Can a new homeowner sue the previous tenant?

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Can a new homeowner sue the previous tenant?

My family had been renting the second floor of a private home for over 5 years, when the previous owner sold the home. The new owner asked us to stay on the condition that we move from the second floor to the first floor. After we moved to the first floor the new owner began renovating the second floor which he now lives in. After a dispute with the new owner we were given a 45 day notice to vacate, which we are complying with. The new owner is now suing us for damages he claims we caused on the second floor. This house was sold directly from the old owner and was not inspected.

Asked on October 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In your situation you were the tenant of the prior owner but also the tenant of the current owner. It is very important that if you have a written lease with the current landlord that you need to carefully read it in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the new landlord does not have a "baseline" to determine the condition of the upstairs unit before you moved into it, he or she will have a difficult time proving that the damages he or she claims you caused were actually caused by you. I suggest that if you have a good relationship with your former landlord that you get him or her involved to state that the conditions of the upstairs unit were the conditions of the unit at close of escrow.

Good luck.


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