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I am in escrow for a property that has 3 units and is fully occupied. Am I allowed to speak with the existing tenants?

Los Angeles, CA |

My real estate agent and the seller's agent has advised me that it's illegal for me to contact and speak with the existing tenants because I'm not yet legally the owner of the property. However, I'd like to see if I can work out a deal with the existing tenants before my contingency periods are up, so I have options and can decide if I want to continue to move forward or not. Is it true that it's illegal for me to contact the existing tenants because we haven't closed escrow and I'm not the "legal" owner yet?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Nothing illegal about contacting the tenants, regardless of whether or not you're the legal owner. However, entering into agreements with the tenants may be difficult if you are not the legal owner yet.


  2. I don't know of any law that would be violated by your contacting the existing tenants.

    However, I can easily imagine situations where your contacting the tenants - especially if you do not become the owner - could subject you to liability for interfering with the existing owner's contractual relationships with those tenants.

    This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


  3. As pointed out in responses above that even though not "illegal" yet potential liability issues as well as inability of contractual creation and as pointed out in responses to your similar posting you have an agent and all communications and inquiries should be funneled through them to avoid potential issues of liability. Best of luck.

    In addition to AVVO's disclaimer, please note that by this answer no attorney client relationship is intended mor entered into and unless there is a signed retainer agreement in place, neither me nor anyone in our office has intended to solicit clients nor reprints them. The answers are general in nature and without weighing specifics of particular query. No answer should be relied on in whole or in part, directly or otherwise to act or not to act in pursue of any of your potential claims in law or equity. You should consult with and obtain advise or representation of an attorney to protect your rights regarding your case or matter.


  4. My colleagues have all pointed out issues that you need to consider before contacting any of the tenants. Best of luck.

    Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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