If you are forced from your rental home through no fault of your own, you may be able to receive compensation for your moving expenses from your landlord. Some state and local laws are specific about the type of compensation to which you are entitled, while in other cases you may be able to sue your landlord for the expenses you incurred during your premature move.
Understanding the Laws
While some states and cities mandate that landlords provide relocation assistance for some tenants, these laws vary by location. State laws may address the circumstances under which you can receive relocation compensation from your landlord or a community fund, but town ordinances may also provide you with additional rights. If you are unclear on the law in your area, contact your local tenant's union or legal aid society for advice.
Foreclosures and New Owners
If your landlord sells your building or loses it to foreclosure, the new owner of the building may ask you and other tenants to move out before your lease is up. In most cases, state and federal laws protect your right to remain in your home until your lease expires. However, your new landlord may offer to pay you a lump sum as an incentive to move out before your lease is up. If you receive such an offer, evaluate it carefully to make sure it actually covers the cost of your relocation and compensates fairly for the inconvenience of an early move.
While the federal law that addresses the rights of tenants when their buildings go into foreclosure protects you from eviction in most instances, if your new landlord wants to move into your home himself, he only needs to give you 90 days notice before you have to leave. If this happens, you have the option of suing your former landlord for relocation costs, since by allowing the building to go into foreclosure, he did not fulfill his obligations under your lease.
Mobile Home Parks
If you live in a mobile home park and own your own mobile home, your state may have special laws that require your park owner to provide you relocation assistance if he decides to close the park and use the land for other purposes. Your park owners may have to also give you significant advance warning of their plans to close the park so that you have time to plan your relocation. In some states, such as Minnesota, you may be entitled to relocation assistance from a state-managed fund rather than from your park owner.
Repairs, Conversions and Regulations
Landlords may be forced to pay relocation costs to tenants under certain circumstances. For example, if a landlord approves a tenant to live in a rental unit that is not considered to be a legal dwelling, and the landlord is ordered by government officials to evict the tenant, the landlord may have to pay relocation fees. In areas with rent control, if a landlord decides to convert a building to condominiums, she may also have to pay relocation costs for her tenants. Similar policies exist in cases where a building does not meet local building codes and tenants must move so that repairs can be made.
- Your Legal Corner; When Los Angeles Tenants Are Entitled to Relocation Assistance; Melissa C. Marsh; September 2009
- Mass Legal Help; If Your Building is Being Foreclosed, Don’t Fall for “Cash-for-Keys” Schemes; May 2008
- All Parks Alliance for Change: Minnesota Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund
- Nolo: Renters in Foreclosure: What Are Their Rights?
- Oregon State Bar; Rights of a Mobile Home Owner Threatened With Eviction From a Mobile Home Park; Edward Johnson; April 2010
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