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Old 08-17-2010, 12:06 PM
8 posts, read 26,637 times
Reputation: 15


I just moved into a condo about 3 months ago and now my landlord is telling me to move out because she's doing a short sale on her property...I was just speechless because I was finally getting used to this house and I have to move out again?! I did a 2-year contract and it's been only 3 months..don't I have any right to stay here until my contract ends? Do I really have to move out? I asked my landlord to pay for my moving and other expenses if I am going to move out but she is not willing to do so. I seriously don't know what to do..has anyone had simliar experiences?! I need some help!
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:17 PM
2,688 posts, read 5,962,882 times
Reputation: 1289
It's a general legal principle that the buyer of a property has to honor existing leases, which would mean that the owner can't kick you out while the property is for sale and the new owner can't move in until your lease expires. However what really applies is what your contract says. What does it say about the circumstances under which your landlord can terminate the lease early?
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:18 PM
2,185 posts, read 2,658,374 times
Reputation: 1616
I'm pretty sure it's well within your rights to sue the landlord but considering they're shortselling it may be like getting blood from a stone and cost you more than it'll ever be worth.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:21 PM
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,977,253 times
Reputation: 3858
This might actually be worth hiring a lawyer. Or you could try a legal aid place--free consultation (and sometimes representation) for just this type of thing. Or at least talking to your local city/county housing authority.

Another option would be to ask for a payoff (paid in advance) in return for agreeing in writing to move out in 30 or 60 days. Or maybe ask the bank? They have a vested interest in your cooperation. An angry tenant can really turn off buyers.

Good luck!

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 08-17-2010 at 12:52 PM..
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:27 PM
564 posts, read 1,278,293 times
Reputation: 390
If your lease is consistent with Yankeesfan's comment about honoring existing leases, the landlord needs your cooperation, not the other way around. Landlord is probably hoping you will just leave but I'd just tell them no, and stay put. Then they will have to offer you some kind of incentive.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:28 PM
734 posts, read 1,734,375 times
Reputation: 762
If you have a lease it is a legal contract. That contract cannot be broken upon the whims of the landlord.

Sales of foreclosure property are tricky. In that case, I believe the bank can break the lease. I recall the various newspapers running some articles about renters who end up SOL because of unknown foreclosure proceedings. Additionally, kiss your security deposit goodbye. You could sue your landlord for the security deposit, but if they couldn't pay their mortgage, how likely is it that you would see any substantial portion of the security deposit before your legal costs outstripped the benefit?

Now, for a short sale, that is much trickier. If the short sale is to a private buyer, then normally all contracts carry over to the new owner. The buyer may desire the property to be empty, but cannot force you to leave. What may have occurred is that the buyer told your landlord that they would not proceed unless you left, and now the landlord is trying to force you out. This would not be legal. If you stay and the landlord tries something like changing the locks or removing some of your property, call the police and have them arrested.

However, I would definitely consult with a lawyer who handles landlord/tenant cases to get professional advice. It will cost a little bit, but knowing what you can and should do (ie, paying rent to an escrow account, official notifications required to be given to you, etc.) can save you time and money down the road.

(To back up what I wrote above, check out this link: How do I terminate tenants lease to sell before the bank forecloses? Lease Termination Legal Questions & Answers) Common law and UCC generally don't vary too much state to state for things like this.)
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:46 PM
518 posts, read 784,741 times
Reputation: 447
Take your copy of the lease to a lawyer and ask them what they think. As far as I know the owner can't do squat until the lease is up.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:00 PM
2,688 posts, read 5,962,882 times
Reputation: 1289
If you're in Fairfax County, try calling here first -- less expensive than starting with a lawyer:

Tenant-Landlord*- Fairfax County, Virginia
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:17 PM
421 posts, read 821,510 times
Reputation: 417
Definitely DON'T move. You don't have to. That lease is binding and many many properties have been sold while tenant occupied and the new owner/bank has to honor the lease. Just tell her NO. She won't take you to court because she can't. She has no reason.
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:14 PM
Location: McLean, VA
790 posts, read 1,611,441 times
Reputation: 556
I'm sorry about your situation. Others may continue to weigh in, but I think you may have no legal standing, particularly if the house goes into foreclosure. Your agreement is with the individual, and the individual will no longer own the property (or is in the process of losing it at any moment). There have been stories in the news and on the internet about the unfortunate predicament renters are in when their landlord/owner loses the house. In addition, you probably have nothing/no one to sue.

At any rate, you may want to contact someone in Fairfax housing. I'm sure they see this all the time. I'm very sorry. It's no fun....
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