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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102162
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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My husband and I have been living in our Grandfathers home

Customer Question

My husband and I have been living in our Grandfathers home for several years now. He does not live on the property. We handled all repairs, updated anything that would effect the safety of the house etc, we also pay rent.
We have been renting out the basement, and pass on the rent to our GF. We have a new renter that has lived here around 5 months. She signed a lease that would giver her a thirty day notice to move, the lease is with my husband
We have been asked to move out by our uncle who will be moving in after we leave. Our renter is obviously upset and now wants to look into her legal rights. Who is ultimately responsible if any legal actions should ensue regarding the renter? Anyhting else we should know? We live in Salt Lake City ut.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. Can you please clarify:

1) Did your grandfather authorize the lease?

2) How long was the lease for on paper?

3) Is he asking only you to leave, or also the renter?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. He did, but his name isn't on the contract, our's is.2. One year3. We are all being asked to leave.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

This is a confusing situation because you were essentially acting as a "Property Manager" for the grandfather, which is an agent who helps the landlord and can act on behalf of the landlord. However, you put your name on the lease, which can also be argued to make you the landlord yourself.

There is no statutory law that speaks to this situation, so it would be on a case by case matter.

The tenant can argue that you were the landlords, and you deceived the tenant by claiming that you had a right to lease. Even if you did not deceive him, by putting on your name on the lease, you became the landlord and since the lease is ending early, the liability is yours and they can sue you for the difference in a comparable lease for the remainder of the original lease's time.

Someone in your situation can argue that you were only acting as an agent for the landlord (see above), and that your name on the lease is a clear mistake and one that the tenant knew of, and that the tenant always knew that the grandfather was the actual landlord. As such, it is the grandfather that is really breaching the lease, and he should be pursued, and not you.

Then, the Court decides what is fair here, after hearing all parties. I will be honest - if your names are ***** ***** the lease as landlord, then the Court is likely to view someone in your position as the landlord as the overwhelming presumption is that whatever was signed was agreed upon and understood by both parties. However in the end, it all depends on the situation and what all parties claim. If the tenant admits in Court that they always knew the grandfather was the actual landlord, then the Court may shift the liability to the grandfather.

Good luck.

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I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question. I am simply touching base because you had not rated positively. Let me know. Thanks!

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