When buying a rented property, do tenant liabilities transfer after closing?

We are closing on a house next month that currently has tenants in it. They are under a land contract that expired 2 years ago, so I assume they have been paying month-to-month since then. We take possession of the house 10 days after closing. Will we become the landlord of the tenants for that 10 days or how does that work? Also, is there a way for the tenants to come back after we close on the house and say that they aren’t leaving for another X amount of time or will they be considered trespassing after that 10 days?

Asked on April 27, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When you buy a house with tenants in it, you buy the house subject to their tenancy: that's because the seller can only sell you what the seller had or owned, which was a house with tenants. They will NOT be trespassers--they are your tenants, and you can only remove (evict) them for the reasons that tenants may be removed:
1) Nonpayment of rent (they have to pay you what they have been paying monthly); 
2) Destruction of your property;
3) Disorderly conduct; or 
4) If there is no written lease but they have paid rent, they are month-to-month tenants under an oral lease--that means you can give them 30 days notice to leave and, if they don't, then file an eviction action to remove them.
Landlord-tenant law can be technical--not necessarily complicated, but very particular, in that if you do something wrong, you can't evict but will have to start over and try again. You are advised to retain a landlord-tenant attorney to help you; the attoreny will also depersonalize matters, and act as a buffer between the tenants and you.
 


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