Can a new owner charge old owner rent?

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Can a new owner charge old owner rent?

House was sold ‘as is’. There were 7 small items left in the house that were removed a week after closing. New owner wants to charge old owner rent based on this. New owner has been remodeling house since closing. New owner says he can’t occupy the house because of those 7 removed items even though he is occupying it by working on it.

Asked on June 15, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The old owner had no right to leave anything behind--once the sale closes, it is the property of the new owner. If the old owner did leave things behind, he should pay "use and occupancy" for the amount of space they take up--basically, rent. The amount is proportionate to the use those items made of space. Example: say they could fit into and take up the equivalent of one room of a 3 bedroom home. Say the home would rent, in this neighborhood, for $1,800 per month. If the items effectively took up 1/3 of the space for one week, a fair rental might be 1/3 x $1,800 x 1/4 (since one week is 1/4 of a month), or $150.00.


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