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Can a landlord sell the home while still under lease agreement.

Kent, WA |

Our lease is for 2 yrs effective 7/11/08 to 7/11/10. The landlord, without notice, has put the house on the market to sell. Can he do that when the lease isn't even up yet and can he show the home invading our privacy?

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Attorney answers 2


Unless your rental agreement requires that the landlord gives you notice of his intent or seeks your approval to sell the house, the landlord does not need to give you notice or your permission to sell his property. For example, if you have a rent-to-own situation, you may have the right to be the first to decide whether to buy the property.

Unless your rental agreement has a provision that terminates your tenancy upon the sale of the house, the new owner would take the property subject to the lease. That is, you can stay as long as you do not violate the lease or law.

If your rental is subject to Chapter 59.18 RCW (Residential landlord-tenant act), you can review those statutes to see what rights and responsibilities you and the landlord have with each other. The statutes are at .

RCW 59.18.210 (Tenancies from year to year except under written contract) provides: "Tenancies from year to year are hereby abolished except when the same are created by express written contract. Leases may be in writing or print, or partly in writing and partly in print, and shall be legal and valid for any term or period not exceeding one year, without acknowledgment, witnesses or seals." That is, a lease lasting more than a year, must meet some statutory requirements. The lease that you have may not have met the statutory requirements and therefore may not be enforceable.

RCW 59.18.150 (Landlord's right of entry – Purposes – Searches by fire officials – Conditions) provides when the landlord may enter the property.

The provisions of your lease, as long as they do not conflict with the RLTA, may additionally define the rights and responsibilities you and the landlord have with each other.

Sometimes, owners find selling a vacant property is better than selling one that is occupied. If you are looking for ways to move out without incurring penalties, perhaps you can negotiate with the landlord. If you want to stay, you can also negotiate with the landlord for some concessions. For example, you can agree to keep the property in showroom condition if the landlord agrees to show the house only for a short time or to give you a long advance notice.


If you and your landlord both acknowledged your signatures, then you may have a 2-year lease. If not the Court will determine it is a one year lease, becoming a month-to-month agreement after that.

Agreements regarding real property that cannot be executed within one year violate the Statute of Frauds. This is not anything you did wrong, but that is what the Court will do with this agreement.

Your landlord has the right to sell the property during the lease term subject to the lease term.

Your landlord can show the property (or have an agent show it) on 24 hour's notice to you.

Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell

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