It appears that you may have fallen victim to a rental scam. These scams are most frequently directed at vacant properties. I am currently working with the National Association of Realtors regarding these issues so that they can develope way to prevent this from happening.
PLEASE, PLEASE contact me direct to share your story. The only way to put a stop to these matters is through the voices of those who have fallen victim!
Love and Peace,
Francesca, Realtor, ePro
If you had an earlier lease with the owner, and now someone new has come along claiming to be the owner, your obligation (I'm not a lawyer, so this isn't legal advice) is to abide by the terms of the original lease until you KNOW that the person claiming to be the new owner is, in fact, the owner. There are scams out there where someone shows up claiming to have bought the property, and requesting that you send payment to him at a new address. The fact that you pay money to the new person doesn't relieve you of your lease obligations to pay the true owner.
Best way to start is to contact the person you know had owned the property. Ask him whether ownership transferred. Also, as suggested, check the city or county tax records. Only after you're sure that the person with whom you signed that 2 year lease is the true owner should you start making payments to him.
Hope that helps.