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Landlord demanded rent for time they didn't own house

Albany, NY |

Hi. I rent an apartment and a couple months ago the house was sold and a new owner took over. They purchased the house mid month. They immediately asked me for rent for that entire month as well as wanting the normal rent for the coming month. Can they ask for rent that was payable to the old landlord? I had done some things around the house for the old landlord and that was supposed to be covered. We paid it because we were afraid we were going to be thrown out if we didn't. We didn't have money for moving expenses.

I actually have a handwritten note from the landlord telling me that as long as he owned the house I did not have to worry about the rent. Obviously half of the month he did own the house. Is information in a closing public record? If the new landlord needs a written agreement in a closing then it would seem something that might be important.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Dear Albany Tenant:

    Once paid is too late to ask. The new owner likely took the house subject to your existing tenancy and any rent owed by you to the last owner was assigned to the new owner at the closing. You may have been within your right to request proof of the assignment of rent. But since you had nothing written down and signed by the last owner that he waived his right to the last month rent, even had you requested a copy of the assignment of rents and leases, you had nothing to back up your claim that you did not owe that amount of rent to the old landlord.

    Your tenancy will last as long as your lease. If the new owner catches on to you then maybe you could add time to your lease. But if you are month to month, the new owner has the right to end your tenancy with a one month notice and does not need a reason to do so.

    Good luck.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

  2. If the rent was unpaid at the time of the closing the new landlord is entitled to collect the rent by agreement between himself and the prior landlord. The sale of the house in no way affects your obligation to pay rent .

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  3. You correctly paid the new owner rent. If the prior owner owes you money for work you did while he was the owner, ask him for that money - or sue him in small claims court. The new owner will be able to supply you with the prior owner's new address, it's on their transfer documents from the closing.
    Good luck.

    I may be guessing or not licensed in your state. No atty/client relationship exists.

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