Do I need to honor a 90 day notice given by the previous owner?

9 Replies

I just bought a rental property with an existing renter from a very sloppy landlord. He had no documentation of the month-to-month lease that the tenants were covered under and he supposedly gave them a 90-day notice of non-renewal. I have no clue why 90 days, but the renter is section-8 so maybe that has something to do with it.

I really want the current renter out sooner so I can rehab and sell the house. My initial contact with them was friendly but I could tell they were very much set on using up the 90 days, of which there's still about 60+ days.

Legally, am I required to honor the previous owner's 90 day notice? Can I give a 30 day notice of my own to supersede the previous owner?


You would need to honor the lease terms. if the lease says you can give less notice you can try.if it says you have to give 90 you have to.

Review the landlord tenant laws for your jurisdiction and seek legal guidance if you are new to this. What is required can vary greatly from one state or municipality to another.

Review the terms of the expired lease. See if it states anywhere that the lease will convert to a month-to-month rental agreement if not renewed or anything about how the lease renewal was supposed to be handled. Is the tenant still current with paying rent and utilities?

Check in with the office that administers the Section 8 program (usually the local Housing Authority) and find out if there's anything different you need to do because the tenant has a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher. 

Consider that it takes time to adequately secure housing and 30 days is rarely enough time. When we decide to terminate a tenancy (which is rare), we give notice for 60 days, even though we're only required to give 30. It makes the move-out process go much smoother.

@David Jiang - Have you closed yet? Sounds like you have.  If you notified SEC 8 of the change of ownership they should have sent you paperwork you need to complete to set you up as a new payee.  Included in this is instructions to have the tenant sign a new lease with and ending date that matches the old lease.  That's pretty much the only requirement they give you. As long as the financial considerations (rent, utilities, appliances) and ending date are the same, you can change any terms you want to.  As long as the tenant signs the new lease and you turn it into SEC 8, you can act on any terms that are in the lease. 

I agree with @Marcia Maynard that giving them more than 30 days makes it much more likely they will have enough Deposit money saved up and be able to leave your house in good condition.  I don't know about your state, but in my state it will take the Housing Authority at least two weeks to issue the tenant the paperwork they need in order to start looking for a new place to go.  Once they find a new place, the absolute fastest we can possibly get someone in is 20 days, assuming we pass the inspection the first time, no one at SEC 8 gets sick or takes vacation, etc.  When you are low income, the process of moving is much more difficult because of all the deposits you have to save up for, the lack of transportation to actually move the household items, etc.  It's not an easy task.

If you really want them out so you can start your rehab, it may be better to go over and talk with them and offer them a financial incentive to leave early.  Their biggest challenge is going to be deposit money.  Make them a cash for keys offer like a bank would offer after a foreclosure.  I'd suggest you base it on their likely deposit amount.  If their deposit is $1000, offer them $2000 if they can get out in 30 days, $1000 if they get out in 60 days, and nothing other than their usual deposit dispensation if they take the full 90 days.  

Did your purchase contract remember to move the tenant's deposit to you at closing? 

@Patti Robertson - Thank you for the reply. I have already closed on the property and the renter is surprisingly current on rent and utilities despite the circus the previous owner put them through. The security deposit was not moved over to me after the sale, nor was i able to obtain the original least contract yet. I did get a copy of the 90-day notice that they sent to the renter a month ago but after speaking with the renter, it seems like the owner did not notify SEC 8 with the same notice.

At this point, after all the advice you guys have given, I feel like the best bet might be to get both the renter and section 8 to honor the original 90 day notice and forego trying to collect the remaining 2 months' of rent. 

@David Jiang ,

You need to give your own notice of non-renewal, Don't think for 1 minute that the prior owners notice would even hold water,, he shouldn't have given notice, plain and simple.

Get it done ASAP, full either 30/60 notice per your lease arrangement, call her case worker at sec 8 and ask for copy of lease, if she or they can't provide it then she's on 30 day,, month to month and notice needs to be written, post at door, and put copy in mail and notify sec 8, given prior to the last day of the month, I usually always give a non-renewal around the 15th. 

The security deposit was probably part of your closing cost, usually just a deduction from your fees.

I wouldn't give up a dime of rent. Just give proper notice and you'll be set.

Otherwise your going to double out, the rent and the tenant more than likely will remain. If your not familiar with sec 8 rentals you should study up....!!!

@Deanna McCormick Thanks, that's great info! I'm talking with their case worker first thing Monday and I'm going to make sure I get them on the same page. If there's no lease to be found, I'm going to try to serve 30 days and get my property emptied as soon as possible.

@David Jiang - SEC 8 will have a copy of the current lease and you will have to honor it.  A contract transfers with a sale, however in the case of SEC 8 you have an opportunity to change the lease terms for the remaining portion of the lease, where you don't with a non-SEC 8 tenant. The easiest way to get a tenant out quickly is always to offer cash for keys. Have you considered that? Not having their deposit transferred with the sale was a mistake.  You have to honor their deposit whether the previous owner transferred it to you or not.