Does a new owner have the authority to ask for rent that a tenant owes the old landlord?

We owe rent to our landlord; he sold the building and now the new owner gave us an eviction paper to pay rent that we owe the old landlord. When we signed the contract we were in high school, now we are in college and we are over 18 years old, can he use the name of all the adults in the house to take us to court for not paying the rent to the old landlord?

Asked on July 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is a lot going on here.  A new landlord is in "privity of estate" with you, so he can collect new rents even if there is no lease between you and him. 

Generally, a new landlord has no right to collect rents from before he bought the property.  That said, the old landlord may have assigned the right to collect those rents by contract, but you don't really know if they did that or not.

As far as the past rent being collected from you...persons under 18 cannot contract.  I don't understand "use the name of all the adults in the house"--does that mean the people who were adults before or adults now?  If you were under 18 and living with family members when the past rent was incurred, you are not liable to pay the debt of your family members who signed the lease.  He would have to sue the people who signed the lease and were over 18.  If he sues you now for a lease that your not on and were under 18 when it was incurred, you will have a very good defense in court.


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