In most cases, the landlord retains the right to list the property for sale. This is not a cause to panic. The lease is usually transferable and it is assumed by the new property owner.
Who Do I Contact
Until the property has officially sold, the property owner is still the responsible for adhering to the terms of the lease. You will still need to contact the landlord or property manager if applicable. Business will continue as usual and any maintenance items will need to be address as they were previously. One thing that may change is the landlord may be less inclined to take care of cosmetic repairs such as paint or flooring unless they are otherwise required to do so.
What About My Privacy
As a tenant, you have the right to exclude others and while it is recommended to cooperate during the sales process, you do not need to allow the landlord or agent to install a lock box, for sale sign, or take pictures of the interior of the property. It is recommended to review your lease before making it a point to resist these items just to make sure there isn’t a clause that specifically requires you to do these things.
What is My Role in the Sales Process
It is recommended to work with your landlord as this makes for an easier transition. They will likely still proceed with the sale and the last thing you want to do is make things more complicated for yourself. Talk to the landlord and their agent to set some ground rules.
First, establish that all showings must be by appointment only and the owner’s agent is the only one who is to contact you to schedule showings. The last thing you need is for random people to start calling you. In addition, give them a rough idea of when the property is available for showings such as weekdays between 4pm and 7pm, then on weekends 10am through 5pm. This way the agent has availability each day and they can screen calls so they don’t try to schedule a showing when you are not available.
An Offer Has Been Accepted, Now What
If you have a chance, speak to the prospective buyers and find out what their intentions are. Do they plan on keeping you as a tenant or do they plan on moving into the property. Also, be sure to get copies of your lease and any move-in documentation; don’t rely on the landlord to provide this to the new owner. The security deposit is usually transferred to the new owner, but on occasion it is given to the tenant depending on local law.
Be open and upfront with the new owner. In most cases, they have to honor the terms of the lease so if you start to run into problems, don’t be afraid to nicely remind them of this.
After the sale, you should receive notice of who to contact and where to pay rent so you know how to proceed in the future. If you do not receive notice, be sure to contact the previous landlord to find out the contact information for the new owner. If you run into problems and you can't get a hold of the new owner, open an escrow account to deposit the rent into or hold onto the money until you get further information. Be sure to also obtain confirmation that the security deposit has been transferred to the new owner and when paying your rent to the new owner, be sure to get receipts for the first few months until you feel comfortable with them.
November 13, 2013