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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116702
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Do I have to honor a lease signed by an old landlord?

Customer Question

Do I have to honor a lease signed by an old landlord?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If you had a written lease with a landlord and the landlord sells the property to another owner, that lease is considered valid and transfers to the new owner. The only way to not follow the lease by either you or the new landlord would be if the new landlord agrees to terminate the lease. The new landlord is successor in interest in your lease, so he has to agree to terminate it or change the terms and negotiate a new lease with you in order to void that current lease.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Actually, I am a commercial tenant of a space that was foreclosed and acquired by a new landlord. I was not informed of the foreclosure and was unable to exercise my rights to vacate the premises during the foreclosure process. The first inkling I got was when the new landlord arrived to announce that the retail space had been foreclosed. Subsequently, I thought that he represented the bank until I found out later that he was actually the new landlord! Years ago, I had experienced a foreclosure as a residential tenant, and the bank/attorneys were diligent in disseminating information throughout the course, and 26 of 27 tenants of the property lot broke their leases -- I was the only one who opted to stay. I expected a similar protocol for a commercial space and preferred to opt out before the new acquisition and would have done so had I known. Upon my realization, I did vacate the premises despite the lease that I was obligated to with the previous landlord until January 2018. I am in no way interested in carrying on as a tenant of the new landlord.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Commercial lease rules do not fall under the residential laws and are based on the terms of the contract. If your commercial lease contained a clause allowing termination of the lease during foreclosure, then you can still exercise that right if you were not given notice, but absent such a clause in your lease, because it is commercial the new owner takes the lease and is liable to honor they lease and you remain bound by the lease. So as this is a commercial lease, you would need to negotiate this with the new landlord.

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