What to do if I purchased a home that was currently being rented and now they won’t move out?

UPDATED: Nov 16, 2012

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What to do if I purchased a home that was currently being rented and now they won’t move out?

The tenants have 30 days after closing to vacate. The tenants texted me stating they cannot leave because they have no place to go. I said absolutely not. What is the next step if they do not leave? I am renting now and have to leave at the end of the month.

Asked on November 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the tenants have a written lease for a specific or defined time (for example, the typical one-year lease), then you can't make them leave until their lease is up or expires; that is, when someone buys a home that has a written lease, he or she becomes the new landlord under the terms of the lease.

If there is no written lease, or there is one, but it specifically says that this is a month-to-month tenancy, then the tenants are  month-to-month tenants. That means that you as the new owner--once you close on the house and therefore own it--may give them a month's notice terminating their tenancy. If they don't move out at that time, you can evict them--but you have to evict them through the courts, but filing an eviction action. (That is, you can't change the locks, turn off utilities, etc.) This will obviously take a few weeks. If they end up costing you additional money--such as for you to stay in a hotel or get a short-term rental--you could also potentially sue them, such as in small claims court, to recover that expense.

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