New Landlord

klp1976August 5, 2012


I am currently renting a duplex and the house is at the tail end of changing hands to a new owner. The new owner is using it as an investment property so we will be staying and he will rent out the other side. We have not spoken to him yet; only the broker. He sent us a letter, throughhis lawer, notifying us of a rent increase (which is fine). However, is it legal for the new owner to be asking us to sign a rent increase letter if he doesn't officially own the house yet?


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It depends on the laws in your state.

In some states, if you have a lease, the new landlord must honor all the terms of the lease, including the amount of rent. But in other states, the new landlord has the freedom to make changes.

If you are month-to-month, the law usually allows for a rent increase with a certain amount of notice, usually 30 days.

Google "tenant landlord law yourstate" or "tenant rights yourstate" to find out what's allowed where you live. I'm guessing you are month-to-month, if the landlord is increasing the rent right away, or you are in a state where the old lease becomes invalid.

Off the top of my head, I'd say that the new landlord could only increase the rent after he owned the building. He'd have to sign the contract to buy it, and only then could he give you the 30 days notice.

Does the rent increase letter you have give any date for the increase? Closings for the sale of homes are often delayed at the last minute, so I wouldn't want to sign anything unless a) it stipulated that the rent increase would take effect 30 days after the new owner took possession or b) I was signing after the new owner took possession.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Thank you!

I don't even know the closing date on the house. I am going to reach out to my lawyer today. I looked up a few things on the interenet, but there is so much information.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:44AM
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Well, you have to make a good impression to your new landlotd then.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:00AM
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I'm a landlord here in Boston Ma with several property's. If your O.K. with the increase, a good tenant to me is 1) pay your rent on time. 2) Keep your unit clean, and the common area clean. As a tenant you rent the interior of the unit ONLY, not the common hall for your bike, not the yard to keep your old sofa or un registered car etc., communicate with him. If a common area bulb burnt out, change it and let him know with a note in next months rent. Additionally HELP HIM OUT! If it snows where you are-shovel the walk, mow his lawn, decrease the amount of issues he may have with the building. Notify him of issues and offer a solution if you can solve it. Beautify the outside area. Remember the old Land Lord is gone and not coming back ( did he even offer to sell you the property prior?) so don't say Mr. Smith let us wash our cars with the hose. Water bills here for example are sky high. If you find it's not a good fit you can always move. But the previous tenants who have made my life easier never got a rent increase.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Seriously, mow his lawn? I'd hope that at least the landlord would be providing the lawn mower and gas, and knocking a bit off the rent for the lawn service.

I'll help landlords out by notifying them immediately if something goes wrong--a leak, a broken window, bats in the attic. And taking care of little things like a plugged toilet myself, not calling them for every loose screw.

But if I'm doing work that the landlord should be providing, like shoveling snow (which Boston landlords have to do within, what, 8 hours of the end of a snowfall?), I'd expect some compensation for the work. And that being said, I do shovel my way down the stairs and out to my car, because I usually have to leave for work long before my landlord gets around to clearing the snow. But if I were expected to shovel out the entire sidewalk and driveway, I'd be paying less rent those months.

A good tenant doesn't damage the landlord's property. Pays rent on time. Keeps things clean.

But if the definition of a good tenant is that they do lawn care and snow removal and property maintenance, then I'm a horrible tenant.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 6:34AM
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But if the definition of a good tenant is that they do lawn care and snow removal and property maintenance, then I'm a horrible tenant.

I'm thinking that if I wanted to mow grass and shovel driveways, I'd buy a house. ;-)

I used to have elderly landlords that lived in the same building. On snowy days when I left early for work, I would clean off their cars and shovel a path for them. That was just because they were elderly.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Where I live, if you rent a HOUSE, you are in charge of the yard work and the snow shoveling in front of the house.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 4:30PM
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"I don't even know the closing date on the house. I am going to reach out to my lawyer today."

It is nice that you have a lawyer you can speak to. Good luck with your new landlord. Hope all works out well.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Generally All the legal notices are worthless unless he officially owes that house. Moreover He can't force you immediately to rent increment as the things are acquired with all assets and liabilities. So you must consult the previous owner as well and also must have an idea about the law of your state.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 6:22AM
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