Newberg, OR asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Oregon

Q: Our house is for sale and under contract. The buyer placed an ad to rent out our house. Is this legal?

The buyer, without our knowledge, approval or consent placed an ad to rent our house. The ad was an almost exact copy of the listing description. They included two pictures of our property in the ad. They even had people scheduled to tour the house 2 weeks before the closing date!!! The only reason this did not happen is they did not have access to our property - which again- they do not own. In fact, all of the contingencies in the sale agreement haven't even been met. Their real estate agent was privy to this activity. Is this illegal, and what is the applicable statute that applies to this scenario? Thank you.

As a response to the 2nd answer by Mr. Minnick below: No, we do not have seller's remorse. In fact, the rent they advertised is well below what we would have offered it for. The issue at hand is the buyer represented herself as the owner of the property in advertising it, and invited her rental prospects to tour the property prior to close- on our dime.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
Answered
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: They would be entitled to rent the house once the sale closes. But it sounds like they acted prematurely. I wouldn't jump to conclusions without knowing the facts. Have your real estate agent contact their real estate agent and get this sorted out, ie no rental advertisements until the sale closes. Technically you are protected by having your name on the title of the house until the sale closes. This gives record notice to anyone hoping to have an interest in the house as a purchase, rental, security for a loan or otherwise, that you and only you currently own the house. So if there is ever a problem due to someone thinking someone else has the right to do something with the house, you win, hands down, while your name is on the title. So this type of shenanigans can't give anyone a real interest in your house that you didn't consent to. But it is best to avoid any problems all together. (My guess is that they have a really tight budget and they need a renter in their for some period of time before they move in so they are trying to line the renter up ahead of time. Possibly you and the buyer can agree to an advertisement that offers the rental but explains that it won't be available until a certain date far enough on the future that it's past the estimated closing date. After all, you do want to help the buyer close the sale, as long as it doesn't cause you an problems.

Bruce Alexander Minnick and Tim Akpinar agree with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

A: I am guessing you found out how much you could have rented the house for and are now having seller's remorse?

Here is the law of contracts followed by the bottom line: Both you and the buyer have entered into a valid enforceable contract--presumably in good faith. The negotiations that led to the signing of the enforceable contract are over and are not re-negotiable (unless both of you agree to do so). Both of you every right to expect the contract to close at the agreed terms very soon--after which the buyer will be able to burn the house down if they want to.

The buyer apparently does not want to destroy the house immediately after buying it. Based on what you say the buyer wants to rent the house as soon after the closing as possible.

The bottom line: If you are unhappy to learn that the home you must love is going to be rented to strangers very soon, you have four lawful choices:

1. Call your Realtor and tell them you want to try to re-negotiate the contract--or else you will cancel the sale; or

2. Call off the closing, cancel the sale and lose your deposit (NOT advised by me) and stay in your house; or

3. Go to closing, enjoy the profits you made and then rent the house from the new owner--on their terms of course.

4. Go to closing, enjoy the profits you made and then do whatever you were planning to do all along (BEST choice).

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