Ask a Landlord-Tenant Question, Get an Answer ASAP!
I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
Are you in an area with rent stabilization or rent controls? Do you have a lease with a set term?
Also, are you in New York City?
If you have 10 years left on the lease, the landlord can't make you move at all. You have a right to be there for another 10 years. His sale of the property has no effect on that right at all - the lease transfers to the new owner, at your current rent, with all clauses intact. The landlord CAN charge you rent for each and every day you're in the space, but you don't have to move unless you want to.
You have a right to CHOOSE to move, to sign another contract that says you'll terminate the lease early. But (a) you can make the landlord pay you for giving up your rights to continue leasing that space and (b) he doesn't get to unilaterally decide when you leave. The termination date would be negotiated and agreed, like everything else. You have a contract, and he can't just decide to terminate it.
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He cannot shorten the time frame without your consent. It's illegal. You do not have to move. If people were allowed to up and change agreements whenever they wanted, there would be no point in entering a contract.
And if he can't prove that you agreed to move in June - then you get to stay 10 years. You can legally negotiate whatever you want. You can require that he pay you any amount you think is fair. He's asking you to do him a favor by moving out. Don't let him take advantage of you. And make sure that anything you DO agree is in writing so he doesn't try to get out of it later.
But without an agreement, he has no basis for making you move. If he changes the locks, you can sue. If he sues for eviction, you'll win. He has no legal right to force you out.
The main thing you can use to negotiate is that a buyer who thinks he's purchasing an empty commercial business is going to be angry to find tenants there and could sue him for breach of contract. Everything he's doing now needed to be worked out and put in writing BEFORE he signed a contract to sell the building.
It is reasonable for you to ask for every penny you'll lose as a result of moving. After all, if you don't move, you lose nothing, so why should you have to move if it's going to cost you money? There has to be some benefit to you in agreeing to move early, or the promise is illusory and unenforceable. A promise to give someone a gift isn't binding, and that's what you have if you agreed to move after he sold the place and he didn't pay you for that promise.
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