Can a Landlord Sell the House Without Notifying a Tenant?

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    • In the U.S., some legal issues fall within the jurisdiction of the federal courts and lawmakers, while others are the jurisdiction of state courts and lawmakers. State courts have jurisdiction over landlord-tenant disputes, while state lawmakers are responsible for enacting landlord-tenant laws. Because of the jurisdictional variances, not all states will treat the sale of a rental property the same; however, there are common approaches.

    Lease Terms

    • Although the state where you live may have a default approach to situations where a landlord sells a rental property, the terms of your lease will always prevail unless the terms are illegal or unconscionable. If the lease requires the landlord to give you notice of her intention to sell the property, for example, then notice is required regardless of the absence of a state law requiring the notice.

    Notice Requirement

    • In most states, the default rule is that a landlord is not required to give a tenant notice that he intends to sell the property. Notice, however, is often required before the landlord can enter the property. This often acts as notice of the intention to sell as most buyers want to inspect the property prior to making an offer on the property.

    What Happens to the Lease?

    • Typically, a tenant is not directly affected by the sale of the property. Most states require the new landlord to uphold the terms of the existing lease. In other words, you cannot be evicted, the rent cannot be raised and you must get your security deposit back as long as you comply with your obligations under the lease. Sometimes, however, a lease agreement will explicitly state that the lease terminates upon the sale of the property by the lessor, in which case the lease will end when the new owner takes possession.

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