Moving is almost always an emotional experience, whether you’re renting or buying a home.
For those renting, the anxiety can be even greater – after all, your fate is in the hands of an individual owner – not an apartment complex company with hundreds of tenants.
We called upon our property manager expert, Steve Moretti, to address three of the most common concerns tenants have when renting from a private owner.
Here they are, in no particular order…
1. What if someone wants to sell their home when I’m living there?
Once a proper lease is signed, the owner is legally responsible for the terms and conditions of the lease.
An owner cannot break the terms of the lease due to the fact he wants to sell the property.
For example, if a tenant enters into a two-year lease (which is required to be offered) and the owner wants to sell after a year’s time, the owner has no right to ask his tenants to leave.
An owner can place the property for sale and try to attract a qualified buyer.
However, that buyer would then be responsible for all of the conditions and terms of the lease until it ends.
The only thing that can sever a lease is a judge and there must be an extremely good reason for him/her to label the reason as “for cause” (see below).
2. What if there’s a foreclosure on the property I’m renting?
First, it’s important to know the foreclosure process can take from six months up to a year.
If that process has taken place and the property is foreclosed upon by a bank while a tenant is living there, the bank will usually buy out the tenant or give them a credit to move out.
Those negotiations and that amount will depend on how far down the line the lease has progressed.
Once the process is completed, the bank then owns the property.
The bank can send a letter to the tenant a letter stating it is the new owner and ask the tenants to vacate; sometimes the bank will allow them to stay and turn the property over to a management company, although this doesn’t happen as often.
Once the bank owns the property, the lease can be legally severed.
If the bank takes possession and the tenant refuses to leave, it does have the right to file an eviction.
However, there has to be a hearing.
As long as tenants are paying their rent, banks will try to work out an agreement.
Each case can be a little different.
Notice to vacate is usually 60-90 days.
An eviction process can take 90-120, so it is always in the best interest of the bank to strike a deal.
It’s also important to note that if a landlord is in foreclosure or facing a short sale, he/she is required to inform the tenant and/or the managing agent.
3. What happens after my original lease term runs out?
At the end of the lease term, an owner and tenant always want to be talking to each other.
For a condo or an apartment rental in Montgomery County, 60 days notice must be given prior to first of month.
For example, if a lease ends December 31st, notice to vacate would have to be given by October 31st,
Leases that have not converted automatically change become month-to-month agreements.
The required notice then becomes 30 days for either party.