The Risks Of Selling A Rental Property With A Tenant

selling a rental propertyAs landlords and property managers, we all love rent-paying, non-destructive tenants.  We hate the rest, but that’s another story.  No matter how much tenant love you may have, if you want to sell your house with a tenant for the highest and best price, even the best tenant can be a detriment.  Why?  It takes a lot of work and devotion to get the house show-ready and keep it that way during the entire listing period.  Most homeowners lack the motivation to keep their own house show-ready, and they have the motivation of monetary gains (hopefully) to entice them.  Tenants have nothing to gain for their inconvenience so their participation may be less than enthusiastic.  By having a tenant, you limit your market to mainly investors because you are not only selling the house, you are selling the tenant with it.  Anyone buying your rental property automatically becomes a landlord, like it or not, until the tenant’s lease expires.  So what are your options for selling a rental property with a tenant?

Ways To Sell Your Rental Property

1. Wait until your tenant’s lease expires and sell the property

This is the best option if you can afford it.  It costs more because you’re not receiving rent, but gives you the greatest chance to quicker sell at a higher sales price.  You can sell the property to investors and homeowners alike so you’re not limiting yourself.  Without the tenant, you also have the luxury of fixing up or refreshing the property to make it look its best and when unoccupied, it can always be kept show-ready and you won’t run the chance of having a tell-all tenant wanting to tell prospective buyers everything they don’t like about the house.

2. Sell Your House And Your Tenant

This option is the cheapest, but has the most difficulty.  You will need the cooperation of your tenant to sell your house with the tenant still living in it.  You can’t sell it to someone who wants to buy a house to immediately move into because they must uphold the tenant’s lease.  You have to sell it to someone who either doesn’t mind waiting for the lease to expire, or to sell it to an investor who’s looking for an income property.  If you sell it to an investor, then DO NOT UPGRADE anything.  You can get a higher price freshening up things like paint, carpet, roofing shingles, etc., but do not upgrade anything.  Don’t upgrade appliances, just make sure they look clean and are working properly.  Don’t upgrade the kitchen, bathroom or anything expensive.  Upgrades make your house cost more and investors do not want to pay that extra cost when looking for a rental property.  For example, when I’m looking for a rental property, I know the highest price I’m willing to pay before I ever set foot on the property.  When looking for a house, the first thing I do is scout around the neighborhood to determine how many rental properties are nearby then I find out how much can I expect to collect in rent for that area.  Once I know the rental amount, I take that figure and plug it into a spreadsheet to see what my income and costs will be and then calculate the maximum I should pay for a house to produce my desired return on investment.  A simple way you can determine what investors will pay for a rent house in your area, use a multiplier of 80 to 110 times monthly rent.  I usually shoot for a multiplier between 90 and 100 for houses I don’t have to finance, and use a multiplier of 80 or less for houses I have to finance.  This formula creates a high / low range where you can expect most rental investor offers to fall into.   If I can rent a property to a tenant for $1000/month I will probably want to pay somewhere between $80,000 – $110,000 for it.  Unfortunately, this is probably a higher offer than you can expect from most investors.  I tend to look for houses that rent easier, would attract a better renter and are located in areas where rental properties are not common and where there’s still appreciation and to get that, I’m willing to pay a little more.  Yes, there are areas in Dallas, Texas where properties still appreciate.  Most investors will shoot for a lower price.  But either way, all investors base their offers on the income the property produces so you can see how upgrading to Viking appliances and granite countertops would be a poor decision on your part if you were going to sell it to an investor.

3. Sell the property to the tenant

This option is a shot in the dark because most renters rent because they either can’t afford to buy or they simply don’t want to.  If you’re not in a hurry to cash in on the sale of your home, you may consider owner-financing but odds are if your tenant can’t find a bank willing to loan them money, there’s probably a good reason for it.  Be prepared to take back the house when they fail to keep up with the payments.  Selling the property to my tenant with owner-financing is not a strategy I’d do personally, especially as a second mortgage given today’s default rate.

Getting Your Rental Property Show-Ready

First of all, keeping the house show ready and having strangers entering the house at various hours each day is a lot of trouble to ask of your tenant.  The yard has to be kept pristine and the house should always be neat and clutter free.  Lots of homeowners fail to live up to show-ready standards with their own home so imagine how hard it will be to motivate your tenant when he knows that his tenant days may be coming to an end when the house sells, not to mention the tremendous invasion of privacy your tenant can expect for the months that follow.  Be sure to communicate everything with your tenant and introduce them to your real estate agent so everyone knows what to expect.  If the tenant is naturally sloppy, you can expect the house to not show well and you may want to just wait until the lease expires.

Make Your Tenant Your Partner

If your tenant has something to gain from the sale, he may be more inclined to promote the sale rather than detract from it.  Either way, it’s a lot to ask of a tenant and the tenant should receive some form of compensation for helping to sell your house.  Maybe offer a discount of rent while the house is on the market and if they do a really good job, you may consider giving them some money to hire a mover.  Make sure they pick and hire the mover so you’re not liable for anything.  If they’re on board with the sale, then you may also be able to do some cosmetic work on the inside of the house with their participation and agreement to maintain it.  Either way, I’d do external repairs to enhance curb appeal because renters don’t usually tear up external repairs.

Are You Really Losing Money Leaving The House Unrented During The Sale?

The answer is probably not.  Having a renter makes the house primarily appeal to landlords and they’ll only look at it if it’s priced according to a ROI based on rents.  Anyone wanting to live in the house will not be interested in dealing with a renter, even if it’s on a month-to-month lease.  By doing this, you basically reduce the pool of potential buyers significantly.  A reduction in potential buyers also reduces the potential for a higher sales price.  The amount of rent you’ll receive while the house is on the market could be much less than the overall drop in the sales price.  At the end of the day, you’ll either breakeven in rent-vs-price drop or lose money depending on the market, condition of the house and cooperation of the tenant.

Will Having A Tenant Make It More Valuable To An Investor?

It wouldn’t make your property more valuable for me unless you could demonstrate that they were a great tenant and your reasons for selling were external to the property at hand.  When I look at a home with a tenant, I usually assume that the tenant is probably the reason the landlord is wanting to sell.  I don’t know how well the landlord screened their tenant and I don’t know how faithful that tenant is at paying rent.  Also, I don’t know if there is any baggage I may be inheriting depending on the seller’s property management style versus mine.  Was the owner a softie and his tenant habitually walked all over him and expects to do the same with me?  He’s in for a shock, but I’m also in for a few problems as we set boundaries.  It’s in your best interest to show your tenant’s lease, rental application and a copy of every rent check to the prospective landlord. The more paperwork you can show the better your chances of getting a better price.  It’s important to show the landlord buyer that you are a capable landlord who picked a good tenant and that you’re not over your head wanting to get bailed out of a horrible situation that they will be inheriting.  Being bailed out comes at a price and that price is usually a lowball offer.

Where To Go For Advice

The best source for landlords looking for advice is  Their landlord Q&A message board is a great source of information.  I’ve been a faithful contributor and viewer of that board for a few years and it’s filled with advice from other landlords willing to share their successes and failures with other landlords.

If you are buying or selling a house and are looking to hire a successful real estate agent to help you through the process, take a look at AgentHarvest’s list of top-ranking local Realtors in your area. We found these agents by examining their sales track records, awards, rankings, client testimonials and by conducting personal interviews.

This entry was posted in Selling Your House and tagged , by Bill Petrey, Realtor. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bill Petrey, Realtor

Bill Petrey, the CEO and Founder of AgentHarvest, has been written about in the Los Angeles Times, Inman News, AOL Real Estate, and Inman Next, among others. He founded AgentHarvest for the sole purpose of making the process of finding a good Realtor better and easier. Bill Petrey is an author and editor of both The AgentHarvest Blog, Real Examples of Really Rotten Realty Blog, and the creator of Really Rotten Realty.

110 thoughts on “The Risks Of Selling A Rental Property With A Tenant

  1. The best thing to do about this matter is that you need to be wiser than your tenant. For me it’s about being wise enough in choosing the right tenants to live in your house. In the end it’s your loss if the tenants destroys your property.

    • Lex:
      Couldn’t agree more. Don’t be in such a hurry to rent out your place. Run the credit checks, criminal background checks and if possible, do a drive-by of their current resident to see how clean it is.

      You have to be clever to spot the liars and potentially bad tenants. Rather than asking if they’re a non-smoker, no one admits to being one nowadays, pull a cigarette out of your pocket and ask to borrow a lighter. If they reach for their pocket, you know they’re used to carrying a lighter, and that means smoker. Also, when they claim to have no pets, visit their house and look for pets or pet damage. Peek over the fence and look for a dog bowl or signs of rutting in the grass along the fence. I’m not saying never trust a tenant, I’m just saying to do what Ronald Reagan would do, “trust but verify.”

      • Woah! That’s verging on criminal stalking surely! Also never understood this credit checking business, mine is the worst you can possibly get however I’ve rented for 5 years, have the money and never missed a rent payment. Such a snobbish attitude towards tenants is unbelievable! Respect your tenant and they will respect you, don’t judge them because they don’t clean to ocd standard or they might smoke! I smoke but I do it outside, seems like your narrowing your pool of potential nice and reliable tenants (like myself) by snooping around their current property (which by the way I’ve lived in places that were disgusting outside but kept lovely inside) and banning anyone that doesn’t live up to perfect human standards! Just be a nice landlord and you’ll get respect back, just because you own a house doesn’t mean you’re superior!

        • Ami:
          Your reference to landlord elitism and superiority above the tenant masses is completely off base. Landlords don’t screen just to laud over the lesser tenant masses making tenants dance and crawl at whatever whims the landlord decides. Landlords screen tenants to protect themselves from non-payers, vandals, squatters, horders, the lawless, and anyone that would cause costly repairs, create problems, and/or not pay the rent. When a landlord screens a tenant, they are trying to decide who they trust to hand over the keys to one of their most expensive assets. It’s a matter of trust. As Reagan once said regarding Gorbachev, “Trust but verify.” That’s what this is all about. We just want to verify the person we’re about to place all our trust in.

          I assume you’re a good tenant with a long history of being a good tenant. Since that’s how you behave, you assume everyone’s like that. You couldn’t be more wrong. Just as there are good landlords and bad ones, there are good tenants and bad tenants. Some of the worst tenants know how to squat in a house for months or years without paying rent and know how to manipulate the legal system to further their abusive behavior without recourse. Other bad tenant stories include vandalism, crime, drugs, hording, etc. These are problem tenants no landlord wants. A string of these types of tenants will destroy any landlording business. To be fair, you wouldn’t want this type living in your house either.

          Landlords don’t pay as much attention to the credit score as they do credit history. While a low credit score will probably not prevent you from renting, a credit history of non-payments, bankruptcies, foreclosures, or utility cut-offs will. When I read a credit history report, I want to know why they didn’t pay. Is it a one time problem with medical bills due to an accident, a temporary setback from a job loss, or is it just a total disregard to paying their bills? It says a lot about a person.

          The problem with smoking is that smoke odors linger and it takes a lot of money to effectively remove those odors once the tenant has left. The carpet and padding may need to be replaced, the walls may need to be repainted, and vents may need to be cleaned. After all that effort and expense, it may still be noticeable that the previous tenant was a smoker. This makes the home harder to rent to the next non-smoking tenant. Like smoke odors, removing pet odors can be costly too for the same reasons and remedies.

          “Respect your tenant and they will respect you” doesn’t always apply. The wrong type of tenant will try to take advantage of you. As you suggested, we really are trying to narrow our pool of potential tenants. After all, we only need one per house. Not narrowing the pool could lead to a path of destruction for the landlord’s business. Landlords are looking for any clue that can separate the good tenants from the bad ones.

          • Actually there are a few. I was one of them when I smoked. I used smoking outside as a way of breaking the habit by not associating it with any activity thereby not craving it when conducting that activity. Of course I couldn’t leave my apartment without a cigarette in my mouth, thereby being trapped. Even though I was one who smoked outside, I too am skeptical of the rest of them.

          • Actually, you might want to rent from me. The same effort I put into screening I also put into maintaining the quality of my rentals. Repairs are made promptly and correctly. I answer my phone when a tenant calls and will handle any emergency as quickly as possible. And, because I don’t have costly tenant caused repairs, I can spend that money on improvements like energy efficient upgrades, sprinkler systems and lawn care. All of which make the rental more attractive and attracts more renters allowing me to be more selective.

        • “just be a nice landlord and you’ll get respect back.” FALSE. Clearly you have never rented to a bad tennant. (This one guy had money, bad credit, a referral, and an explanation. Worst tennant ever.)

          Credit checking? People with bad credit are generally people who don’t follow agreements when inconvenient. True, there are circumstances that people get into that damage their credit but by and large their credit is bad for a reason. Landlords want rule-followers.

          Talk to any loan officer, the worst application to get is one with a note. (there’s always a story)

      • What if the landlord sold the property and they gave the new owners half of your security deposit do you(tenant) have to go after your old landlord for your security deposit?

        • Donna:
          No, once the house sells, the new owner becomes the landlord that holds the lease agreement. The new landlord is responsible for every part of your current lease agreement. The same reason you don’t owe the old landlord rent, they don’t owe you for the deposit.

    • Question:
      I am selling an occupied rental on an owner contract to a third party. When the new owner takes possession, will the month to month rental contract I gave to my tenant transfer to the new “owner/landlord”?

      Or, will they have to sign a new landlord/tenant agreement?

      PS thanks for a great blog!

      • Sue:
        Thanks for the praise. Yes, the current contract will still be in effect and the new owner will have to abide by the terms in that contract. When you sell the rental, the new owner steps in where you left off in the landlord / tenant relationship. When you sell the house, you will also be handing over the tenant’s deposit, or the title company will be crediting them for the deposit, like they would for property taxes owed up to the point of sale.

        If the contract is month-to-month, it would be in their best interest to let the current contract expire without renewal and sign a new contract with the tenant. But that’s completely up to them.

          • The contract is still in effect until its expiration since the tenant is still paying rent to the landlord. However, if the new owner doesn’t employ the management company, I would imagine that the new landlord or someone else would have to provide the services the property management company previously provided.

            Given the new situation, and that the contract is month-to-month, it would be much cleaner to have them sign a new contract that reflects the new situation. Since it’s month-to-month, you could just inform them that you’re not renewing the old contract and let it expire and have them sign a new one.

          • I guess what I want to know is if we inherit the contract the seller signed with the property manager.

          • Katie:
            Yes, you will inherit the lease the tenant and seller signed. However, you said it’s a month-to-month lease. So read the lease and give proper notice as specified in the lease that you will not be renewing the lease. If you want to keep them but with a new lease, give them a copy of your lease to sign, or let them know you won’t be renewing the lease if you want them to leave. Depending on how much you know about these tenants from the previous landlord, you may want them to fill out an application for your records and re-screen them before giving them the new lease.

        • Ok so my landlord just sold her property with us still living in it she signs the papers this Friday we gave her part of the rent. Cause we were a little short and she said she needs the rest of the rent by Friday to give to the title company. You said she is suppose to give the deposit to the title company not our rent. Why would she be so adamant for us to get the money before Friday to give to the title company. If she is suppose to be giving them our deposit that she said she has put a way in the bank. But she is waiting for us to give her the rest of the rent which we have so she can give it to the title company? Why is she waiting for our rent? Oh and we are smokers and we smoke outside!!!!!

          • Tina:
            She needs the rent because it’s a new month and it’s due and it’s owed. Although I mentioned the deposit, I never said the rent wasn’t pro-rated too. The rent is paid for that month and when the property transfers, the new landlord will receive either a pro-rated amount for the days the new owner owns the property or the whole amount, depending on what’s specified in sales contract or when the closing date falls. Either way, money needs to be handed into the title company to pass to the new owner. There are other amounts being pro-rated too like property taxes owed for the months the previous owner owned the property, etc. You need to pay this before closing if you want to start on the right foot with your new landlord. They may not be as easy to manipulate as your current landlord. Some landlords don’t accept partial payments and start eviction procedures the minute rent is late. Since you don’t know how lenient the new landlord is, I wouldn’t push it. Pay your rent by Friday.

  2. It works both ways, there are just as many bad landlords as bad tenants. Every single landlord we have had in the past 14 years we have ultimately had to go to the Ontario Housing Tribunal about and every single landlord we have taken there has lost against us. We have won every single time, now that should tell you something. Our last landlord refused to help or pay for (or even compensate us) for a backed up sewage pipe that happened 40 feet up the property and backed up in our basement. Roto-Rooter was called in and they confirmed it was most probably a collapsed pipe as this was a common neighbourhood problem. We had to clean everything up ourselves and our house smelled of sewage for almost a month and not once were we even offered a rent abatement. We’ve had other landlords refuse to turn on the heat even though the temperature in the unit dropped well below the legal limit. We had yet another landlord go ahead and put the gas bill in our name even though the rental agreement stated we were to only pay for electricity while he would be responsible for gas. I could go on and on about the actions of our past landlords who, in my opinion, are just as bad if not WORSE than many problem tenants.

    • Lisa:
      Of course, not every tenant or landlord is desirable. However, this article doesn’t touch on that. This article is about selling a house with a tenant. The desire to sell a house isn’t always due to an annoying tenant. Sometimes landlords just want to retire, upgrade, downgrade, or they just need the money.

      • True.Many people do not want to sell their house but can’t refinance due to the tight restrictions even though they have been paying a huge interest on time for years, it is very stressful. Circumstances change like health or business or just taking care of the property or a needy tenant or divorce or death in the family. I guess the best thing to do is NOT to have a lease, and rent month to month in an up market like we have now so we can relax about things that life may bring us.

        • Laura:
          Not necessarily. Having a 1 yr or longer lease locks in your rental payment. If you go month-to-month, the landlord can raise the rent for the next month. The best way to not worry especially in a market that is increasing in price is to lock in your price with a long-term lease. If life happens and you need to find a cheaper place, the landlord will work with you, especially if they know the rental rate is priced below market.

      • What if….
        your landlord came to you urgently asking to make changes to the lease (with still 6 months left) including utilities in their name or rent out a room to her (we had just filled with tenants for the duration of our lease, 6 months) or she could lose the house. Then a realtor is calling telling us the house going to go on the market. We find out from public records the house under a HUD reverse mortgage loan which requires the owner to occupy the property, and that the landlord is a IRS certified tax preparer and displays a business online of such from the property. The situation of living here with having showings and feeling as though your life is on display has been less then enjoyable. Any thoughts on how to get out of this situation without being effected by the landlords decisions?

        • I assume from your post that you are the tenant and you are subletting all or part of the house to tenants paying you rent? From what I read of your post, I’m reading a lot of panic from the owner. They have to occupy this house or risk losing it and they have to do it fast. Why do you want to get out of it? Do you live in the house or do you sublet it entirely? First think I would do is to have the owner buy your tenants out of their lease. Then I’d let the owner buy you out of your lease. Who knows if this situation is over or not once the landlord moves in. They may get caught for the time they weren’t occupying the house and could be fined or worse depending on laws. Either way, it could trigger them losing the house. Both you and your tenants should be able to make this a profitable situation for both. The best way to get out of this situation is to get out of the lease and you have a landlord that’s more than willing, desperate even, to help you. First you need to make sure your tenant’s lease is resolved to the tenant’s satisfaction since your name is on that lease as the landlord. Then you can remove yourself from the problem. I suspect your landlord is in more trouble than you may know.

  3. “In the end it’s your loss if your tenants destroy the place.” I just sold my condo in San Diego, California. For 3 years I thought I had great tenants. She’s a reporter for the SD Union Tribune and Del Mar Patch. They were always very nice on the phone and in emails. But CA law doesn’t allow landlords to enter the premises unless it is to make repairs – no periodic inspections are allowed. When I met tenants to advise I was selling, I was shocked at the damage and filth. I accepted a very low offer from an investor taking poor condition into consideration but when he saw the condo he backed out due to damage and filth. I then accepted a low offer from an individual buyer and had to give a credit to compensate for damage and filth. Can I cover any of the diminution in value from my former tenants? It goes far beyond normal wear and tear. Wood floors have to be replaced and, after tenants gave notice to move out, they destroyed kitchen cabinets by trying to strip and refinish them. All of that was part of the reduction in price and credits I had to give to proceed with the sale. The $1,000 security deposit doesn’t come close to covering the loss. Contractor estimated $20,000 to fix kitchen and floors.

    • Sonja:
      I’m so sorry for your situation. Unfortunately it’s pretty common. If you can’t enter a property except to make repairs, you could have a quarterly maintenance routine of replacing the air-conditioning filters. This should qualify as repairs and give you access four times a year. You can also test smoke detectors during that time too.

      There’s definitely a price point for a rental property. You don’t want expensive fixtures, finishes, or appliances for them to tear up. I definitely don’t want to buy a rental property that has anything nice in it. Most renters don’t mind the cheaper improvements, and they’re less painful to replace if destroyed. Linoleum or tile instead of hardwoods, laminated countertops instead of anything stone, and if you buy carpet, use the cheapest carpet and padding you can find. If you want to go a little nicer, spend the money to upgrade to thicker padding, but keep the cheap carpet. Don’t add ceiling fans or any additional fixtures that the tenant could tear up or steal.

      • As a renter, I disagree. High-end finishes are much desired by renters here. Rents are insanely high no matter what the finishes but even moreso for “nicer” apartments. Of course, many of the renters in this market have six-figure incomes, so that probably makes a difference. Basically, we’re a town full of people who want to buy home but can’t because there aren’t enough affordable single family homes available. So, everyone here wants a rental that is nice enough that we can at least imagine or even pretend we own the place.

        I hope someday the urban growth boundaries are extended and that developers start building low-end houses here again. I have to say that I would love to stick it to the horrible investors who are driving up housing costs. I will relish the day the value of rentals plummets once people can afford to start buying their own homes again.

        • It does make a difference, but you still don’t want to over improve too much. Even in high-rent rentals there’s still the risk of your rental getting trashed. However the risk goes down proportional to the amount of pre-screening and background checks. Also the more income producing a tenant is, the more responsible they are. Not always, but often. Mainly because they have more to lose when they act badly.

  4. What right does a long term month to month tenant have ?
    The landlord did not serve a written eviction notice and landlords son is letting the tenants know the property is already In escrow and they need to move. Rent has currently been paid till the end of the month.
    Tenants do not have the funds to move. Property is in California

    Any advice would help

    thanks !

    • You should take your contract to a lawyer and have that lawyer determine if the landlord followed the rules of the contract. I can’t legally advise you on specifics because I’m not a lawyer. However, I can give you some general information about the lease agreements I use.

      If you were in one of my rental houses, in a lease agreement with me, the landlord, and I sold the house while the agreement was still in effect, the new owner would inherit the contract and be obligated to follow it, just as you would be obligated to pay the new owner rent instead of me, the old owner, for the life of the contract. In your case, if it’s a month-to-month written the way mine are, then the life of the contract is only 1 month with an option to renew for another month if BOTH parties agree.

      Since you can’t force someone to be in a contract unless they want to be, the landlord has just as much right to not renew it once it expires as you do. It doesn’t sound like the landlord is evicting you, but is just simply not renewing the lease agreement for an additional term and letting it naturally expire.

      One thing you may want to do is contact the buyer. If the buyer is going to rent the house, they may agree to rent it to you.

      I wish you the best of luck, but keep in mind, if your landlord is letting the agreement expire, it probably has more to do with the sell-ability of the house than it is a reflection upon you. While it is an inconvenience, it shouldn’t look as a black mark on your record because the contract expired as written.

  5. My cousin is renting a family room at my brother’s rental property at the amount of $500.00 since 2006. No increase was made up to this date. For the last two months he is is not paying his rent and not paying utilities since November. He was given notice to vacate for non payment . According to him , he will not vacate until my brother give him $5,000.00 and look for he’s new place , and was even saying thats the law says for tenant like him. My brother decided to sell the property. Is this the best way to get rid of him? And is he right saying that my brother will need to give him $5,000.00 and even has to look for he’s new place? What advice can you give us since my cousin is not cooperating with him?

    i forgot to tell you that my brother and my cousin has no written contract only verbal contract.

    • Maryl:
      My advice to you is stay out of it. No matter what you do or what you say, one family member will be mad at you. If you stay out of it, Thanksgiving dinner may be more enjoyable.

      So your cousin is trying to convince your brother that the law in your state requires the landlord pay the tenant $5000 AND find a new place for the tenant to live in if the landlord wants the tenant to leave? Is he having any luck getting your brother to believe that? To get rid of your cousin, your brother needs to contact a lawyer and get his advice. I doubt your cousin will leave willingly. If your brother wants to sell that property, he’ll have to do it without your cousin. I’m sure your cousin will do his best to scare off buyers and prolong your sale.

  6. My inlaws have rented a home for over 16 yrs and the havent had a lease in years. The owner wants to sell, he has even verbally agreed to give them the home if the kept up with the payments on the mortgage he has left, they agreed. He now has a 3rd person involved who doesnt want my inlaws to walk way with it and is back to showing the home, stressing my them out. Their in CA do they have any rights since they lived there so long. Thank you in advance.

    • Silvia:
      This is definitely a question you need to ask an attorney familiar with California law. I would think you’d need more than a verbal agreement to transfer ownership of a home and I can’t see how renting a home for years entitles the tenant to ownership rights.

  7. We are on the other side of the equation: My husband and I are renters, and we want to buy our house. How do we convince the owners to sell? First off, we don’t know if we qualify for financing, but I think we might. It’s been difficult to get into talk to the bank because of our work schedules. We are not even remotely interested in FHA loans, but I think we may be able to qualify for 5% down conventional. I’m not sure how much of a detriment our student loans will be, though. We currently have about $26K in savings, and we are able to save at a rate of about $1000/month in addition to meeting all our financial obligations (student loans, rent, etc.). I would expect this house to sell for around $260K, and the Wells Fargo mortgage calculator estimates closing costs on both a 5/1 ARM and 30-year conventional loan to be around $5000. Although we would prefer to have at least $10,000 in savings after closing, we think that now is such a good time to buy that we would even feel okay spending $18K of the $26K to get this house. We have excellent credit (FICO around 800); however, my husband has $65K in student loans from grad school, and we’ve only been at our jobs for a little over one year. Fortunately, we have no debt other than student loan debt. Part of our hesitation with meeting with a mortgage loan officer is that we are very protective of our credit scores, and I’m worried about what a hard inquiry will do to our credit. If there’s absolutely no chance of us qualifying for a conventional home loan, I don’t want us to risk ruining our credit in the pre-approval process. We are not interested in moving right now because we would have to pay a hefty penalty to break our lease. Moving is also expensive, and it can be such an enormous headache. Frankly, we’re so busy with our jobs lately that we simply do not have time to move. The only benefit of getting pre-approved right now would be if we were to buy THIS specific house.

    I don’t know if the owners would be willing to sell. Home prices are increasing dramatically in this area due to heavy investor activity, and I’m sure they will be able to sell for a higher price next year; however we would like to buy before the interest rates skyrocket. It may be difficult for us to compete with the investors who are buying all the low-cost properties (and by low-cost, I’m talking $250K-$350K) in the area and turning them into overpriced rentals when it comes time to buy a home. We have a very good relationship with the owners of our house. They originally bought the house for their aging mother so that she could live closer to them. She subsequently passed away. I know the house still has quite a bit of sentimental value attached to it, and I’m hoping that the owners may want to sell to a family rather than to an investor. But, I don’t know that for sure. Money talks, after all…

    What would be the best way to let the owners know we are interested in buying the house? Would it be a bad idea to even try to broach the topic before we’ve secured financing? We want to offer a fair price, but I’m afraid that they could ask for much more than the house is worth if we seem too interested… Also, if we buy the house we’re renting, would we automatically get 100% of our security deposit refunded? (That would help out with the closing costs a bunch!) How do we convince the owners to sell when they know we are already locked into a lease and that we have to keep paying them rent for another year? A mortgage with PMI, taxes and insurance would probably cost us about $300 more per month than what we are paying in rent, BUT we would end up saving money because, right now, we are not only paying rent, but we are also putting a good chunk of change into saving for a downpayment each month. Buying the house could actually free up about $700/month for us to put into saving for something else or to increase our home or student loan payments. Although this house is too small for us to stay here forever, it is a nice starter home. We would like to start a family soon, and, while this house would be fine for babies, I think we will feel cramped with more than one kid or with older children, so that is another reason for us to buy sooner rather than later. I figure that, if we bought this house at slightly above fair-market value, in about three or four years, we will have built up enough equity to move to a very nice “forever” home. By that time, our student loan debt should also be significantly reduced. It’s very hard to find homes in this town in the expected price range of this house. We’d like to take advantage of whatever opportunity we can to buy this house while interest rates are still relatively low.

    • Don’t approach your landlord until you know you can get a loan and include all that info with your offer. Regarding your landlord asking for a high price? That happens often when you want to buy something someone isn’t considering to sell. It may take a higher price to entice your landlord to sell. To be persuasive, you’ll need a compelling argument. And that means an enticing price. Before talking price, determine the max you’re willing to pay and stick with it. Don’t let desire and emotion get you in trouble.

      • Also don’t put yourself in a financial strain either. If you can’t get a lone then start paying off debt. You have time since your landlord isn’t thinking of selling right now.

  8. My daughter and son-in-law are leasing to own a house they don’t have a contract been there a year. My son-in-law did all the repairs on the house put front and back railings on porch too, put a deck, shed, swimming pool, new toilet, new bathroom sink, new range, new dishwasher, and put carpet in living room. The owner didn’t pay him for the repairs or appliance but, she just sold the house and the realtor told my daughter she has to leave everything they put into the house all appliance, toilet, sink, carpet. The realtor wants to put into a contract they get pay $2,500 for everything if they move out this is not any half of what they pay for everything. What should they do?

    • Rhonda:
      First of all, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s situation. For the record – never …. NEVER …. N-E-V-E-R buy or lease a home without a written contract or spend a dime remodeling a property you don’t own. Normally I’d say their situation depends on what the written agreement states, but you mentioned there is no written contract. The only thing I can suggest is have them seek a lawyer. In a situation as serious as this, you need to ignore everything you read on the Internet, including my advice (except for the never stuff), and hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate contract law.

      If the agent is willing to pay your daughter for the improvements, maybe she can show the receipts and get a higher amount at closing. You’ll probably take a loss considering that they’ll probably deduct wear and tear, and age of the improvements, which is pretty common in appraising value. The fact that the agent is willing to work with your daughter is a good sign. I’d meet with the lawyer to see what rights you have, then meet with the agent to get a larger payoff and hopefully you can avoid having this go to court. Be willing to make the house show-ready, and cooperate fully with the Realtor trying to sell the place. This will only work in your favor. Any hostility shown on your family’s part will only hamper the negotiations.

  9. We are selling a condo we ask our agent not to notify our tennents of the sale untill the day we close because we have had three buyers back out and if out tennent moves out then we could be left with an empty condo we found out that the buyers agent contacted our tennent 2 days before closing and told him he had to pay them rent in three days. Is that leagle

    • But is it smart. I’d inform them of the sale. By being able to show the unit, you can get a higher price if it’s in good condition and you can assure the tenant that the lease will be honored by the new owner. I’d rather have my tenants hear it from me than a stranger. Who knows what they would think if the news came from someone else. This is the time you and your tenant need to trust each other.

  10. Hi, I have family members (aunt and uncle) who have been renting a house for 10 years. They pay around $900 a month in rent. This is around 105K total they have paid to the homeowner. My aunt recently told me they are moving and the owner offered to sell them the house (I do not know how much) and apply half of their rent toward the sale(that would be a little over 50K). I looked the house up on zillow and see it’s worth 48K. But, I also saw on zilow that houses in the area have been selling for around 38-49K over the last few years, and now they are selling for around 78K– even though some are still selling for between 38K-49K.

    Based on this, I am assuming the owner is, understandably, looking to sell because the market is picking back up.

    But, the house needs repairs (which can be noted from just looking at it) and I don’t think the owner can sell it as is, unless it’s to an investor who will probably flip it and/or rent it. My relatives are now looking to rent another house in the same rental range.

    My aunt and uncle are older and I do not think they know about the value of the home. If they were to agree to buy the home from the owner, what kind of financial leverage or negotiations can they apply, considering the home needs at least 15-20K in repairs? From my estimate, even if the owner were to sell the house for 78K, my relatives can get him to reduce this for the repairs and deduct a percentage of the rent payments, considering they have already technically ‘paid’ for the house. What do you recommend my aunt & uncle need to be prepared to ask the owner for or hear him ask them for?

    • Liza:
      First of all, this is a fixer-upper. Is a project like that something they are willing to undertake? Second, Zillow’s zestimate may be based on older data and may not reflect the current trend in market prices.

      Basically, they need to hire a Realtor to find out what the home is worth, determine if it’s worth buying, how much it will cost to fix up, and to help them make a reasonable and competitive offer based on all the findings.

      If they’re in one of the areas we represent, they can find an agent capable of doing the things I mentioned, by using our free service.

      Hope the info helps.


  11. Selling your property to your tenant is very easy but turns out a bit difficult when he becomes your good family member, and you don’t want to put him in a dilemma. Tenants many times want your property as they become comfortable with the environment.

  12. Should a tenant who’s been well-paying and been maintaining a property for many years, be able to get a better deal if he now wants to buy? Better than market rate, and how to convince the seller to sell at this lower price, given the fact the landlord/seller has never so much as looked at the property in years?

    • Marcia:
      Given the way your question reads, I’m assuming you’re the tenant. Sounds like a nice idea, but I doubt the landlord will go for it. It’s hard to entice someone to sell a home below market rate and it’s nearly impossible to talk someone into selling below market that isn’t even thinking about selling. Since your question uses the term “should,” I’ll answer it as if it were a requirement or entitlement. I’ll also assume “maintaining” means keeping it clean and taking care of the condition, excluding purchasing upgrades or improvements solely at the tenant’s expense. My answer is no. Being a good renter does not entitle the tenant to anything not agreed upon in the lease agreement.

      However, if you reword the question to “Can I ask for a discount” then by all means sure, go for it. What would it hurt to try. Just don’t expect or demand it because it’s not an entitlement. Keep in mind that a lowball offer will not entice your landlord to sell. I’m betting it’s not going to happen.

      At the same time, don’t fall in love with the property to the point that you’re willing to overpay for it either. There are lots of comparable properties for sell in a range of prices. Leave your options open.

  13. My husband and I own a rental home that our tax advisor instructed us to sell this year. The tenants do not wish to purchase the home due to financial reasons. They also do not want to move when the house is sold. My question for you: Is there a website that caters to investors that want to purchase income property that includes tenants?

    • Karen:
      I’m not aware of any site devoted to selling houses with a tenant, but agents are versed in handling these situations. You have a few options.

      1. Wait til the lease expires and not renew it. Follow your lease’s rules regarding termination, including proper and timely notice. This ends the lease agreement on good terms and is the easiest option that leaves the tenant few matters of recourse. After all, you’re not terminating the lease, just not renewing it after it expires. There’s a big difference.

      2. Use “Cash for Keys” option. Offer your tenant anywhere from $500-$1000 if they agree to terminate the lease.

      3. Sell the house with the tenant understanding that the buyer also inherits the tenant while the lease is in effect. I’d use an agent for this that specializes in investment properties.

      For more advice, go to On that site they host a forum that’s full of information shared and discussed on the forum by landlords who frequent that site. I’m a regular reader and commenter there.

      Hope this info helps.


  14. I have a paid in full property (no mortgage owned, no liens) that I am renting at the moment, but I want to sell it….the only option I have is to offer owner’s financing (10% down payment, 8% interested for 8 years)
    In this case, who gets to keep the tenant’s rent? Me , until the buyer pays in full?
    Who pays the property taxes? Who pays the monthly maintenance fee?
    If the buyer chooses to live in the property, does he/she pays rent+the mortgage she will own me?
    What about squatter law? If she pays taxes for 5 years, wouldn’t the property be transferred to the buyer’s name?

    • Kelly:
      First of all, why is owner financing the only option? Can the buyer not find a bank-loaned mortgage? Second, I’d ask for more of a down payment. I’d want at least 20% and would even consider dropping the interest rate to cover it. You need a higher down payment to cover the risks of the buyer not paying and forcing you to foreclose on the house. Anyone willing to pay 8% interest probably has poor credit otherwise they would have gladly gotten a loan from a bank for half that. Poor credit = high risk.

      Regarding your questions, remember, I’m not an attorney nor have I read your loan agreement. You should consult with an attorney and have them create the loan docs. This isn’t something you should do yourself. I think you’re confused about selling verses renting. Once you sell the house, you no longer own it. Unless your loan agreement states differently, you are only entitled to receive a mortgage payment if you owner finance, until the loan is paid. Think of yourself as the bank holding the note. That’s all you are from now on.

      Who gets the tenant’s rent? They do, because they own the house.

      Who pays property taxes? They do, but you are also at risk of losing the loan if the house gets foreclosed on by a taxing entity. You have two options, write the note so that you make the payment but the payments are added to the monthly note. Or you can let them handle everything and make sure you call the taxing entities to be sure they paid the taxes. Some of counties have taxes owed or paid info online.

      You should have the same worries for insurance payments too. If they don’t insure their house, and it burns down, you’re going to be left holding an unpaid note. Make sure they send you copies of insurance payments and a copy of the coverage policy to ensure they have adequate coverage to rebuild, or at least pay their note should their house suffer a catastrophe.

      Regarding maintenance fees, homeowners associations can foreclose and file liens against properties for unpaid fees. You need to make sure those are paid too. You can either ask for receipts or pay them yourself and add it to their monthly note so they’re reimbursing you for it. However, HOAs are easier to communicate with so I’d ask them to call you and send you copies of payments and maybe that would suffice. Depends on your experience with the HOA and how willing they are to work with you.

      If buyer chooses to live in property….
      These last questions make me think you’re confused about what’s happening. You’re thinking like a home owner, not a note (or mortgage) owner. I’m assuming they would either live in it or rent it but it doesn’t really matter since they own it.

      Squatter laws? Once you sell it, the person you sell it to owns it. It’s theirs. They aren’t squatting in your house, they are living in the house they purchased. You are only entitled to a mortgage payment. Make sure a lawyer prepares the loan docs and make sure the attorney files the loan docs with the county clerk to make it legal and public.

      If you can find a buyer that can get a loan with a bank, I think you’d be better off. You might not get as much money as you would with an 8% note, but you’ll have less hassle, worry and risk. Either way, make sure you get an attorney to prepare the paperwork.

      • Just because the buyer is willing to pay 8% for 8 years does not necessarily mean the buyer is a poor risk. 8 years is a highly accelerated payment schedule relative to a conventional loan, and the monthly payments will also be much higher. A lot more of the principal will be paid with each payment. Perhaps they calculated that they can actually save money because they are paying for only eight years instead of 30. We did a similar thing at 6%, and our credit score is 808. Risk is also minimal. Put a lien on the house and foreclose if you have to.

    • You have to follow the procedures you and your tenant agreed to in the lease for the time frame specified in the lease. If the lease time frame has expired, then it may convert to a month-to-month, as specified in your lease. If it’s a month-to-month, you can follow the leases’ nonrenewal procedure and notify the tenant that you will not be renewing the lease and that will give them probably up to 30 days to vacate.

      If you have several months left on the lease, you could work with the tenant and offer them $500 or $1000 incentive to leave early. But, as long as the lease says they have a right to be there then they have the right to be there for as long as the lease says.

      When selling, communication is the key to a successful conclusion.

  15. I am a home owner and have a lease purchase agreement in place including possible owner finance as soon as they build up their down payment -f all lease payments are on time for three years. It is a small town and they have family there. There are no rental properties in the town – so if they change their minds and move and lose all their money they put in – not a problem. I want to sell to an investor. There never has been a mortgage on my part – do not owe anything. I am older and want to get some money now. How can I do this and is it ethical?

    • There would be nothing ethical or legal about it if you ignored your current contractual obligations. You’re under a contractual agreement already for the sale of the house so you can’t try to sell it out from under your current buyer that already has a contract to buy and is fulfilling that contract.

      Legal and ethical way to do it is to be completely honest with the current tenant/lease to own buyer. Explain you need the cash quickly and ask if they can buy it now or would they be willing to terminate the lease to own contract and convert it to a regular lease. Keep in mind it’s completely their option. You have no power here if they’ve lived up to their part of the bargain. You may want to offer them a cash incentive to entice them to do something they don’t want to do, or a discount on the house if they buy now. But remember they are within their legal rights to refuse to change the current contracts.

  16. I have a month to month renter who is now wanting to buy the property. I’ve always looked at this property as part of my retirement…I have the monthly income and still have the “principal” of the actual property if I ever sell it. How do I come up with the value of this property? I would assume it is a bit different than a residential sale… is there a multiplier of sorts to use? Many thanks.

    • First of all, why are you selling? Ask yourself, would you sell this property if the tenant wasn’t making an offer?

      I think your comments leave me to think that answer would be no. You could price it based on a rental income multiplier but the multiplier number is unique to your specific area. You’d have to have an agent run comps to determine the multiplier range of your market area.

      However, you don’t have to do that nor do I recommend selling the house as a rental. Selling a property as an investment property limits your buyer audience, and all investors are looking for a deal to make their numbers work out. You’d sell at a lower price if an investor bought it.

      In this case, if you’re selling to the current tenant so none of the issues of buying a house with an existing tenant apply since the tenant would then become the homeowner.

      I’d price it based on the houses sold and for sale in your neighborhood, similar to yours in size and features. The solds tell you what a buyer was willing to pay for it, and the currently active listings show what sellers are hoping for. The right price is somewhere in between the highest sale and the highest priced current listing. Of course that’s only part of the equation. You also need to make adjustments in that price based on how the condition and features of your property compare to the others that are for sale around you. It’s best not to be the highest priced home for sale.

      Now, pause for a moment, and step back. Take a good hard look at that price and ask yourself is this price worth it to you to sell this house? Could you use the funds to buy another house with greater returns? Could you use the money for another type of investment offering similar returns? Are you interested in reducing your rental portfolio? Lots of questions to ask, but be sure to ask yourself these questions and be sure of your answers before offering the tenant your price.

      If you’re only offering it to this tenant you can up the price a bit to see if they’ll bite. After all, you’re a hesitant seller and he/she is a willing buyer. Also if this tenant has a successful track record of paying the rent, you may consider holding the note, but I wouldn’t hold anything but a 1st position note and be sure to file those loan docs with the county clerk so your loan is of record and proven 1st position. 1st position means that you’re the first person in line securing your loan with the property as security. First position loans are satisfied first if the house is sold, everyone else gets what’s left over based on their position. That’s why second mortgages always have higher interest rates. Before doing owner financing, make sure you consult with a lawyer and have them write up and file all the documents. Also make sure you get a large enough downpayment so you won’t get burned if the value of the home drops or if they don’t maintain it properly. You also need to make sure they maintain and keep current their home insurance and remain current with their property taxes. That’s very VERY important.

      Hope these ramblings help. Don’t feel you have to sell just because the tenant wants it. Offer a price that you love more than that house and that would give you an opportunity to invest in something that offers greater returns than that rental. If you can’t profit from the sale or use those funds for an investment with greater returns then why sell? If they don’t take it, then you still have the house. You don’t have to offer them a deal. You may like note holding, but it has it’s own risks, responsibilities and rewards however no one calls the bank at midnight if their water heater springs a leak or if the HVAC goes out.

      There are a lot of hot markets out there right now and if you’re in one of those markets then this is a good time to sell for a premium. I sold one of my rentals in the Dallas, Texas market. The price was just too good to pass up. Best of luck and don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to.

      • If they have been great tenants, you could carry the loan. That would give you a near risk-free income stream in retirement that outperforms almost any investment. You no longer have any of the landlord responsibilities. Just put alien on the house so that you can foreclose if you have to.

        • Yes that’s an option, but you’ll want a large enough downpayment to cover any market drop in value, and to cover repairs to get the house sell-ready if you have to foreclose. I’d never consider doing it zero-down. That’s a lot of risk. I want them to have “skin in the game” so they’ll take better care of the house.

  17. Im a tenant n landlord is selling house. The realtor is a personal friend and i was informed by realtor that she has to fully disclose my personal info. Now this house is falling apart and needs alot of repair n has alot of mold. Landlord promised n promised n promised repairs n never got done. Imy kids n i have been in n out of hospital with asthma attacks due to mold in house n was only paying partial rent bc repairs were not being done as promised. Is it ok for realtor being a personal friend of old landlord disclose that to the new investor? What does the old neglective landlord have to do with the new investor if they willing to make repairs?

    • The reason the landlord’s Realtor needs to disclose your personal information to the buyer is because the buyer, if they decide to purchase the house, will also be purchasing the remainder of your lease. They have a right to know your payment history, conditions of the lease, and your ability to pay. Once they buy, they’ll have a right to all of the info the current landlord is privy to.

      Regarding the condition of the home, the Realtor and seller MUST disclose the condition of the house. You, as a tenant, also fall into that disclosure.

      Not sure about your question of what does the old landlord have to do with it. As long as they own the property, they have everything to do with it. Once they sell, they will not longer play a part in the process and you will then be under the new landlord’s operation.

  18. I am living in a house owned by very distant family. I have only been living there 8 month. The owner stated that he would let me live there until his retirement in 5 to 10 years. The house is on 120 acres, and he just wanted someone around to watch over the land. His previous tennant was nasty and a thief. The only contract signed stated I could live there, make repairs (much needed, the house was not liveable). This was done so that I could get water, power, gas, etc. in my name. He secretly had the house and land up for sale, and now has an interested party. What rights do I have? I have spent several thousand dollars just to get the house liveable.

    • Karen:
      I’m so sorry to hear that. You should never ever spend any money maintaining or improving someone else’s property. The only thing I can suggest is that you need to hire a lawyer. Does the lease mention anything about you getting paid for your contribution to the repairs from a tenant’s perspective? Can you prove he hired you to undertake the repairs? If you did this as a job, could you put a lien on the property that would be settled out of the proceeds of the sale? These are all good questions I’d talk over with a lawyer. And you should do that before the property sells.

      • Thank you for your response. There is the contract that I signed stating I could live there and make repairs. I do have all receipts from the repairs and materials. You gave me some ideas on how to recoup my money. I knew it was somewhat of a gamble going in, but was verbally told I could live there at least 5 years, so I gambled. Lesson learned.

        • Sure, the contract says you have permission to make repairs, but does it say anything about reimbursing you for those repairs? That’s the problem I see. Did you contact a lawyer yet?

  19. Hello, Bill.

    A month ago I purchased the condo I was renting. Three months into my lease, the landlord decided to put it on the market. I was given first refusal, and chose to buy the unit. Am I correct if a rental property is old while a lease in place, that the security deposit paid by the renter should be transferred to the buyer? In this case I am both the renter and the buyer. I ask because I’m not entirely sure of the legal parameters for this and my seller is no refusing to return the security deposit to me.

    • Take a look at your HUD1 statement. Does it say anything about the deposit? Either it was deducted from the price as stated on HUD 1, or the landlord owes it when the lease agreement is terminated. Or he’s supposed to transfer it to the new landlord. Either way, he should give it to you or show you how it was spent on repairs and damange (not really applicable in this case). There are strict laws regarding deposits however, they are different in each state/county/city. Ask the title company if it was deducted from the price. If not, ask the former owner for the deposit back. He’s required by law to refund it or account for it.

  20. I have a quick question as a tenant. Our landlord had just announced they are selling the home, due to their own personal reasons. We had been here for over two years and accumulated things from my grandmothers house so the house is cluttered. We were planning on buying a home anyway so her selling it is really the issue, her realtor wants us to be available to leave for all the showings and also stage the home. We have three young boys and having to explain to them why we need to get rid of 90% of our home for a little over month is complicated. As well as us having to pay for the storage while paying for a new place to live. I don’t mind helping my landlord by any means, but this is extremely convenience my family. Do we have any rights in this matter, if the realtor wants us to dump all this money shouldn’t they be paying for it? We will have to pay our rent in a home we can’t den have the things we own in.

    • Both you and your landlord have rights in this matter. However, you also have leverage given their need to sell. Here’s the way I’d look at it. You know you’ll be moving shortly. You’re going to be packing up all your stuff to move anyway, why not do it now? With strangers going through your home, you’d be better off moving all your valuables into storage anyway. You have two big bargaining chips that you could use to come up with a mutually beneficial solution. 1. Staging, provided they pay for storage to store your goods for 6 months, and 2. depending on when your lease is up, you may want to offer them a chance to end your lease early, when the house transfers ownership so the new owners can get an unoccupied house. Both of these things will help them sell their house for more money in a shorter time. If you can handle the inconvenience of this, you could use this as leverage to get free storage, your security deposit back, and paid for movers to help pack and move a majority of your things to storage. In return, you’ll maintain the staging, keep the place clean and show ready, and make your family available to leave at short notice for any showing. You can also offer to end the lease on the closing date.

      Another option would be for you to allow them to end your lease early, without penalty, and you would move to a new place immediately. This would remove you from the problem and would allow them to sell without delay.

      Another option would be to buy the home yourself. Maybe you could get it at a discount since it would be an easy sale?

  21. I’m renting and I have signed a year lease,before we because tenants our landlord had her home for sale and it didn’t go through,she then decided to take off the market and rent to my family,we moved in signing a year lease,about 5 months after living there she decides she is going to sell the home to the previous couple who had wanted to buy(they were approved for a loan finally) and is telling us we need to move asap,what do we do?

    • Jamie:
      Tell her no way. Then ask for the buyer’s contact info. They will become your new landlord. I’m betting that the buyer probably has no idea you’re renting the place. The new owner has to honor your lease as long as you abide by it but doesn’t have to renew it. If the new owner doesn’t want to be a landlord, offer to have her buy you out of your lease. You could ask for $1k or more to terminate the lease. Be sure to give yourself enough time to find another place and move but it could be a win for both of you. Make sure you make this offer before the closing date. The buyer may want to adjust the offer price or back out entirely.

  22. Question- we are living in a house for 15 years and owner ask if we could buy our house for a price that is really manageable, however we tested our house and it was positive for seven deadly black mold will the bank allow us to buy this house anyways because we had lived here for so long or is that has any bearing on it? In our state of New York and Franklin county I believe you cannot sell a house with mold.

    • You’ll have to check with a local agent that knows the laws in your area and the bank to see what they’ll allow. You may want to add mold remediation into the offer so they can solve the problem for you before closing.

  23. As a tenant. What can I do with a fixed lease agreement. Our lease term isn’t to end until September 30, 2016, but as of the 29th of April my landlord came over to inform us that we need to vacate the property by May 29th 2016 due to they have sold the property. I have asked her for our deposit so we can place it on a new place and she refuses until we move out completely. What can I do when she’s breaking our lease?

    • Crystal:
      You need to read your lease. Does it give him the right to do this? If not, you have no legal reason to leave. When a rental property sells, it sells with the tenant and lease. The new owner becomes your landlord, at closing, the deposit is handed over to your new landlord and your new landlord must abide by the current lease until either it expires, BOTH parties agree to terminate, or one party fails to abide by the lease and the other party wishes to terminate. Be sure to stay current with your rent. If the current owner REALLY wants you to leave, tell your landlord that you’ll agree to leave if you get the entire deposit plus $1000 or whatever amount will pay for you to move and get a new lease property, and maybe a few bucks extra for your effort. You’re in control unless there’s a provision in the lease that says different. You don’t have to do anything except abide by the lease terms.

  24. Question:

    State of CA- Residential Real Estate:
    Buyer and seller in contract – 45 day escrow, renters occupying home- all very agreeable -to include all.. Lease allows renter additional 5 days into a new month. Buyer will save a large amount of money by closing month end.

    Renter has place to go -and dates all in effect. Renter, seller, buyer all in agreement with current lease and situation. Renter’s lease agreement- all want to adhere to!

    5 days in limbo? Seller in possession Agreement? at COE? – but allowing renter to remain in house ( 5 days- 4 actually- 1 day full maid service 5th day).. If Tenant in possession agreement- means transfer lease, renter insurance to new name – renters deposit..- utilities.specified- as all in current lease and acceptable to buyer and seller. etc.
    Repairs are done, contingencies removed, loan is ready for docs..
    Buyers i agreement -walk through 1 day prior to close and will agree to – as is at that point- seller deal with renter.. Buyer will deal with renter should anything not be acceptable after close.
    This is clean and seamless… BUT?? is this too risky?
    This has been easy from beginning- all have been in agreement with all from day 1 renter is very easy and cooperative.. has been throughout and continues to be?
    Legal words of wisdom- legal paperwork?

    • Trish:
      I read your post but not sure what you’re referring to as the risk? The new owner must maintain the prior landlord’s lease with the current tenant unless the new owner and tenant agree to changes. Any questions relating to CA real estate law should be addressed by a CA attorney. When does the lease end?

      • I understand a bit of the hostility from tenants as I am currently going through a situation. I just moved into a property in September, 2015. When I moved in the landlords told me that they would be interested in doing a land contract a year into my 2 year lease. Well at the 2 month point, they sent my husband and I a letter saying that they were taking the escrow out of the house. We didn’t care. It’s their house. Two months after that, the landlord sent us an email saying that they had decided to sell the house and that we had to move in 90 days. You are great tenants but you have to go basically. At that point we had only been in the house for 6 months. We have 2 children. Really, Who pays to move somewhere with a family for only 6 months. We contacted an attorney who reviewed our lease. The lawyer told us that we didn’t have to move until the end of our lease. We sent him all rent receipts of our on time payments, and even early payments. There was no violation of lease terms on our part. Our lawyer sent a letter to the landlord telling them that this action would be considered illegal because they had no grounds to evict us, and that we would rigorously defend against moving. He advised that she is more than welcome to sell the property with the lease still in tact because we had no intentions of moving before the end of our lease. After the attorney contacted her and the landlord didn’t bother us any more until recently. We recently got a letter saying that she still wanted to sell the house, and wanted to know if we are staying. We fully intend on living out the remaining 15 months of our 24 month lease. I feel so upset. I dont mind her showing the house for sale, but I am having a hard time with what is reasonable. I dont want to be bothered EVERY DAY with showing this house. You mean to tell me that I have to be inconvenienced EVERY DAY, ALL DAY for the remaining 15 months?? We never would have moved here knowing that our lives would be inconvenienced by a decision to sell so soon. I am willing to bet that when she took our 3500 dollar security deposit in August 2015, that she knew that they intended on selling the house or that they were in financial trouble. We spent a substantial amount of money in the move to this house and we are totally being inconvenienced. After all our landlord tried to illegally evict good paying tenant who keep the property in pristine condition. Its disheartening to be inconvenienced in this way.

        • Your lawyer was correct. When your landlord sells the home, the lease agreement and tenants go with the sale. The new owner has to honor the agreement until the end of the lease. Since they’re trying to sell and they want you to leave, maybe the two of you can sit down and work up a compromise. Maybe if they paid you a few thousand plus your deposit to leave, leaving may seem more agreeable to you? It would definitely solve the invasion of privacy problem you’re going to face with the Realtor showing schedule.

  25. Question:
    We went to court today over an eviction that Mr. Guys name, served us. He forced us to vacate and ” lost” his copy of our contract stating that we were renting to own for three years then we were to be placed on the deed after that time. We still had a full year. Not to mention he got angry with us for telling the IRS that we Were renting his property because he took out a VA loan on the house and told the bank he was living there as well. The judge was not happy and court was adjourned until next week. He threatened Mr. Guys name, with jail if he failed to appear. What else can we expect?
    Jordan – Michigan

    • Jordan:
      It sounds like your landlord did something he shouldn’t have, and got caught. You need to discuss this with a lawyer. If it were me, and I only had rent money in the deal, I’d consider terminating the lease according to the provisions in your lease and finding somewhere else to live. Your situation goes beyond your contract with Mr. Guy, it also includes how Mr. Guy purchased the house. If Mr. Guy loses the house, any promises he made to you can’t be fulfilled because he won’t have a house to sell you.

  26. Picture this: A listing agent from Realty A refers her seller to a rental management company, Realty B, to rent out the seller’s home. The seller signs a management agreement with Realty B. The seller takes his home off the market. Realty B procures a tenant, then a buyer’s agent comes along from Realty C with an offer on the home, presenting it to the seller’s agent. In the offer, the buyer and seller agree the buyer is to assume the tenant, the lease, and the security deposit. Realty A lets Realty B know they need a copy of the lease of which Realty C’s buyer will be assuming. Realty B refuses, even though the year-long management fee will be bought from them. If Buyer is going to assume the lease, and the seller doesn’t even have a copy of the lease because Realty B won’t give it to him due to “privacy issues,” how can Buyer assume the lease?

    • Sue:
      Your agent needs to serious talk with management company. I mean a serious talk. The buyer assuming the lease has every right to see the lease they will be assuming. They should also have a right to see every piece of information about that tenant. If I were the buyer, I’d walk without seeing those docs. It sounds like the seller needs to get involved since both the agent and the management company are under contract with the seller. I, as seller, would demand that the buyer’s requests be met or I’d threaten to fire everyone of them. Maybe the buyer’s agent asking for the documents talked to a flunky. You need to go higher up the property management chain to someone of authority. If they say no, then it’s time to release the inner beast.

    • Your rights should be spelled out in the lease agreement regarding showings. Your state also has laws pertaining to landlord accessibility, and that would include agents acting on his behalf. Most lease agreements are based on these laws.

  27. I’ve read thru all of convos and very good facts and heads ups around the board. I, as a tenant, relate to the tenants who have endured the greedy cheap skate landlords and the slicksters, good ole American Christian guy who’s full intent is to buy neglected or run down homes exempt of taxes and reports as living in at least one of them but doesn’t even live in this county. Doing much needed but uninspected and no permits to do work. He owns 5 houses on street, all obtained in last three years. He even has designated’ friends he has living in them which are secretly tenants, no doubt. Has bought house as trustee , through shady fraudulent deed transfers, that are misdated and has a dead man as seller, to a dead man and 2 siblings then another deed transfer from dead guy to his 2 siblings then one of those siblings to current. All transactions occurring on two different days of last November. Is this a legal sale or deed? Also, this place is listed as duplex, because there is an apartment addition added to rear of front house. There are only 2 power meters and one gas meter. Since there is a whole single second house separate from front and all the power, gas and water lines are tapped from front house, way under any code, ever, the front home is majorly condemned state, whole property is with wiring heating up and burning, trusses sagging and coming apart. Black mold eating through walls. Water damage from both roof and plumbing of twenty years. And yes, the buyer walked and inspected his purchase prior. What can you tell me about what this guy may be up to.

  28. Oh and I left out that he was able to also get home owners insurance without anyone walking walking thru the “duplex” to deem it insurable, I would put my life on that no insurance agent would dare consider covering this place. It’s a buddy so I’m banking that he trusts this slimes word and his job could be on the line as all this unravels . I expect he is planning on claiming damages (extensive) by us then have much of it covered thus major come up when he flips it. When in reality, he bought a dilapidated , majorly rotted out illegally constructed dangerous illegally obtained dwellings and property and they insured it. Why is white collar crime so acceptable? Even excused and often ignored. Definitely downplayed. In my book, they are worse than your stereo typical criminal, acting out of desperateness or poor upbringing because they not only know were likely raised better and have the means to already provide for their basic comforts and needs, but they choose to cheat, burn, lie.. Get away with the crimes.

  29. Christina:
    First of all, if it’s as bad as you said it was, why did you consider leasing this placed? Did you do a walk-thru inspection with the landlord at the beginning of your lease to establish a baseline of condition? If so, find that document and keep it for the rest of your life until the statute of limitations has passed. I don’t know if what you told me in the previous post about his purchase arrangement was legal or not. That’s something only a legal expert could advise due to it’s intentional complexity. But I can say, having dealt with estates, having all of the paperwork from several parties occur over a few day span isn’t unusual. But none of that matters concerning your situation.

    My recommendation is that you need to follow your lease to the letter and keep your place as clean as possible to recover your deposit. If your landlord withholds your deposit or comes after you for damages, the landlord will have to itemize those damages and prove you caused them. If there are a lot of things wrong with the place, most of which are not related to your tenancy, then I think he’ll have a hard time proving it in court. When you leave, you should take lots of pictures, preferably videos and pictures showing the condition of the house. Best of luck.

  30. I live in El Paso Texas and my landlord is selling the house we are renting. We have been living in the house for almost 6 years now and the first 2 years we renewed the lease, however for the past 3 years on a half we haven’t not because we didn’t want yo or the landlord did not want to either but both parties have gotten comfortable with each other and we have all verbally just said we would abid by the contract we have signed.
    Now that he wants to sell the house he gaved me a 30 day notice abd claims that since we don’t have a signed lease then we are in a month to month lease. I do not agree with him because when we have been late on the rent he refers to the lease contract and charged us the late fee that is stated on the lease contract. I told him that he can’t use the lease contract that has expired to his convenience and that I do not consider to be on a month to month contract since both parties have always followed the lease contract. Just last month we paid him 195.00 on late fees according to the lease contract because my husband changed companies so he had 2 short paychecks yet we paid our rent 1300 plus 195.00 on late fees. What would you suggest we can do?

    • Laura:
      If you have a copy of the lease, you need to read it regarding what happens when the lease expires. In leases I work with, if they are not renewed for another term, they automatically convert to a month-to-month lease and automatically renew until proper notice is given by either party to not renew. I suspect that this could be the case in your situation. If so, he is required to give you notice of non-renewal within a certain period of time, but he is within his legal rights if he abides by the terms of the lease that you both agreed upon.

      If he’s wanting to sell it, you’re probably going to move anyway. I’d meet with your landlord and try to find a reasonable exit strategy that suits both of your needs.

  31. My tenant break his lease 1 month after signing the contract because he bought a house.He have me 30 days notice but my plan originally was to wait for his lease to end which is 2018 and sell the house that thime instead of re renting it.Now he move out so i have to sell the house but selling a house is not right away..Im losing the increase of my house for next year.My question is it right that i keep his deposit to cover the mortgage while i was selling the house?

    • Lea:
      What’s stopping you from finding another tenant? Depending on the state in which you live, they have laws regarding how deposits are handled. Also the lease both of you signed should explain how the deposit is to be returned. You can only deduct damages and unpaid rent from the deposit, assuming your state allows the deduction of unpaid rent. You need to check on that before withholding. You should submit an itemized list of all deductions with a check for the deposit monies left over. You can’t withhold a deposit based on your inconvenience. However, your lease may have something called an early termination fee. If it’s in the lease, you can charge for it. If it’s not in the lease, you can’t but you may want to consider putting it in your next lease.

  32. I have a question i live in a rented house the owner of the house sold the house and she in the last process of paper do i pay her this month rent to her or to the new owner am so confuse she keeps on asking for the money and the. Closing of the house is on friday november 10 so to who i give the money

    • You need to pay the person that owns the house at the time the rent is due. If it’s due before the 10th, then pay the old landlord. If due after closing, pay the new landlord. Whatever you do, make sure it’s paid by check or draft. Pay by a method that proves you paid. Don’t pay by cash. And ask for a receipt.

      Whatever you do, don’t be late on the rent.

  33. Me and my brother own a rental house that has a tenant in it, that we are considering selling to an investor. Our tenant has been in the home for 2 years, pays on time, and takes care of the property. It’s our childhood home, and we inherited it when our mom passed 10 years ago. So, we didn’t really choose to become landlords, but the market wasn’t that great to sell so we rented it out. We just don’t want to be landlords anymore. We recently got a decent offer and the investor will become our tenant’s new landlord if we sell to him. She has been a good tenant and the investor claims he won’t raise her rent right away, but he does feel like we are undercharging her. He says he will raise her rent over time.

    We were wondering is there anything we could ask to be included in the sale that would give our tenant some type of protection against an instant increase in rent? Also, our tenant has no idea we are thinking about selling, when & how should I let her know? She is currently on a month to month lease with us, since we never offered a new lease after the initial lease expired. Do I give her a 30 day notice that we won’t be renewing her lease, then let her know there will be a new landlord? Should she be involved at closing, and be able to see the new lease that the new landlord will be giving her? This will be a cash deal so no mortgage will be needed. I want to make sure that we inform the tenant at the right time. We tried to sell the house once before when the house was vacant, and that deal fell through. Just don’t want the tenant to decide she wants to move because she is unsure of what the new terms will be, and when her rent will be increasing by the new landlord.Then the property would no longer have a tenant, which may cause the investor to offer a lower price. Or if the deal falls through we could end up with no sale and no tenant. Please advise the best way to handle this situation.

    • My advice is simple. When you sell the house, you’re also selling the tenant. If the tenant is a good tenant, then they’ll be ok either in the same house or their next house. Either way, it’s between the tenant and the new landlord. Anything you do to protect the tenant makes the house less attractive to the landlord buyer because the buyer wants to own a rental that gets market rate rents. Anything you do to change that makes your house less attractive. It may become so unattractive that they walk away and you lose the sale.

      Consider this. The tenants rented a great house for years for a really cheap price. Even they must realize that a lucky streak like that can’t go on forever. But they are great tenants so they should have no trouble finding another. They’ll be fine.

      The buyer has agreed to keep your tenant so be glad. Technically, with a month-to-month lease, your new investor buyer could terminate their lease with 30 day notice. But they aren’t going to do that.

      Do not give your tenant a 30-day notice to terminate the lease if you want the tenant to stay. If you didn’t renew the lease, you’d be kicking them out. Just leave the lease as it is. Let it automatically renew each month like it has before. Let the buyer inherit it as it currently is. If you start changing the lease or sign a new lease you are screwing over your buyer and deserve having the buyer terminate the sale or demanding a lower price.

      You should tell the tenant immediately about the sale and that the new owner wants to continue having them as tenants. Give the tenants the closing date and give the buyer a copy of their lease and contact info. After closing, give the tenant the seller’s contact info.

      This was your childhood home and you are attached to it and have also become attached to the tenants. There are a lot of emotions in this transaction that you’re going to have to deal with. I went through the same thing 3 yrs ago. It was hard. You don’t need to make it even harder by getting emotionally attached to the tenants. You are tired of being landlords so stop being landlords. Let the new landlord deal with them after the sale.

      • Thank you for this very much needed advice, you’re right there are emotions involved. But this is a “Business transaction” and should be treated that way. And I’m sure if our tenant decided that she wanted to move she wouldn’t concern herself with how that would affect us financially. She would do what is in the best interest of herself and her family. We have had several tenants in the past damage our property, give us as little as a week notice that they were moving, leave us with unpaid water bills, etc. Though each time we were great landlords.

        I would also like to know how should the issue of the security deposit be handled? The potential new landlord offered us about $2k less than the minimum that we wanted for our property. I was thinking of asking if he would absorb the $675 security deposit as a part of the sale price. Either way, rather he absorbs that fee, or we give it to him, don’t we need something to give to the tenant to show that he is responsible, not us, for returning the security deposit to her whenever she decides to move? And how much property taxes for 2017 should we be responsible for if the tax bill came out in August?

        • The cleanest way to handle the taxes and security deposit is to credit the security deposit and the prorated amt of taxes you owe up until the sale to the buyer at closing. Then the current owner is responsible for both in full when due so no need to disclose to the tenant. Both buyer credits will show up on the closing paperwork. Make sure they do. That protects you from the buyer and the fact you don’t own it anymore protects you from the tenant.

          On a personal note, the day before closing, take some time with your family to walk through the house, take pictures, relive memories and say goodbye to the house. You’ll want to do this in private and at your own pace.

  34. I live in Washington State. September 2017, I went to pay rent to my landlord and she told me she was selling the house. I went to pay the current landlord rent in October 2017, She refused to take the rent, She never gave us a 30 day written agreement. I went to current landlord to pay Oct rent asking for a new contract, didn’t get one. Nov, Dec,2017 Jan,2018 paid rent asked for contract, didn’t get one. Discussed new rent agreement, we agreed on 1000 a month. Still no 30 day written agreement. Come February 5th, new contract rent raised to 1200 a month. Rents paid up now new landlord is harassing me to sign the contract and asking are you moving out. Then he came over yesterday without 48 hours notice and threatened us again. What rights do I have to protect myself?

    • On the day of the sale, the new owner becomes your new landlord, but the terms and timelines of the old lease remain in effect. The new landlord may ask you to sign a new lease, but you aren’t obligated until the old lease expires if you don’t agree to the new terms. If you do agree to the new terms, go ahead and sign. I’m puzzled why the new landlord didn’t accept the rent payment, and I don’t know what you would need with a 30-day written agreement. From your post, I take it that they did accept rent in Nov, Dec and Jan. So, I assume you’re current with rent, even with October. It sounds like your best option is to move when your current lease, the lease with the previous landlord, expires. I don’t think you’re going to be happy with the questionable treatment you’re getting from your new landlord. It sounds like the landlord wants you out so they can raise the rent, or do upgrades. Once your current lease expires, they can raise your rent to current rates. Your rights are that both you and they have to observe your current lease during its duration. Once it expires, you can either accept the new terms in the new lease or move. Given the way you’ve been treated and strong armed, I’d leave if it were me. I wouldn’t put up with that.

  35. I need advice, big time… My family and I moved into our home 2 years ago. It’s technically a repurposed garage behind a house. When we signed the lease, it looked decent and maintained. After moving in, we quickly started finding issues that had been covered up or poorly dealt with. Leaky toilet, leaky roof, flooding when it rains due to busted gutters, wall damage painted over, collapsing shelves, drawers broken and glued together, closet doors held up with clothespins, sketchy wiring, and the list goes on and on. We made requests for repairs, but they never came and, instead, sold the property. Our next landlord agreed to fix it until the city informed him our building wasn’t up to code, so again, he sold it. Our 3rd landlord sent in an inspector who took notes of all the damages he could find before closing. He agreed to take the property as is. It’s been 3 months, and still, no repairs. He just had us sign a lease with him the other day that mentioned sending over a list of damages. We asked him if he wanted the list or if he received it from his inspector. He then said, “What damages?” Now, he’s saying that we are obligated to pay for these damages when we move out in a few months, knowing we need our deposit for the move, because he “has no way of knowing the condition when we moved in”. Can he do this to us!? We are not at fault for any of this and have been through hell with this place… This isn’t fair.

    • Brittni:
      None of these issues sound like issues related to tenant wear and tear. It sounds like the previous owner did a non-permitted garage conversion, hiring cheap, inexperienced labor, and the current string of owners are finding that it will be really expensive to fix. It might even be cheaper to convert it back into a garage rather than correct the issues you mentioned. I assume those problems only relate to the garage portion of the house and not the house itself. You should also be concerned about an electrical fire if the wiring is questionable. You need to find your lease, prove the amount of deposit you paid, and fight to terminate the lease and get your deposit back. If your lease had a move-in inspection form, then you’re fortunate, but I doubt that a pre-inspection occurred. You will probably be taking this landlord to court to get your deposit back. I’d look back to all the correspondence that you sent all the landlords describing the problems and be prepared to submit it to court as evidence on your case. If you started complaining it from day one, it’s hard for the landlord to blame it on you. I’d start looking for another rental, and start saving up for a deposit.

  36. Hello! I read through the comments on here and there seems to be sound advice, so I figured I would ask about my situation. We were approached by my husbands coworker – asking us to buy his house (we lived in another town in a rental) because he had it for sale for over a year with no offers. We told him we weren’t in a position to buy just yet, so he asked us to rent it. We asked him if he planned on putting it back on the market any time soon, and told him we did not want to move again any time soon, so we wanted to be there at least a couple of years until we could buy the house ourselves. He told us he would NOT sell the house as long as we were here. We signed a 6 month lease with month to month after that. Everything was fine until one day I got an email that there was a new house for sale in my neighborhood on Zillow (I was signed up for notifications). It was the house we were living in!!! Not ONE word was said to us about him putting the house up for sale. I called him and he said he just wanted to see if there was interest in the house. Nothing serious and he wasn’t going to let people come in the house to look. He then started pressuring us, wanting us to buy it, then offered us a lease to own deal, which would have left us broke every month for 3 years and then we’d have to walk away if we couldnt qualify for this house (it felt like a total gamble, which I’m not interested in). We turned down his lease to own deal. A week later he tells us someone wants to see the inside of the house. I didn’t know I could stay here during the viewing as he asked me to leave the house while the agent showed the people around. I work from home and he told me it would be 15 minutes. An hour later, the people were still at the house. He took rent money from me for this month, no problem. Yesterday, I was home and had people looking through my windows (it’s a very rural area, they made effort to come look at this house). I called the real estate agent and asked him to please put “do not disturb tenants” in the listing and he acted like he did me a favor by saying “I’ll just change the listing to pending, so it won’t show up anymore”. Basically telling me the people put in an offer. Yet again, not the landlord, nor the agent could tell me that two days prior, someone put in an offer. Then the landlord called me and said “it’s a 45-day escrow and there are only 43 days left, sooo….” when I asked him what the game plan was. We uprooted our family, put my son in a new school and everything all on this guys word that he wouldn’t force us out any time soon. He took complete advantage of us and is still doing it. We’ve been here 11 1/2 months. What are my rights? How long do I have here? I’ve not been given any kind of notice to get out – just him telling us it was a 45 day escrow. We were not prepared for this and have not had time to save to move out. On top of that, there are very few rental homes in this town – everyone uses their houses as vacation rentals. So we’ll have to relocate my sons school AGAIN if we can’t find anything in such a short time.

    • My advice is highly tailored to your situation. The key thing I’m basing this on is “coworker.” From your comment, you rented a home from a coworker who was desperate to sell their property. This is a problem you knew going into it. Unfortunately, this isn’t a surprising outcome. Never rent from friends, family, coworkers, etc. It almost always sours the relationship. Does your husband work for or with this coworker? If the relationship sours with this coworker, can that person make your husband’s job or career in that company difficult? You’ve been there for 11.5 months of a 1-yr contract. So, you’ll be month-to-month before the sale, and your only rights are did they honor the termination clause correctly by giving you enough notification? The contract terminated when mutually agreed upon, and converted to month-to-month which is easily terminated by either party with enough notice. For the most part, it sounds like that’s been done with the 45 days, even though it came from the Realtor. My advice for the sake of your husband’s career is to peacefully, and quickly move. Separate yourselves from this situation because no matter what happens, working relationships will sour. It’s better that your husband feels betrayed rather than the coworker to avoid office politics or career sabotage by the coworker. And if you cause the sale to fall through, the working relationship will be forever ruined. Be nice, bend over backwards working with the agent, landlord, buyer, etc, and just get the heck out of there quickly and quietly. The landlord/coworker was DESPERATE to sell, even before you became a tenant, and he finally had an opportunity to sell and jumped on it fearing it may be their only opportunity. It sounds like desperation more than the coworker being malicious. It stings either way, but you’re going to be leaving anyway so might as well do it in a way that protects your husband’s career. I’m sorry you have to go through this and I wish you the best in finding a place. Maybe you can convince a vacation rental landlord to give you a year lease at a non-vacation rate? Maybe consider an apartment or rental condo?

  37. I asked my tenant in my Texas rental house to move out 2 months early. I compensated him for the request. He left the house with holes in the bedroom wall and the pet odor was horrific. The most disturbing item was the dog waste left in the backyard. 15 bags with most bags having two or more piles in them. The smell was awful. The neighbors had complained and I warned the tenant who immediately said it was not his dog. I live in Florida so I was unable to prove one way or another. The dog dug holes in the yard and destroyed the yard. What all the tenant did is too long to list here but my question is this:
    The house was sold “AS IS” but I cleaned the dog waste and garbage up prior to the sale. Can I charge him for the this? He is a very rent savvy person and very difficult. Thanks

    • K Frye:
      Yes, you can charge him, but you might run into difficulty charging him for YOUR labor. Depends on the judge and your ability to document and take pictures for evidence. However, I’d consider deducting the cleanup from his security deposit whether it was his dog or not. That’s not the point. The point is damage to your property that he was responsible for maintaining.

      If it was a small amount, I’d just deduct it from the security deposit and forget about collecting in court. It would cost you more than you’d probably collect if you were able to collect any at all. Just be glad he’s gone and brush up on screening. Since you’re an out-of-state landlord, you should probably consider hiring a local management company. Otherwise, tenants will take advantage of your absence in the future.

  38. We have been impeccable tenants. Better than most. In fact, we are the only ones taking care of the property which is why they are selling. They got themselves way in over their heads and can’t afford any maintenance to the property. We have been left with flooded garage for three years that we shovel a foot of water out every winter, a rotten balcony that we asked to be fixed two years ago, an unusable toilet (we pay for two). There was a fire next door and the fire department broke into our rental by accident. They were told by the firechief the door needed to be fixed immediately, and it took them 2 1/2 weeks. The list goes on and on. We keep the place show worthy, but can’t wait to get out of here and into the home we just bought. WORSE landlords ever. If we were in good health, we would sue for disruption of quiet enjoyment, and no maintenance repairs.

    • Lisanne:
      If you bought a house, then why not move into it now? Why wait? It won’t cost you that much more since you’re already paying double utilities, rent, mortgage, etc. Plus you can make it an easy, convenient move. Just move out and leave the empty house for the landlord to sell. You should expect to pay rent until the lease expires, but if you leave it show ready, the landlord might agree to terminate the lease early. It will make the house easier to sell if it’s empty. If you can’t terminate the lease early, then by all means make sure you read the lease and give the correct amount of time to give notice to not renew after it expires.

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