We purchased a foreclosed office building directly from the bank in Georgia. The tenant from the previous owner, that is, the owner before the property was foreclosed, is still occupying the space. He claims that he had a verbal lease contract with the previous owner of the property for an indefinite period with a very low rent price. What would be the obligation of the new owner in this situation? There is no written contract with him and the previous owner, nor is there any contract with us. How do we get him out of the building?
You get him out by following the law, to the letter, concerning notice and the filing of a commercial dispossessory. Assuming you have never done one, it is well worth a relatively small amount to have a lawyer who regularly handles these cases. They can do it quickly and easily. Since doing it wrong could mean 2-3 more months of free rent, it'll pay for itself.
I agree with my colleague. There are not such things as a verbal lease. What happens is that it is treated as a default month-to-month if not in writing. The Statute of Frauds requires certain contracts, such as those concerning property, to be in writing.
As noted, just follow legal procedure to get him out and you should not have any problems.
I too would suggest hiring a lawyer to handle it for you.
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Construction / Development Lawyer
As indicated, the safest course is to follow the letter of the law and treat them as a month-to-month tenant and to terminate the lease in accordance with the law. There may be other issues to discuss such as fixtures and items to remove. As a practical matter, if the tenant has been paying rent in a timely manner and is otherwise a good tenant, you may want to seek a written lease for a higher rent (which may not be 100% of market) which may save you costs and save them relocation and other costs. This is one of those situations where you would likely be wise to have legal counsel. If I can be of any help, please contact me.
Disclosure: This answer and any information contained in this answer is not intended to be treated as legal advice. It is for informational purposes to educate about legal issues. You should contact an attorney for specific legal advice for your situation. Specific legal advice based on full knowledge of your specific situation and all facts may differ from general information. This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship or privilege of any kind. This attorney actively licensed only in the State of Georgia. If this is a Georgia matter, you may of course contact me to discuss possible representation. FEEDBACK: Both AVVO and other readers are interested in your feedback on the quality of the answers. Please check the “thumbs up” symbol if you find an answer helpful.