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Do I have to move out if my landlord sells the property?

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2022 | Landlord-Tenant Law |

It can take quite awhile to find a good rental property. The rental market has been in an upheaval over the past few years, with both landlords and tenants feeling its effects.

As a tenant, locating a decent rental property that you intend to stay in long-term can provide you with a sense of security and stability. You might pay your rent on time, abide by all the rules of your lease, and contribute to your neighborhood in a meaningful way.

Your landlord is allowed to sell the property

But what happens if you are in the middle of your lease and your landlord informs you that they’ve sold the property to a new owner? You may panic, fearing that you now must scramble to find a new place to live.

Additionally, this can result in anxiety that the new landlord might evict you before you find a new place, causing you to become homeless or have an eviction on your record. Having an eviction on your record is not a good thing, as it can hinder your chances of being able to rent or purchase a home in the future and may negatively affect your credit.

The new landlord must abide by your current lease

Luckily, California law prohibits a new landlord from terminating a tenant’s lease after purchasing the property. The law states that the old lease will remain in full force and effect after a landlord transfers or sells the property to a new owner.

Not only is your new landlord legally prohibited from evicting you, but they are also required to abide by the same terms and conditions of your old lease.

For example, if your current lease allows you to have pets, and you have a dog, your new landlord cannot prohibit pets.

This only lasts until your lease expires

The new landlord must adhere to this law until your current lease expires. At that point, the new landlord can ask you to sign a new lease, which can include additional or changed terms.

However, your new landlord can also simply choose to not renew your lease once it expires. A lease is treated like any other contract, and once it expires, they are under no obligation to enter a new contract with you.

Therefore, if your new landlord shows signs of not planning to renew leases after they expire, or you know they plan to convert the building to a nonresidential, you should probably start looking for another place to live.

 Watch out for this type of landlord behavior

Landlords are not always familiar with the law, particularly if they have never managed rental properties before. Your new landlord could very well believe they have a legal right to evict you.

Even if they realize they cannot evict you, they may engage in illegal forms of “self-help” eviction, such as harassing you, or shutting off your utilities, to make things so miserable for you that you move.

If that starts happening, or if they begin eviction proceedings against you for no reason other than they don’t want to wait out the lease, speak with an attorney who is experienced with landlord-tenant matters immediately. You have rights as a tenant that should be protected.