Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on March 01, 2002 at 15:36:25:
You will have to continue with whatever lease is in place and stick to it.
You may want to try and get the seller to get an estoppel letter from the tenant. This says they have a lease agreement in effect, the type, length, and that there are no other outstanding documents to purchase, or anything to incumber the property. It will state what their payments are, when they are due, renewals, terminations, etc…
If the seller won’t do it, you can approach the tenant and try to work it from the ‘Good Guy’ approach. Mr./Mrs. Tenant, I am purchasing this duplex and will be the owner in a few weeks/days; I thought I would come by and introduce myself. I would like to verify the information about your lease so that I can make sure I ‘honor’ any lease you currently have with the previous owner. Try to get a copy of the existing lease from the seller before hand so you know what kind of lease it is and what the payments are and when it ends.
Should you decide to keep these tenants, you will have all the information you need in order to raise rents, and/or make changes. You will also be armed for what kind of notices are needed to terminate the lease early and if there is a clause for this.
You might want to have them sign a complete new lease with you on your documents with your terms for price, dates, and other requirements.
Most likely, the current lease is not going to allow you to come in and raise the rent after 1 day, or even terminate the lease. However, there may be provisions in the lease agreement to allow you to give notice of the increase in rents, or a time span that tells you how much time is needed to terminate the lease. Review the existing lease to see what it says you are obligated to do.
If you have time, get the seller to give out whatever notices are needed now before you take possession. Use the time you have before closing to your advantage and get the ball rolling for termination of lease, or rent increase; whatever you are shooting for.