Van Nuys, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: New owner of multi-family property is seeking copies of tenants' lease/rental agreements

We purchased an occupied multi-family property, however the previous property owner did not provide us with copies of the tenants' lease/rental agreements. How can we obtain copies of these agreements? Are the tenants obligated to provide copies to us? If not, is there any other source? Do we have the right to have the tenants sign new lease/rental agreements?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joseph Franklin Klatt
Joseph Franklin Klatt
  • La Jolla, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Great question. Your first step should be asking the seller for the agreements. There is a decent chance that the purchase and sales agreement you used to buy the property requires them to provide this information. That failing, you can always ask the tenants. Just be aware that you are bound by the prior leases, for their full terms and whatever conditions and promises were in those leases. You can ask the tenants to sign new leases, but they have no obligation to do so. They will probably want to at the end of their term, because at that point you can alter the lease (although statute may limit the amount of rent increase you can ask for). There is no database that saves leases, so you have to work with the former owner or the tenant if you need a copy.

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