I am planning on buying a two family home that I live in with tenants on the second level. Their lease was up four years ago and never signed a new agreement. When I close on the house can I tell them I no longer plan on renting out to them?
Yes, but there is a specific process which must be followed in order to terminate a tenancy and, if necessary, evict a tenant. In a situation such as this, where the new owner intends on occupying the one half of the house, it becomes subject to the owner-occupied exception to the Anti-Eviction Law. Once you move into the house (this must be established as your primary residence), you must serve the tenant with a Notice to Quit, terminating the tenancy full one month from the date of service (ideally, the notice should be served before the last day of a month, so that the tenancy will be terminated on the last day of the subsequent month). For example, if you serve the Notice to Quit by October 31, the lease can terminate on November 30; however, if your closing doesn’t occur until November 2 and you move in that day, you can serve the Notice to Quit right away but it cannot take effect until December 31. If the tenant fails to vacate by that date, you will have to file an eviction complaint against them and wait for a trial date to obtain a judgment of possession after which you can request the issuance of a warrant for removal and have the tenant locked out. The attorney representing you in this purchase should be able to handle the issuance of the Notice to Quit so that it is done properly and you do not lose time in terminating that tenancy. If you do not have an attorney, I strongly suggest you retain one as soon as possible.
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