Must a new owner honor a rental and keep the utilities on?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Must a new owner honor a rental and keep the utilities on?

Closing today on property. Previous owner has rented the cottage and been paid up to the 16th of this month. There is no written contract. The previous owner notified me last night that the utilities will be shut off today after closing. Am I legally responsible for turning them back on? I do not want to honor the rental in any way.

Asked on August 5, 2011 New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When you buy a property that has tenants, you buy the property subject all leases and agreements with those tenants. That is, you *must* honor the lease terms in place (including providing utilities) when you bought the premises, and you cannot evict the tenant at will.

That said, if there is not written contract, the tenant will be a month to month tenant. That means you can give the tenant notice (one month's notice) that the tenancy will be terminated. After that month, if the tenant has not voluntarily left, you can go to court to evict him or her (you can only evict through the court; you can't just change locks, turn off utilities, etc.) Best would be to hire an attorney to handle this for you; it will cost a few hundred dollars, but make sure you get rid of the tenant as fast as possible, without any liability to you for breach of lease or improper eviction.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption