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Tenant's rights in a short sale

West Palm Beach, FL |

Hello,
my wife, 8month old daughter and me are living since 2 1/2 years as tenants in a private own townhouse. After the first year, it changed to a month to month lease. I never been delayed with a payment over the renting time.
About 1 1/2 months ago we received by phone the information from our landlords, that they are going into a short sale. They said they let us know when they get closer ideas when this will close. We kept paying rent in that time !
On 12/31/12 I received an email that our month to month lease will be terminated on 12/31/12 and that the property will be under new ownership (we paid for December rent) on 01/15/13.
Is there any way for us to extend our stay in that property until I found a new home for my family ?
What happens if we stay after their closing day of

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

Since this a month to month, they have to give fifteen day prior to the end of the payment period. So you should have until the end of January. The new owners take ownership subject to your lease. This is a general statement, you should review with a local attorney to review your specific circumstances.

Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Hello Jed, thanks for taking your time for us. So according to your statement.. in our case a two week time would be dated correctly for 1/15/13 because we received the termination email on 12/31/12, correct ? so no way 30 days ? Below Jacueline says because of a month to month they can terminate and kick us out any time, is that correct ?

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

I don't agree with Ms. Salcines completely on this matter. Florida statue 83.57 controls the notice period for non writtem

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

(sorry hit the wrong button) written leases. You have a valid lease so it remains in effect. Ms Graham gave a very thorough answer which you should review as well. the email could be construed as written notice, but you should have until the end of January, not the middle.

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions, but I would recommend talking to a local attorney.

Asker

Posted

Thank you Jed ! Im just a bit cofused if we have now 2 weeks or a month in Florida and if email is considered as a proper way to give us the termination or if a certified letter is necessary from them to terminate us in the legal way

Asker

Posted

I have a typo as well in my first statement. We paid the last time rent on 12/03/12 what has been for the month of december

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

I double checked the statute and a mailed letter is required. Certified letters are just to prove it was delivered. If you have not paid the January rent, you should do so per Ms. Graham's recommendation. In Florida, where the tenancy is from month to month, by giving not less than 15 days’ notice prior to the end of any monthly period. So if they don't give you notice within the proper time, then you can get more than a month notice, but it can't be less than 15 days. if they do not give you written notice 15 days prior to the end of the month, then you can possibly get to the end of February.

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

if you do pay the rent, then they can evict you for nonpayment of rent.

Asker

Posted

Great ! thank you Jed ! that helps a lot. Not that I dont want to pay rent but I heard that Owners are not allowed to receive rent for the property they selling through a short sale. Any truth on that as well ?

Asker

Posted

So does it effect us if they want/are closing the short sale on the 15th of January ?? Can the new Owner just evict us right away for trespassing?

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

No. If they own the property, they have the right to the rent. This is true even if the property is in foreclosure. Once the property is sold, the buyer can collect the prorated rent from the seller, but that is dependent on their agreement. The bigger issue is the escrow deposits. Many times buyers forget to collect that money, but it shouldn't effect you really.

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

The new owner takes your property subject to your lease.

Asker

Posted

Jed, you been fantastic help for me and my family. We are in a really desprate situation and we are looking to find a new home asap but this notice came pretty surprsingly. For some reason they want us out before the closing date. Great ! so I will let them know to send us a proper termination letter for us to move out and we will have then time 15 days upon receiving that letter... EVEN if they close the short sale on 01/15/12 ?

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

They want you out by the closing because the buyer is likely wanting to live in the unit. Or the buyer wants to rent the unit out at a higher rate. You could try to negotiate moving out sooner if the landlord pays your moving expenses or deposits.

Asker

Posted

its an investor company.. thats what we got told. For us its just important that we get not dragged out by officials on the 15th and all our belongings are lost inside the property

Jed R Prest

Jed R Prest

Posted

They cannot self help. If they lock you out or attempt forfeit you personal property you have legal remedies and can speak damages. You need to attempt to contact a local attorney right away.

Posted

If the lease is month to month they have the right to terminate at any time. Your best bet is to talk to the buyer and work a deal out with them

Asker

Posted

Hello Jacqueline ! Thank you for taking your time! Terminate yes, but kick us out within 15 days as well ?

Asker

Posted

we dont get the new buyers information. The sellers realtor dont want to deal with us and because its a investment company they dont want to deal with us neither - all according to our landlords

Posted

Dear month-to-month Tenant:

Florida law protects month-to-month tenants by requiring the landlord to give written notice of at least fifteen days' time that the lease is being terminated.

if you pay rent on the first of the month, the landlord must give you written notice that you receive at least 15 days before the beginning of the next pay period. It must be written and it must be sent certified mail. So, for them to terminate the lease as of 2-1-13, they must send you a written notice that you receive at least by 1-15-2013. If they don't do that, then you must attempt to pay them the rent on 2-1-13 or before.

The new owner will have the exact same rights and responsibilities as the current owner. That is, the new owner will take over the role of landlord and will have to follow the law, also. If you have a security deposit with the current owner, he/she will have to refund it to you or turn it over to the new owner who purchases. If they fail to turn it over to you or the new owner, you will have to write them a demand letter and mail it certified mail asking for your deposit back.

If you have not paid January rent, pay it now. If necessary, send it certified mail and pay in a money order (keep a photo copy of the money order and keep the stub) or cashiers check ( keep a photo copy of the cashiers check and keep the carbon copy).

Good luck.

if you stay past the closing date, you will be okay as long as neither the old owner nor the new purchaser has sent you a proper termination letter. you can also decide to move and mail them a certified letter stating that you are moving and will turn in keys as of 1-31-13, as long as you mail it and they receive it by 1-15-13. Or you can do the same thing in february, write a letter stating that you are moving out, will turn in keys as of the last day of February, and make sure to send it certified so that they get it at least fifteen days before 2-28-13 or 2-29-13 if 2013 is a leap year.

If you pay on a day other than the first, the same rules apply, just adjust the 15 day rule to suit your periodic payment. If you pay on the 16th of each month, you would have to receive the letter from the landlord 15 days before then in order for it to be a good termination. If you pay on the 16th and you want to move, you will have to write the letter, send it certified mail, and have the current owner (whoever that is at the time you write the letter) and make sure they receive it at least 15 days before the next rent is due.

When you do move, be sure to remove your items, clean really well, take lots of pictures, and then meet the landlord to turn over keys and have a move-out inspection.

Good luck!

Carol Lynne Zimmerly

Carol Lynne Zimmerly

Posted

It seems from the facts that the current landlord did not properly terminate the lease agreement. If you want to be out by 1-31-13, then write them the letter soon that you are terminating as of 1-31-13 (be sure that you really can be out by then). They have to receive it at least 15 days before 2-1-13. If you don't want to move by 1-31-13, then don't write them until 1-16-2013. In that letter, you would inform them that they did not properly terminate the lease agreement.

Asker

Posted

wow great answer ! thank you so much. I got told that the Owner are not allowed to rent it out while they are in a short sale .. ? we paid for december anyway but will this be legit even if they would close on January 15ht ?

Asker

Posted

Carolyn.. is that for a fact also in a month to month lease? All we have in writing was the 1 year lease.. after that lease in June 2011 we never renewed the lease .. as we assumed its a month to month term automatically. saying they didnt terminate properly.. does an email from them count?

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