Tenant Refuses To Leave When House Is Sold

Every house owner has the right to sell his property at his will for any reason. However, there is a restriction to these rights when the property was rented. Selling a house that has a tenant currently occupying the house is not as easy as many people may think. There are many issues to be considered before asking a tenant to leave a house after selling it. There are legal procedures to be followed in this case considering the nature of agreements in existence between the landlord and the tenant.  The article also outlines what to do when the tenant refuses to leave when the house is sold.

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Rights of Tenants

The legal statutes differ by state on rights of tenant after a house has been sold. Mostly the rights protect the tenants and therefore landlords have to be aware of these rights. The landlords have the right to legally evict their tenants but there are conditions that have to be met. These laws help both the landlord and tenant to settle their differences legally. Despite the differences in these statutes by state, the framework is the same and this article applies basically to different scenarios where a tenant refuses to leave a house when the house is sold. Both the tenant and the landlord need to be aware of the legal requirements for these kind of scenarios.

The tenant has the right to receive notice to vacate the premises. The owner must give a notice to the tenant depending on the notice requirements for each state. It is important for the landlord to familiarize himself with the local landlord-tenant rights or consult a legal expert to give advice on the proper procedure. In some states, the regulations prescribe a 30 day notice period while in some cases 90-day notice period is required. The statutes also gives the tenant the right to occupy the house after change of ownership. The statutes decree that the tenant has an agreement tied to the property not to the owner. So in case the owner sells the house, the tenant is rightfully obliged to occupy the house until the lease elapses if it exists.

Rights of Landlords

On the other hand, landlords also have their own rights when it comes to their property. Landlords have the right to sell their property when they want to sell as long due processes are done. The tenant should not interfere with the landlord or complicate the process of selling the house. The landlord also has the right to bring prospective buyers for viewing upon giving the tenant a 24-hour notice. The tenant should not refuse the landlord his rights and if the tenant has any queries he or she should ask the landlord or consult a legal practitioner. The tenant should also vacate the premises without any resistance when due processes and notifications are done.

Evicting a Tenant When The House Is Sold

The process of evicting a tenant from a sold house requires the following steps to be done.

  • Give tenants adequate time of notice of your intent to sell the house. This can be done verbally or through written notice. The period may differ from state to state but California stipulates 120-day notice period and the notice has to be written for fixed term lease tenants.
  • For tenants on monthly leases and tenancy at will leases, the notice period should be 30 days. For tenants who have stayed for more than a year the notice period should be 60 days.
  • For a fixed term lease tenant, you have to make sure that the lease expires or negotiate for the termination of the lease at the will of the tenant to evict him. Once the tenant agrees he or she is entitled to lease termination payout which the landlord should pay.
  • It is illegal to force a tenant out of your house whatever the case may be.
  • For tenants without a lease, a reasonable notice should also be given depending on state regulations but a 30-day period is mostly required.
  • Tenants also should be notified when the potential buyer wants to come and see the house in time which differs by state but mostly 24-hour notice.
  • After the notice period is over the tenant should vacate the premises.

Tenant Refuses to Leave the House

If the tenant refuses to leave when the house is sold after having done all the required processes, this is the time to initiate the court process to get the tenant forcefully evicted. Negotiation rarely works for tenants that have been well served with written notices and still refuses to leave after the notice period elapses. You may need to hire an attorney for the process and allow courts to handle the eviction of your tenant when they refuse to leave when the house is sold.

Avoid Illegal Eviction

Many landlords sometimes resort to forceful and illegal eviction of tenants when they refuse to when the house is sold. This may involve throwing property for the tenant outside the house and locking the tenant outside. If the landlord resort to this he may be charged with illegal eviction in the courts of law. He may also have to pay for property damage if the tenant’s property is damaged or stolen outside the house. Landlords should never take the law into their hands. Legal processes have to be followed always. The relationship becomes awkward in such cases and hence should be avoided by all means.


In all the scenarios, a tenant refusing to leave after the house has been sold must be evicted through a legal process via the courts. The landlord has to make sure that all the rights of the tenant were not violated in due process for the court ruling to be in favor of him. The landlords may need to consult their legal advisers on the eviction process if they are not sure how to go about it.

Also tenants need to have a very valid reason to refuse to leave when the house is sold. If all their rights were not violated by the land lord and they refuse to pay the tenant will most likely face forceful eviction through the courts. Whatever the case may be, everyone should always learn to be a law abiding citizen and avoid taking the law into their hands.