Purchasing first duplex with existing renters

2 Replies

Hello Everyone,

I'm hoping to get some input. I am considering purchasing a duplex and made an offer on the property. In my offer as a contingency requested a tenant be given notice to I can live in one side of the unit. The owners sent over leases and one side has a clause that the landlord can end the lease within 15 days upon change in ownership. 

Stated " not with standing any other provision of this lease, landlord may terminate this lease upon 15 days written notice to the tenant that the premises have been sold."

So the side that has this stated in the lease is in much better shape and updated. The lease copy they sent doesn't have signatures, only the renewal of lease has been signed. So I am going to see if I can get the original signed leases to verify. The seller has refused to end either lease and wants me to take care of it. Both leases still have more than 6 months left. 

My plan was to occupy the side that needs to most work but the landlord has said he has been there for more than years and won't end the lease. I understand legally he can't unless stated in lease so if he could vacate one side I would understand. I'm not sure what to do because I don't want to start on the wrong foot and this could be my first property. My spouse also found out the tenant who has been there over 10 years has a son living in the basement who has felony for theft. Our market is dry and I have been looking over three year but I don't want to make bad decision. I even thought of breaking the lease because the lease say no pets and theirs a snake in the basement.

Should I see a lawyer about this? I even thought of cash for keys but most of my funds will be going to the down payment. Any advice would be appreciated.


It’s not illegal for someone to live in a basement because they have a felony for theft. That’s irrelevant.

Generally a lease stays with the property upon change of ownership. If they have six months left, the owner retains the right to not renew a lease, and will have to give written notice.

Nonetheless, if the tenants are paying tenants, and have a history of paying on time, just ride it out, and take the rent income.

If that’s not an option for you, don’t close on the property until the tenant is out.

@Luke C.

What is the leases term? 

If you have contingency in your offer to end the lease and seller doesn't want to do it, you can get out of the deal with no harm. 

But if you agree to to buy house with the tenants in it subject to current leases you will have to deal with the tenants after the closing and see which is the best way to go about it. You can not make tenants move out if you do not own the property. 

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