Inheriting Tenants

9 Replies

I just got an accepted offer on my first investment property.  It's a duplex in Wisconsin and I'm going to be inheriting tenants in both units.  One of which is a section 8 tenant.  Wondering if anyone has any advise?  When inheriting tenants, do you just draw up an assignment of the lease?  Who do I deal with for the section 8 tenant?  Is the housing authority and the tenant or does the housing authority handle the tenant?  I haven't had the chance to review the current leases yet but I was told they where both year leases and are only a few months into them.

Thanks in advance! 

If it's a Section 8 tenant then you'll have to contact the Housing Authority and get yourself setup with them, as well as get your bank account information to them to accept direct deposit (much better than checks, although they still send you a paper notice in the mail about what they direct deposit to you ... makes no sense).

Hello Kevin,

Congrats on your upcoming purchase!  You will need to honor the existing lease.  I send out a letter (or leave it with the tenant during the final walk through) stating who we are, that we purchased the property, will be honoring their existing lease, and how to contact me.  I also state how to pay rent- PO box or online method- and what their rent, security deposit, and lease end date is just to make sure we are all in agreement.

I would ask the seller for payment history so you can see if they are typically on time or late, how much they pay (if the amount is different than the lease says, find out why- are they paying a pet fee?  Or maybe being compensated for yard work?), and if they pay late fees and when those late fees were charged.  

At closing, you will get the security deposits and prorated rent transferred to you.

As far as Section 8 goes, I think it is the tenant's responsibility to update the payment info with them, but I would double check that with the local office to be sure.  I haven't had any section 8 (yet) but did have an inherited tenant on a county program, and everything went smoothly there.

Best of luck,


First screen them like anyone else. If they don't fit the bill then make it part of the contract that the home will need to be vacant prior to close. If they do meet the criteria then make them sign a new lease prior to close. I got burned when a tenant stopped paying her rent the day I took possession. She delayed signing the lease and then delayed the rent for 2 months until I evicted her. I then was able to get my awesome property manager to find a better tenant that met her high standards.

I'm looking into acquiring my first multi-family and at the moment, I am leaning towards a preference for vacant units so that I can make needed updates and set rents at market versus having to process long-term tenants who may not be thrilled to see rents jacked up by $100/month.

A lot easier to get someone in expecting $700/month versus telling a tenant who has rented for years at that location that they're going from $580 to $650.

We bought our first 2 duplexes with existing tenants.  One tenant left immediatly. We raised the rent $100.00 on the 3 existing tenants and had no problem.  We renovated the empty apartment  and then rented the renovated apartment for the same $100 raise.  One of the 3 existing tenants has a pit bull (but calls him a terrier), we wanted to get rid of the tenant with the pit bull but it seemed impossible so we just kept them.  The pit bull is very friendly and  he and the owner has been  no problem either.    We were happy to have a regular rent flow and the tenants are still there after 1 1/2 years.  We have been renovating piece meal and around the old tenants.

Congrats again on your purchase. Circling back to the section 8 tenant topic, I have a section 8 tenant in Sun Prairie, WI and Dane County House Authority contacted us shortly after closing to update our direct deposit info. I would contact them proactively though just to be safe (we almost had the money go into the previous owners bank account for the rent due the following month after closing) I believe they had me fill out a W9. Anyways, shortly after closing we requested to increase rent to market value and it was a pretty easy process to get approved and works best to put in shortly after you buy the place (if applicable)

Good Luck


Thanks for the comments everyone. I believe I will contact the housing authority as we get a little closer to the closing. As far as rents and renovations go I believe I lucked out on this one. The property was recently renovated so is in great shape. I have to do a little painting on the outside but otherwise it shouldn't need anything major for awhile. Since this was my first place my wallet couldn't handle any major reno's. The rents may be a little low at the moment so I do plan on raising them at the end of the current lease. All the utilities are separated and paid by the tenants so I believe that also is why the rents are a little lower than the others I saw.

@Kevin Last The first thing you want to do is get a copy of the leases and most importantly, a rent roll showing each tenants payment history and whether they are current on their rent or not. Don't overlook that. The last thing you want to do is close and have to evict 2 deadbeat tenants. Duplexes can have great cash flow but they can also come with more tenant issues than SFR. Is the property currently being managed by a PM?

No the property is not managed by a PM. I will also ask for a rent roll. Thanks for the advice.


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