What can I do if I purchased a home and the seller doesn’t want to pay rent or move out?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do if I purchased a home and the seller doesn’t want to pay rent or move out?

I recently closed escrow and had a written agreement that the seller would rent for 2 weeks. It has now been 17 days and he refuses to pay rent or move out, even after he closed his own escrow. I don’t think it’s right that I have to pay the mortgage when I am not living there. What are my rights?

Asked on July 26, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You sue him. Since he is a tenant who is now in breach of the rental agreement by not paying rent and by "holding over" after the end of his tenancy, you would most likely file for eviction in landlord-tenant court. That said, it's not impossible that a judge could consider this, due to the context (former owner remaining in the home), not a "tenancy" ation but rather one where a "guest" or "squatter" has not left and require you to instead bring the conceptually similar but procedurally different "ejectment" action. In any event, you have a right to remove them, because they have no right to live in your home under these circumstances, but because this is not the run-of-the-mill situation, you are *strongly* advised to retain a landlord-tenant attorney to help you and make sure you are filing the correct action in the correct way.
Separately from the above (since for court procedural reasons, this is often a separate lawsuit), you can sue the person for the value of the   time they have lived their illegally: e.g. for the mortgage, utilities, insurance, property taxes, etc. you have had to expend on the home while they live there illegally. Your attorney can guide you on this.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

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