The short answer is you get to honor the terms of their rental agreement until it expires. Then you can ask them to move out or keep them as renters. It usually takes 90 or more days to get people evicted, which is thirty days more than you'll need. See next paragraph.
But as a first time home buyer with a mortgage that requires you to move in within 60 days, they have to be out before close of escrow for you to be sure you won't be in a situation that shows you to be breaking your mortgage contract with your lender. Such a breach, since it is foreseeable and you are signing a document that says you MUST occupy the house within 6o days of close, could get very expensive and even nasty with a visit from law enforcement and an unpleasant talk with a judge and unintended free room and board in an overcrowded building with people you would not choose for neighbors.
So the short advice, is DON'T CLOSE ESCROW UNTIL THE TENANTS ARE OUT IF YOU HAVE A LOAN TO BUY THE HOME AND LIVE IN IT.
Your agent should have told you this. If you don't have an agent, you can call me to discuss how I might help you for a fee.
In the CAR purchase agreement, there is a clause that can identify the date when tenants in a tenant-occupied property need to move out of the home. Talk with your agent about this clause, or specify what you want / need in an addendum to the purchase agreement. If you are already in contract, and this was not specified, you may still be able to specify this, if it is a condition of your loan. Make sure you understand the legal ramifications of having a tenant in the home, after you become the owner...and do this before you close escrow. There may be significant expenses associated with evicting the tenants, or "paying" penalties you may encounter with your lender.
I sure hope you received all this feedback, before you became owners! If not, talk to a real estate attorney, sooner rather than later!
Alain Pinel Realtors
Make sure you get a copy of the lease agreement as soon as possible, but this is important: IN CALIFORNIA A LEASE IS NOT REQUIRED AS PROOF OF TENANCY. In other words, even if the tenant doesn't have a lease, they have certain assumed rights based solely on the fact that they already live there. Police will usually not throw them out for trespassing, you'll have to go to court to get an eviction order.
If they have a lease you'll need to honor it. If they don't have a lease and refuse to move after being given proper notice, see an attorney.
You have received excellent responses from Mitchell, Maria and Terri.
I recommend that:
1. You find out whether or not the tenants have a lease agreement. If the tenants have a lease agreement, you are obligated to honor the terms of that lease agreement.
2. You make certain that your purchase agreement requires that the property be vacant at least 5 days before close of escrow. Prior to the close escrow walk through the property to make absolutely certain that the property is vacant.
3. Refuse to close escrow if the property if the property is not vacant. Refuse to close escrow until the property is vacant.
As Mitchell pointed out, if you purchase that property with an owner occupied loan, and there are tenants in that property, you have violated the terms of your agreement with the lender and the lender has a number of remedies against you, even if the property is tenant occupied against your will.
One of the most common remedies that your lender has against you, is that if the property is tenant occupied and your loan requires that the property be owner occupied, your lender has the right to call the entire amount of the loan due and payable, and will call the entire amount of the loan due and payable, and foreclose on the property.
There are often criminal penalties as well if you get an owner occupied loan, and the property is tenant occupied, not owner occupied.
Unfortunately on a tenant occupied property in the State of California, you as the buyer have very few rights. The tenant is the one with the rights against you, and the lender will hold you responsible if you get an owner occupied loan and the tenants refuse to move out of the property.
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Email Address: email@example.com
Make sure it is stipulated on the contract.