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Tenant rights when landlord sells house

Just because your home or building has been sold doesn't mean you have no rights. Many states guarantee your right to have your current lease or rental agreement honoured by your new landlord.

Background

Many tenants are concerned that they will be required to move if their home or building is sold to a new owner. This is particularly true if a bank or mortgage lender reclaims the property, as sometimes lenders think that they will have an easier time selling the building or residence if it is empty.

Federal Laws

The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 protects tenants against automatic eviction by new owners after foreclosure. Tenants with leases can remain in their dwelling until the end of their lease, and tenants with month-to-month tenancies can only be required to leave if given 90 days notice.

State Laws

Laws differ from state to state, so it is important that you understand your state's laws as they pertain to the transfer of ownership of rental property.

Leases and Rental Agreements

In most states, your lease or rental agreement remains valid, even if property ownership changes. The new owner is responsible for honouring the terms of your lease or rental agreement. Incidentally, some states require new landlords to notify all tenants by mail of the change in ownership.

Security Deposit

In some states, your new landlord is responsible for returning your security deposit to you, even if the new landlord never received the security deposit from the previous landlord.

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About the Author

Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.