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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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