Eugene, OR asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Oregon

Q: Seller of a rented home wants the buyer to take over as tenant 30 days after closing. What can new owners do to renters?

Seller says a 90 day notice to vacate will be given once the house closes. I don't think the renters are paying rent but I am not sure. Is there anyway to get them to vacate by offering money to leave the rental once we take ownership without having to go through an eviction? How long could we potentially be the new landlords with nonpayment of rent?

1 Lawyer Answer
Gregory L Abbott
Gregory L Abbott
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Sure - anything (more or less) that you and the tenants can agree to is likely to work - bribery has long proven an effective way to accomplish some goals. BUT if you are the buyer, with all due respect, you are crazy if you don't make the seller getting the tenants out (instead of you) as a contingency of the sale. Put the risk and potential cost (evictions can cost the landlord thousands - even tens of thousands - of dollars and take an unknown time frame. Why should you absorb that risk? Make the seller clean up the mess he created. He does not have to wait until after closing to issue the 90 day notice - he can issue it anytime after he accepts your offer and you certify that you intend to occupy the dwelling as your primary residence. With that, the seller can issue a 90 day notice, showing the paperwork to the tenants. If they 90 days passes and they are not out, then the seller would have to go to court to try to evict them. Alternately, few sellers are willing to lose the sale of their house because they didn't timely remove the tenants. So let them be the ones to pay the tenants off to "voluntarily" move out. Currently, tenants cannot be evicted for failure to pay rent until July 1, 2021. But that deadline has been extended numerous times and may yet be again, all depending upon how Covid is affecting Oregon, possibly even with different rules coming up for different Counties. Even if not paid, however, the tenants still legally owe the back rent. That in turn gives the existing owner some leverage to make a deal. Forgive back rent owed (which is not likely to every be actually collected anyway) in exchange for moving out soon? IF you pay tenants any money to move, DO NOT pay them until they are actually out, having turned the keys over to you. I can't tell you how many times I have had landlord's lament that the tenant talked them into giving them the money up front (so they could pay the moving costs, or to meet the new place's security deposit, or other story) only to "change their mind" and not move out once the cash in is their possession.

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