If an apartment community is purchased by another management company, can that new management company change the terms of my lease?

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If an apartment community is purchased by another management company, can that new management company change the terms of my lease?

The community that I live in has just been bought out by another management company. Today I received a notice demanding 2 things that are contrary to my lease. In my lease, it clearly states that I do not have to have renters insurance and that it’s an “option” and not required. Also in my lease it states that the rent is due on the 1st and late on the 3rd. The new management company is stating that we must have $100k in renters insurance by 12/10 and that the rent is due on the 1st and anything received after that is subject to fees and late charges. Can they do this?

Asked on November 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While the lease is still in effect--i.e. as long it's term is not up and it's not expired--then someone buying the property from the former landlord cannot change the lease. Instead, whoever buys rental property takes it subject to--i.e. is bound by--any leases that are in force. Of course, that doesn't mean that the new owner cannot change anything that the lease gives it an option to. For example, if the "option" about insurance was that the landlord had the option of requring it, the new landlord could make that choice. If there was any grounds for the imposition of late charges, the new landlord could impose it per those grounds. So they have to honor the specific terms of the lease, but anything the old landlord did voluntarily, the new one can do differently.

BTW, getting the renter's insurance *is* a good idea; I've always had it as a renter and conventional wisdom is renter's should maintain it.


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