THE RULES FOR TENANTS’ RIGHTS WHEN PROPERTY IS SOLD REALLY AREN’T THAT COMPLICATED
I don’t get what’s going on with residential landlords and tenants in Washington DC. I don’t get much of anything that goes on there, but this is something that I thought I knew something about. There’s a law on the books there that requires a residential landlord to give a tenant a right of first refusal if the landlord decides to sell the property. The law seems to be predicated on the notion that the tenant’s right to remain in the property can be terminated by a change of ownership.
But that’s not how it works, at least in jurisdictions like Arizona where common law property rules still have some vitality. If I rent my property (whether it’s residential or commercial) to you under a lease for a term of months, you have the right to stay in the property for the length of that term whether I continue to own the property until the end of the term or not. I can transfer ownership of the property to someone else if I want to, but that ownership is subject to your lease until the lease expires. Once the lease expires, however, I can terminate your occupancy whether I want to move into the property myself, sell it to someone else who wants to occupy it, or lease it to someone else.
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