Who do i pay my rent to – the landlord or landowner?

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Who do i pay my rent to – the landlord or landowner?

My landlord and property owner are 2 different people. My property owner is telling me that I have to pay him even though my contract is with the landlord. What are my rights? I need to know who to pay.

Asked on June 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You pay the person the contract (a lease is a contract) is with--since if you don't, you are in breach of the contract and could be sued and/or evicted--until and unless that person indicates to you that you pay someone else (and if they do, you should get that instruction in writing, to protect yourself).

If there is a dispute between the property owner and the landlord (for example, the landlord is not turning over to the property owner the amount of money he should), they can work that out between themselves--your obligation is to keep honoring your contract.

Note that it would be a different case if the property owner is claiming that the "landlord" is not actually your landlord, and had no right to rent the space--e.g. it's a scam, and the landlord has no legal connection to the property. In that case, you might end up having to pay the property owner, but the best thing to do would be to retain an attorney, bring a legal action for a "declaratory judgment" in which the court would determine who has the right to be paid, and in the meantime, have the lawyer "escrow" the rent money in an attorney trust account:  that way, the money is sitting there safe to be paid to whomever it is determined has the legal right to receive it.


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