Tenant rights when landlord want to sell ?

6 Replies

My landlord wants to sell his house this summer while my lease will terminate in the end of the year. Before I renew the lease last year, I have added the following items as an amendment to the lease agreement so that we can live in this place with safety and comfort:

- 48 hr notice for showing on a few days during the week, no weekend and open house 

- no lockbox installed 

- no picture taken from our personal property (landlord has a set of pictures when the house was empty)

I was wondering what legal rights does tenant have to enforce this amendment since the landlord really don't want to pay attention to them.

If you and the landlord signed your amendment, and nothing goes against state or local law, then you and the landlord are both bound by it.

Nothing there would be deemed "unreasonable".  I think you have a strong ability to enforce.

How can I enforce ? Should I withhold the rent ? Threaten to sue ? Don't let them to get in the house for showing ? 

That is my question... what is my legal rights to enforce ? 

Originally posted by @Sepid Pooy :

How can I enforce ? Should I withhold the rent ? Threaten to sue ? Don't let them to get in the house for showing ? 

That is my question... what is my legal rights to enforce ? 

 Officially, enforcement comes via legal suit.  

Most likely that the landlord won't want to incur the expense of legal action and will become reasonable.

Withholding rent probably isn't a good idea, because it places you in a breach of contract.

Generally speaking - as the tenant, you have the right to occupy the property throughout the term of your lease, regardless of who owns the property.

You can only change an existing contract if all parties accept the changes in writing. From what you've written, it sounds like you added these terms but the owner didn't actually agree to them in writing, which means you don't have any agreement.

I agree with @Doug Utberg that your only method of enforcement would be to sue the owner. Withholding rent would be an illegal action and may be grounds for evicting you.

If the owner fails to give 48 hours notice, you an refuse to permit entry. If they attempt to enter without proper notice, you can call the police and report them for trespassing.

If the owner installs a lockbox, you can remove it (without damaging the box or house) or write the owner a complaint or sue the owner.

If the owner takes pictures of the home with your personal belongings in the images, you could sue the owner for invasion of privacy or a violation of your right to quiet enjoyment.

The bottom line is that there's no magic bullet. The cops won't throw him in jail or tell you to stop paying rent. You'll have to go through the legal process, which won't be easy, cheap, or fast. I recommend you talk to the owner and try to come up with a reasonable, written agreement. Try to negotiate a win-win for everyone. If you have an agreement and he is failing to abide by it, contact an attorney and determine if you want to fight back.

Did the landlord sign the lease or amendment with your added terms?  If so then they're binding.  Honestly I would not have agreed to no open houses and no weekend showings.  Push back if there is an attempt to violate the terms.

If you don't have something in writing, signed by the landlord, agreeing to these terms then they don't apply.

Do not withhold rent.  That gives the landlord grounds to evict.