What to do if I made rent-to-own agreement on house and 2 months in the landlord said he wants to put it on the market?

Shortly after moving into the house, the roof began to leak. Last weekend, the landlord came over to “patch” the roof; the patch job did not work and last night the ceiling in the bathroom caved in. I informed the landlord of the damage and was told that he is tired of dealing with the house (after 1 failed repair) and wants me to get a loan to pay for the house or he is going to sell to another buyer. He did not want to sign a lease (because we are friends) but I do have text messages with our agreement terms. Is he legally obligated to hold up his end of the agreement?

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are occupying real property on a rent to own basis and the landlord may place the property on the market to sell to a third person but you may want to buy the property, you should consult with a real estate attorney as to the best way to protect your option to purchase it.

One way is to have the landlord sign before a notary public a memorandum of option for your purchase of the property and have it recorded upon it. If he refuses and then puts the property on the market, your option might be to file a lawsuit against him for breach of contract and record a "lis pendens" on the property that would let all interested parties know that there is litigation pending over the property.

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