Duplex tenants - Can you kick one out to live in when buying?

6 Replies

If I were to buy a duplex and wanted to live in one of the units, can I kick out one of the tenants so I can move in?  Do you have to go through a formal eviction?  Or do you inherit the leases and have to honor them? 

You would inherit the leases. Once the leases are up you can ask the tenant to vacate with proper notice. Here it's 30 days. If the tenant refuses to vacate you would then proceed with a formal eviction.

@Paul Weller


     As far as I know, Leases run with the property. In addition you don't have any grounds for eviction, and therefore can't legally evict them. One thought might be ask agent or owner if their lease has a notice to terminate ( 30,60 or 90 day). You could make an offer contingent on seller providing notice to terminate to tenant((I wouldn't endorse doing this though), or you could offer to buyout the tenant and just eat the initial loss upfront. The latter is, oftentimes, the path of least resistance in relation to having a tenant leave early. It is also probably the more ethical approach. These are just a few thoughts I had. Cheers!


Check the tenant leases. I've seen a few that say that if the property sells the lease is terminated.

I closed FHA on a 3-unit. The only unit that would fit my family was occupied. I made my offer contingent on the seller incentivizing the current tenant out of their 1-year lease. I wasn't about to eat those costs ;)

It would be totally appropriate to ask about termination terms in lease and request landlord to apply as part of your offer, if it's available.  If not available, ask landlord to find out if tenant is agreeable to voluntary early termination and make it part of your contract.  If not, ask if there is some payment incentive that would encourage tenant to sign early termination and be out by settlement, then negotiate who would pay it, you or the seller.  If both tenants want to finish out current lease, then I think you are stuck unless they break terms of lease.  But if a tenant knows you are moving in at their lease end so no chance for renewal, they might agree to go early, especially if their lease only has a few months left and you negotiate moving expenses or something.    

Others have covered it above, but definitely get a copy of the lease during inspection period.  Yes, leases run with the sale, but many times tenants are on month to month.  If you are buying as a primary, you have 60 days to move in.  House hacking is a smart way to go!