What to do if my landlord verbally agreed to renew a 1 year lease but before the new lease was signed, she changed her mind and sold the house instead?

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What to do if my landlord verbally agreed to renew a 1 year lease but before the new lease was signed, she changed her mind and sold the house instead?

When she verbally agreed to renew the lease I relied on it and used some savings for a business opportunity. Now I don’t have money to move and no lease renewal. What can I do?

Asked on October 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately for you there is no legal recourse with respect to the promised one (1) year lease by the former landlord that never came to fruition. Had you entered into a written lease then your lease would have come with the home when it was sold.

I suggest that you get a bridge loan if you do not have the money to move presently. Another option is to try and lease the home from the new owner.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You probably have no rights in this case:

1) A landlord who owns property is entitled to sell it at any time. If there is a lease in effect, the buyer becomes the new landlord under that lease; but if the lease is not in effect, you  can't force the buyer to lease to you  if he/she doesn't want to do so in a case like this--and you can't enforce the prior landlord's promise to  renew the lease since it is impossible to force someone to lease property to you if they don't own it (the law does not enforce impossible agreements).

2) The fact that you chose to use money for a business opportunity is not the landlord's concern and does not give you recourse UNLESS you can somehow show that the landlord knew you'd use the money for business and specifically offered to renew your lease to get you to do so, which is hardly likely to be the case. (If it were the case, you should speak with an attorney: you *may* be able, depending on the specific circumstances, to seek some compensation under the theory of "promissory estoppel.")


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