in the property until it expires, and the new owner must respect the existing lease. This also includes the right to any utilities or amenities included in the contract. 

For example, if the lease agreement included heat and electricity or the use of a rooftop deck, you are still entitled to these add-ons until it expires. So, the new landlord must either continue to honor the terms or approach you about making an arrangement to end the lease early. 

4. Right to “Cash for Keys”

The right to cash for keys gives you the right to negotiate a cash for keys payment if you and your landlord agree to terminate the lease early. In this scenario, the landlord agrees to pay you a fee to turn over the keys so they can sell the property. 

This typically occurs when the new buyer plans to demolish the building or do a gut renovation and needs the tenants to leave. For this to work, both parties must agree to terminate the lease early and arrive at a fair rate of compensation. If either party violates the lease without the consent of the other, they may still face legal action.

5. Right to Occupy the Unit After Sale

Even if the landlord offers you a payout to vacate, you have the right to refuse. If you do, you have the right to continue to occupy the unit until the end of the lease term, even if the new owner has other plans for the building. The new owner must honor any conditions in the original contract until it expires, and they are not allowed to put any pressure on you to move out sooner.

6. Right to Break the Lease if Terms are Violated

If at any time the lease terms are violated during or after the sales process, you have a right to break the lease without repercussion. You should make sure to document any clear examples of neglect or violation of your rights in case you need to prove it in court. 

For instance, if the new owner stops maintaining the building to put pressure on you to leave, you have a right to walk away. You can even take them to small claims court if their actions are egregious. No matter who the owner is, you have a right to whatever was laid out in the original contract – which automatically includes a habitable environment. If these conditions or any others are broken, you have a right to take action.

hash-markTenants Rights When Landlord Sells Property: Bottom Line

A landlord can decide to sell their property whenever they want, but they'll need to respect your tenant's rights if they choose to do so. So, if your landlord suddenly decides to sell the house or apartment complex to someone else while you’re still living in it, they have a right to do so. While you can’t stop them from selling the property, it is important to know what rights you have and what rules they have to follow.