What to do if I’m short-selling my duplex but my tenant won’t co-operate?

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What to do if I’m short-selling my duplex but my tenant won’t co-operate?

The tenant has refused to pay rent for the last 6 months. We are close to closing but now the tenant refuses to sign the estoppel certificate. I need this certificate signed because I can not find the current lease. I want to take them to court for back pay. What documents can help in court if I don’t have a lease?

Asked on January 2, 2013 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the tenant has not paid rent, evict him or her for nonpayment: the tenant has no right to possession without paying. You can evict for nonpayment even without  a copy of the written lease. You will testify as to the lease terms and the failure to pay; have anyone else with knowledge (e.g. a spouse; a manager or realtor who helps manage the rental, if any) also testify; bring any/all emails or letters which support the terms of the tenancy, the amount due, and that rent has not been paid; bring rent receipts, a tenant ledger, bank statements, etc. which help prove what the rent was, when it was paid, and when the tenant stopped paying.


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