If your landlord has recently sold your home to a new owner, you may be worried about what comes next. Whether you like your place and don’t want to move or don’t have time to find a new place right now, you may be wondering if you’ll have a choice if the rent is raised. While all new landlords don’t want to come in and change things up, some do, but each state has rules and regulations in place to keep new owners from taking advantage of tenants.
In most states a new landlord is required to follow the terms and conditions of your existing lease. The longer the time left on your lease, the better, as the landlord must wait to raise your rent until the agreement expires. The new owner is also typically not permitted to force you to move out until your lease has expired. Both the amount of notice the landlord is required to give you and the percentage by which your rent can be increased vary by city and state guidelines.
When you moved into your apartment you paid a security deposit to your previous landlord, so a new owner cannot ask for a second one. The previous landlord can give your security deposit to the new owner or give it back to you, as part of the sales agreement. If the original security deposit is given back to you, the new owner is permitted to ask you to pay a new one, but it cannot be a sum greater than what you paid the previous owner.
A landlord is required by law to provide tenants with basic provisions, such as running water, electricity and heat. Any new owner who attempts to make tenants uncomfortable by cutting off basic provisions or making the property unsafe is violating the law. If you find yourself in this position, most states allow you to withhold a portion of your rent until your landlord begins providing you with these basic services, or to take the landlord to small claims court to fight for a refund on rent payments.
Knowing Your Rights
Tenant rights vary greatly by city and state. It’s important to know your rights prior to taking action against a new landlord who doesn’t seem to be following the rules. If the law is on your side, you may be able to save a great deal of money and hassle by calling the new landlord out on obvious violations that will not stand in a court of law.
Laura Woods is a Los Angeles-based writer with more than six years of marketing experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.