If you’ve been staying at the same property for years, you’re probably calling it your home—even if you’re only renting it. It could be where you grew up, made countless happy moments, and you miss it whenever you’re away. In short, it really feels like your true home. And it will always be your home—until the owner of the property decides to put it up for sale.
Understandably, tenants will feel frustrated and confused once the place they call ‘home’ for years is suddenly in danger of disappearing. But there’s no need to panic when you learn of this development. Keeping your cool in this situation will help you come up with a solution. As tenants, you have rights that will help you in this situation.
Read on to find some tips on what you should do once you learn that your rental home will be sold.
Don’t Start Packing Just Yet
Just because you found out that the rental property is up for sale doesn’t mean you have to start packing your things immediately. While it’s true that the property owner or the landlord has the right to sell the house whenever they want, no one can force you to leave until your lease is up. So, relax and prepare a strategy to cope with this situation.
Exercise Your Tenant Rights
As a tenant, you have the right to stay in the rental property until your lease is up. If someone were to purchase the property tomorrow, the new owner must accept the fact that you’ll still be staying for as long as your lease isn’t up yet. Remember, you have tenant rights, and you’re free to exercise them as you wish.
If you’re living in a rental property, especially in a place like Houston, you have the right to stay there peacefully for as long as your lease is still valid. You’re free to close the door to anyone you don’t want in your home. You’re also not obliged to let estate agents who are always looking to sell a house fast in Houston or prospective buyers go in to view the property as they please. Even if the landlord gives you a notice that there will be someone who will take a look at the property, you can still deny them entry.
Examine Your Lease Closely
There are some cases, though, that a landlord may forcefully evict you if you violated the terms and conditions of the lease. Thus, it’s crucial that you know all the fine print outlined in your lease.
A lease is a legally-binding document signed by a tenant and a landlord. It’s a contract made between two parties for the purpose of protecting and preparing both sides for what might happen in the future. Instead of packing your things after finding out that the rental property is for sale, grab a copy of your lease and take a good look at it. Look for anything in the lease that will tell you what should happen if the property owner suddenly decides to sell it.
Even if the owner decides to sell the property, they don’t have the right to forcefully make you leave until your lease is up. Leases always have a clause detailing what will happen to you in case something like this happens. Besides, the landlord must still honor the contract, or else they might be sued for breach. Thus, it’s highly crucial that you always keep a copy of your lease and examine its contents from time to time.
Honoring The 30 Days’ Notice
In most rental cases, contracts will contain the provision that the landlord must give their tenant at least 30 days’ notice if they decide to sell the property.
If you’re staying on a rental property on a month-to-month basis and your landlord suddenly informs you that they’re selling it, they must give you proper notice that they will be terminating your tenancy. The notice must state this 30 days’ notice provision, and it must identify a specific moving out date. If your landlord didn’t provide this kind of proper notice beforehand, you don’t have to move out just yet.
Repairs Aren’t Your Concern
There might be some cases wherein the landlord tells you to do repairs on damages so that the property would look good for the next owner. When it comes to selling the property, it’s the landlord’s job to take care of the repair and maintenance if there are any problems with the rented property. Tenants don’t have to make the property pretty for the future owner; remember that it’s the responsibility of the property owner to make it sellable, not yours.
Facing The New Owner
If you’re living in a rented property on a long-term lease agreement, your landlord can’t force you to move out even if the property owner decides to sell it before the term is over. And even if the property has already been bought, the new owner must still honor the lease.
There are some cases, though, that the new owner will ask you to sign a new lease containing their own terms and conditions. However, you’re not required to feel obliged to sign.
When your original lease is up, it’s up to the new owner if they would like to have you continue renting their property or not. Thus, it might be best to face the owner on a kind and cordial note.
It shouldn’t feel like a death sentence when you find out that the rented property you’ve been living in for a long time is up for sale. The best thing to do during this situation is not to panic. As a tenant who’s been living in the property for many years, you have your rights to protect you. Similarly, a landlord can’t forcefully evict you out of the rented property without telling you in advance. Thus, you’ll have plenty of time to find a new rental home.
So, take a deep breath and relax. No matter what happens, you won’t be forced to move out of the rented property without undergoing the proper procedure. Thus, always know your rights, reexamine the details in your lease, and prepare a plan.