If a landlord puts a rental house on market and asks thetenant to allow the house to shown, does the tenant have the right to leave with a 30 day notice?

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If a landlord puts a rental house on market and asks thetenant to allow the house to shown, does the tenant have the right to leave with a 30 day notice?

Landlord has stated that if we leave before the house is sold we will be liable for the last 3 months rent but if it sells he said he will allow us not to pay the remaining 3 months. Since he has decided to sell the home, we found a place to live that will rent to us indefinitely and we will still be in the area for our jobs. He will not let us leave early and is threatening us.

Asked on January 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written lease, the landlord is not obligated to allow you to terminate the lease early simply because he is selling or showing the home, unless the lease itself provides that you can terminate early in that case. Otherwise, the landlord may sell the home with you as tenants; the buyer becomes your new landlord and the lease stays in force. If the landlord choose to let you out of the lease early (or to allow you to not pay) under certain circumstances (e.g. he successfully sells the home), that is his choice; and since it is voluntary, he can put any conditions on it that he likes.

Therefore, if you don't meet his conditions, you would be liable for the rent.

Note that if there is no written lease, you may terminate the lease on 30 days notice--so, at most you'd have to pay one month.

Joseph Gasparrini

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Based on your statement that "he (the landlord) will not let us leave early," I assume that you have a written lease that has not expired.  Your question whether you can be required to pay the last three months of the lease.  In the jurisdictions that I am familiar with, the fact that the landlord begins to market the property during the term of the lease does not give the tenant any right to vacate the premises and cease paying the rent as required under the lease.  Based on the law of the jurisdictions that I am familiar with, the tenant in this situation would be required to pay rent through the end of the lease unless the landlord agreed to terminate the lease earlier.


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