We are in the process of buying a 2 family home in Massachusetts and we will be occupying the home ourselves and not renting it out. How do we evict the current tenant?
The answer is "it depends." If the tenant has a lease agreement with the current owner and that agreement extends beyond the date when you intend to purchase the property, then you cannot evict the tenant unless the tenant gives you "cause" -- e.g., fails to pay rent, violates another condition of the lease agreement, etc. You should have an experienced landlord-tenant attorney review the facts and advise you about your options.
I agree with attorney Demerle answer but would add one caveat to the answer eviction actions are personal meaning that if the tenant had done things that would qualify for an eviction for cause those bad acts were a violation of the agreement that the tenant had with the prior owner. Those rights do not transfer to a new owner automatically.
You can get around this by having your closing attorney specifically put in the P & S that the rights and liabilities regarding the tenants specifically transfer from the old owner to the new owner.
The one caveat is that the liabilities also transfer so if the tenant had any claims against the old landlord you would also inherit those so be careful.
Also, ask your closing attorney if it would be possible for the seller to warrant that there are no possible claims or actions that the tenant could have brought but has not. For instance defects in the apartment.
It's a common occurrence that people who are buying properties end up inheriting tenants that they didn't intend to get. It's unclear from your question why you want the tenant out or whether the current owner has made any attempts to evict them. It's VERY important to consult with a landlord attorney PRIOR to closing. If you don't execute certain documents at closing, such as an assignment of rights, you will not be able to piggy-back on anything done by the prior owner, and you will have to start any eviction from scratch. If your original P&S said the house would be delivered vacant, you may also have grounds to request additional payments from the current owner for breaching the P&S. However if you accept the deed at closing prior to negotiating these issues, you will waive any rights to extra payments as well. Evicts can take anywhere from 1 month to a year or more, and can cost only a couple hundred dollars or potentially a few thousand.
I am a Massachusetts attorney and answer questions based on Massachusetts law. The above answer is for educational purposes only and does not create an attorney client relationship or constitute legal advice.
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