Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Brian J. Lee, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

I've received all 4 estoppels but only 3 lease agreements for a 4-plex that I'm in escrow for. The seller claims to have lost it. What should I do?

Asked by Brian J. Lee, Los Angeles, CA Thu Mar 28, 2013

My agent says that once I close escrow, I can simply draft a lease agreement up and get it signed by the tenant. Are there any legal pitfalls to this advice? Should I demand that the seller produce a lease prior to close of escrow?

Help the community by answering this question:


Ray FernandezSilva’s answer
Please have the tenant sign you an agreement bonded by the seller to protect yourself and have the seller also issue a tenancy termination to the tenant with 60 days minimum

If I need to refer you over to another expert in Tenancy Contracts, feel free to reach out to me 562-754-3469 or email Mr88RayFernandez@yahoo.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 28, 2013
Hi Ray,
Thanks for your insight. The building falls under L.A. rent control. Does this change things?
Flag Thu Mar 28, 2013
Dear Newb:

Are you purchasing a 4-unit complex as an owner user? Do you plan to live in that unit? Is this property located within the City of Los Angeles? If so, you are subject to the Rent Stabilzation Ordinance for these tenants. Your lack of a provable written lease can have many implications under RSO, although the tenant estoppel certificate you've received for that unit does give you some protection since the tenant himself/herself has voluntarily acknowledged the terms of the tenancy agreement.

I highly recommend that you review your rights and responsibilities under this Ordinance: http://lahd.lacity.org/lahdinternet/RentStabilization/tabid/… then consult with a local real estate attorney versed in tenant/landlord relationships to determine the best course of action to take as it relates to the 'missing lease.'

I suggest that you do not close escrow until you've completed the investigation recommended above and detemined the course of action best for your individual situation.


Meredith McKenzie
Broker Associate #01142186

Podley Properties
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 28, 2013
Hi Meredith,
Yes, I plan on one of the units being my primary residence and yes, the building does fall under rent control. Any recommendations for a tenant/landlord attorney?
Flag Thu Mar 28, 2013
Demand seller to produce one with both signatures, landlord and tenant, before close of escrow.

Is this property under rent control?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 28, 2013
Flag Thu Mar 28, 2013
Have the owner contact the tenant and ask for a copy of lease ,you are getting a signed estoppel from the tenant ,so if neither one has a copy of the rental agreement it would be in all parties best interest to have the tenant do a rental agreement with you to take effect at close of escrow or a new rental agreement with present owner .Good Luck !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 30, 2013
This is a question better left to the Legal Eagles out there

Contact an attorney, or your local legal aid if you need a referral to an attorney who will answer questions at little or no cost.

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 29, 2013
I definitely agree with Carlos. Don't close without it. Have the seller ask the tenant if they have a copy of the lease agreement. You can also ask the seller to draft a copy of the original lease agreement and have the seller sign it. You not only want to know how much the tenant pays a month but what the lease terms are - 1/2 years, month-to-month tenancy, how much deposit did the tenant pay, any pets allowed, etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 28, 2013
I have a question. ... is the same agent representing both you and the seller? Funny how this agent seems not to worry about it and tells you to close and you can do one later... that's really not how the law works. Why doesn't the agent ask the tenant for a copy of the lease and see if they have a copy? Or did everyone lose the copy?

Good luck.. 4 unit, LA, most likely under rent control... not fun.... I would be going on attorney web sites and trying to get their advice and not wasting my time on Trulia.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 28, 2013
You could check this expert attorney for questions on tenancy for landlords:

Dennis P. Block http://evict123.com

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 28, 2013
I strongly recommend not waiting until after close. Get all the paperwork done prior to closing. If you close and your Tenant does not agree to your new Lease you will have a problem. If you do it in advance, you can still back out if you do not like it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 28, 2013
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer