Profile picture for emacko

Newly rented house and owner is trying to sell it. Do we have any say?

Me and a few friends recently rented a house and signed a year and a half lease. It turns out that the landlord isn't the actual owner, but instead it's owned by his ex-girlfriend. We've only been living here for about 3 months and she just put a for sale sign in our yard and a lock box on the door. I'm trying to dig up the lease, but I was wondering what my options looked like?
  • October 27 2011 - Bellaire
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Answers (11)

I suggest contacting the Agent that you worked with on the Rental first. Public record should show who the legal owner of the property is. If the boyfriends name does not appear on the ownership records you may have a problem. Also find out the name on the listing agreement. If the name on the listing agreement does not match with the legal owner. You may have a problem.
  • October 30 2011
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Profile picture for JSteinHomes
I recommend contacting an attorney immediately. Due to the question of the legality of your lease, you may not have the rights that you should be entitled to.
  • October 29 2011
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The real questions seems to be is the landlord actually bound in anyway by the lease you signed. You should comfirm my comments with a real estate attorney.

First: Did the boyfriend have a valid and current power of attorney? If not you may not in fact have a valid lease. In that case you could be considered a squatter.

Second: Have you been paying rent to the ex-boyfriend or the true landlord? If she has been cashing your rent checks it would be evidence of the fact that she knew you were tenants and you would have tenants rights as defined by your area.. Whether she was aware of the terms of the lease is  still an open question.

Does she even know you are living there? If she is out of area she might not even know which could again make you a squatter. Best way to find out is to call the listing agent and see if she knows the property is tenant occupied. If the agent knows chances are the owner knows unless the ex-boyfriend signed the listing documents too

In any event unless the owner knew and endorsed the lease  - that is signed her own name, you will likely have to consider moving.

  • October 29 2011
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The agent that put the sign on the yard is obligated by law to have a signed lease agreement from the owner.  You should ask them for the contact of the owner.

Naima
  • October 28 2011
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Profile picture for emacko
Yeah, the problem is I have no contact or information to contact the actual owner. I'm not exactly sure if he signed her name or if she signed it because her signature is dated 2 months before ours. There was a Real Estate agent on our side dealing with the landlord. The lease says that a keybox may be placed on the property during the last 45 days of the lease. I don't necessarily trust the current landlord so I want to get in touch with his ex-girlfriend, the actual owner.
  • October 28 2011
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You need to call the owner directly and find out from them what's going on.  She may have given a power of attorney to the boyfriend.  Even with a POA he should have signed his name not hers. 

Was there a Real Estate agent invoved when you leased it?  on either side?

Does your lease allow for a lockbox to be put on the door.  This is typical but has to be agreed upon in the lease.

Find out if they are marketing the house for investors.  This way you don't have to leave.  This is typical too.

Good luck,

Naima

  • October 28 2011
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Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
Talk to an attorney, right away.
  • October 28 2011
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
If someone signs someone elses name on a legal document that is fraud. Fraud being illegal is best reported to the police or District Attorney.
  • October 27 2011
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Profile picture for Matt Bain

Without question take a careful look at the lease...from what you've said it appears that his name appears on the lease, however he is not the owner of he property. If that's the case it would appear that you signed a lease under a false pretense. Check your landlord-tenant guidelines for your state. There are usaully specific stipulations in the lease as to when and if the owner can attempt to sell the home during the term of the lease.
Good luck!

  • October 27 2011
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Profile picture for emacko
Thanks for the quick reply.

1. Access: Landlord will attempt to first contact tenant, but may enter the property at reasonable times without notice to make repairs or to show the property to prospective tenants or buyers...

2. Nope, no special comments about the sale.

3. It turns out that he signed her name as the landlord and considering the circumstance, it doesn't seem like he would have the legal right to do so.
  • October 27 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Pull out your lease and investigate.    Pull up the Texas landlord/tenant laws at the same time.  Some states have hotlines to call on these subjects.

There are a couple of things to investigate:

1.  What amount of notice is required for non-emergency access?  

2.  Are there specific comments about sale?

3.  Did the boyfriend have the legal right to sign the lease?

  • October 27 2011
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