What to do if a new owner has informed me that my lease was invalid?

I’ve moved into a 3 story apartment building. I signed a lease and began paying rent to the company who owned the building. Last month I came home to find a sign on the door saying that the building had been sold and that I was now to pay rent to a different company. After calling the Assessors office and confirming that this new company did indeed now own the building, I payed the rent. The property manager came over to fix some outstanding issues and informed me that since the last company who had ownership of the building didn’t sign my lease, it was invalid. I’m concerned because I’ve paid a deposit and there are other outstanding issues(mold and leakage) that are being ignored.

Asked on January 21, 2013 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Based upon what you have written, the new property owner is estopped from claiming you do not have a lease for the unit that you occupy before the prior owner sold it which is not signed. Under the laws of all states in this country, you have a valid lease under its terms because you have performed under it and actually occupy the unit and have paid rent.

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