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Real Estate Law – Selling Property in NYC

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Selling Property in Queens

Very often clients will ask me when they’re selling their houses, what are their obligations when it comes to moving tenants that they have in the house, because the buyer of the house wants the house empty at closing, but I have an apartment or two apartments that I rent out. Well, the important thing to know is that the obligations of the seller are dictated by what was negotiated when the offer was made with the buyer. Either it was done through a real estate office or real estate agent, or it was done directly with the proposed buyer. Did the buyer insist upon the house being delivered vacant upon the closing? Or was the buyer willing to just move into the apartment that the seller occupies, and take over being a landlord to the other tenants?

The obligations are also dictated upon whether the tenants that the seller has have leases or not.  If the seller has a tenant with leases, just because you’re selling a house doesn’t mean that the tenant is required to vacate. The lease is a binding contract and it passes on to the buyer of the house, so they would be obligated to take over the house and would be responsible to act as a landlord to those tenants. But if the tenants don’t have written leases, then they’re considered month-to-month tenants, and a seller of the house, once you have entered into a contract, would be legally able to either ask the tenant voluntarily to vacate, or if they wanted to do it in a formal way, they could institute a proceeding, a landlord-tenant proceeding, to ensure that the apartment is vacant at the closing. The only pitfall or thing to be aware of for a seller in those situations is that the legal process in New York City for removing tenants is a lengthy one, so many times it could take three, four, five, even six months for someone to get a tenant out of the house, and your real estate transaction may not be able to withstand that type of delay. So that’s something that has to be discussed before you enter into a contract.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Arnold Drucker, an experienced Jackson Heights Real Estate Lawyer.

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