Can a Landlord Sell a Rented House?

Renting a house has its perks. If an appliance dies, it’s your landlord’s responsibility, not yours. One of the downsides of renting a house, though, is that your landlord can sell it. If your landlord sells your rental, you may not be able to continue to rent the property once your lease ends. If this is the case, the new landlord is required to give you sufficient notice.

  1. Tenant Notice

    • Rules regarding giving tenants notice to vacate a rental property vary from state to state. The new landlord is required to honor your current lease, and if the landlord doesn't want to renew your lease, you must be given sufficient notice -- typically 90 days. If you don't have a lease in place, the amount of notice required falls under local law. Typically, the longer you've been a tenant, the more notice your new landlord is required to give you before requiring you to move. If you have a lease in place, the only reason a landlord can evict you before the end of your lease is due to cause. For example, not paying your rent can lead to eviction.

    Foreclosure Rights

    • The 2009 Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act provides additional rights and protections if the home you’re renting has gone through foreclosure. In most cases, you must be allowed to finish out your lease, and if you don't have a lease, you must be given at least 90 days notice if the new property owner wants you to move out. If the new owner wants to personally occupy the home you're renting, you can be asked to leave, but with a minimum of 90 days notice. These protections also apply to tenants using housing vouchers, also known as Section 8. If you're offered cash to move out quickly, you can take it if you choose to, but you are in no way obligated to move any sooner than the end of your lease or, if you don't have a lease, with at least 90 days notice.

    Continuing to Rent

    • If your new landlord offers to renew your lease, review the new lease carefully. In most states, if the previous owner didn’t return your security deposit, the new owner can’t ask for an additional deposit. If the previous owner returned your security deposit to you, the new owner can’t ask for a higher security deposit. The new owner or landlord can raise your rent, although the amount of your rent increase may be controlled by the city in which you live.

    Recourse

    • If you’re being evicted because your landlord was foreclosed upon, you may want to consider suing your landlord, even if he gave you proper notice. You can sue for moving and apartment-search costs, application fees and any increases in the cost of your new rent. There is no guarantee you will win the suit, of course, and you should consult a lawyer before filing a lawsuit. If you can’t afford an attorney, contact your local legal aid office for assistance.

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