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June 29, 2018 |

Property Sold: Can a Landlord Force Tenants to Leave Once a Property is Sold?

The relationship between a landlord and tenant is governed by both a lease agreement between the parties as well as by Massachusetts law. State laws protect certain rights of tenants, while lease agreements establish enforceable obligations on both parties.

If a landlord wants to sell a rental property, this can create complications for the landlord and can create serious problems for a tenant. The landlord may want the tenant to leave so the sale will be easier, or the new owner may decide that he or she does not want the tenant to stay in the property after the sale of the property has been completed. 

Because there are laws in place that govern what occurs in these situations, it is important to talk with a Boston tenant eviction lawyer if you're buying a property with occupied rental units or if you live in a rental property that is up for sale.

Can Tenants be Forced to Leave When Landlords Sell Property?

If a landlord decides to sell a rental property that is occupied, the landlord typically cannot force a tenant to leave the property early. This would leave the landlord with a few different options if the tenant does not want to leave.

The landlord could wait until the end of the tenant's lease term, the landlord could sell the property with the understanding that the new owner will allow the tenant to remain in the unit, or the landlord could try to convince the tenant to leave early. Often, landlords will offer money for tenants to vacate the premises if the landlord is trying to sell and needs the tenant to leave in order to make a transaction possible.

If the landlord waits until the end of a lease term, the landlord will need to ensure that proper notice is provided to the tenant that the tenant will need to vacate the property at the end of the lease. If the tenant is month-to-month, the landlord will usually only need to give 30 days' notice to the tenant that he or she will have to vacate the property at the end of the next month so the landlord can complete the sale without a tenant still living in the rental unit. If the tenant has a one-year lease, the landlord would need to wait until the lease was up and would need to give notice in advance of the lease ending in these circumstances as well.

Landlords could also evict tenants if the tenant is violating the terms of the lease, but it is not a good idea to try to find a pretext for eviction in order to try to get a tenant out early just to sell a property as the tenant would likely fight the eviction successfully under these circumstances.

A Boston tenant eviction lawyer can help landlords to understand their options when they want to sell a rental property and can help tenants to ensure that their rights are respected when their landlord sells. It is a good idea to talk with an attorney as soon as possible in these difficult situations to ensure the best outcome possible for all parties involved in the transaction.

Posted in Landlord-Tenant Information

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