Can someone act on behalf of our landlord if they are not a signatory on our lease?

Our landlord is overseas and we have been paying our rent and depositing into their bank account. However recently, because he is away, his girlfriend, in another state, has taken over and is demanding on time payments, before the accounts clear and has given us a new lease. However the lease’s signatory is the landlord who is overseas.We have no formal contract with the girlfriend nor is she a signatory of the lease, nor is she part of a joint account of the bank account we are depositing the rent into. She has been demanding certain adjustments. We were late on the rent for a few months this year but we are all caught up. However, she is now asking for a security deposit in 2 days otherwise she will give us a 3 day notice to vacate. Can she do this without some sort of notice from the signatory/landlord? Again, her name is not on the new lease nor is she part of the bank account we deposit into.

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) A landlord may appoint anyone to act as his, her, or its agent in managing a property--often called a "property manager." It does not matter whether the person on the lease or not; the agent or manager is not getting any rights over the property or changing the lease, but is just administering matters for the landlord. Tenants have to deal with whomever the landlord appoints.

2)  As indicated above, all the agent or property manager does is act for the landlord--she may not do anything which the landlord may not. That means that while you may, for example, take action against a tenant for the tenant's lease violation or late/nonpayment (the same way as the  landlord could), the agent or manager may only take the same actions that the landlord would be allowed to and cannot change the terms of the lease--since the landlord him/herself cannot. (Though note: if you are month-to-month tenant, your tenancy may be terminated or the terms changed on 30 days notice, by either landlord or agent.)


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