Rentals in 10014>Question Details

Brian Rothen…, Real Estate Pro in 94123

My landlord is selling my apartment, what are my rights as a renter?

Asked by Brian Rothenberg, 94123 Sat Jan 8, 2011

Hello,I currently rent an apartment in New York City, and my lease runs through August of 2011 (8 more months). Without any notification from my landlord, I just got a phone call from her Realtor saying that she is selling the house and requesting access to see the apartment and to show it to prospective buyers. I realize that according to NY law I am required to allow access to the apartment "with reasonable prior notice, and at a reasonable time... to show the apartment to prospective purchasers or tenants." My questions: 1. What is reasonable prior notice, how far in advance does the Realtor have to notify me of a one-off showing? 2. How often are they allowed to schedule open houses? 3. With 8 months left on my lease, this has the potential to seriously impact my ability to enjoy my property that I am renting (less privacy, need to keep it more clean, scheduling/communication overhead). Do I have any rights for compensation for this, such as lower rent while it is being shown?

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Hi Brian,

You have to review your lease in detail. Some leases will specifically state how soon a landlord, his or her agents may show the apartment/home for prospective buyers. The lease should also state what happens to you as a renter when the property is sold or transfers ownership. Almost 99% of the time the lease will remain in effect until it expires. If you have had a good relationship with your current landlord you guys should come to terms as to when to show the apartment. If the lease doesn't specify when the landlord can start showing your apartment you can do some research through NYC and NYS guidelines. Links to these sites can be found on
Generally speaking neither the Tenant nor the Landlord can do anything unreasonable. As far as lower rent is concerned that is a long shot. I am not a lawyer, but any lawyer would probably say that you might have a case, but how strong of a case do you have? how many times have they shown your apartment? have you tried to get in touch with the Landlord to work out a reasonable showing time/schedule? Both, you and the Landlord should act in good faith. This is what the Judge will look for and if he/she finds out that either one of you acted unreasonably they might be inclined to award judgement in favor of the other.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
Wow. You just sound like an ahole. It is his property, don't stand in the way of him selling it. Do you own a car? Would you like some turd dragging out the sale of your car when you unload it? Should you have a discount on your car payments while it is being sold? Dicks like you make being a landlord truly miserable.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2012
I agree. However, being "Owner" doesn't' t sound terribly miserable.
Flag Sat Jul 12, 2014
No, Jackson - You sound like the a$$hole. A severely disrespectful one. Probably ignorant to the situation too. Selfish people like you would do us all a better service by playing on a busy highway.
Flag Sun Oct 27, 2013
sorry, but having been both a landlord and a tenant, you must understand that selling a property while a tenant is residing within is a huge issue. cooperation is best. I would never schedule an open house on a tenant. That's work for them and since they really shouldn't be present, it interferes with their quiet enjoyment. He has a legitimate concern and is needing advice. I don't think he's the reactionary ahole, sir. That would be you.
Flag Sat Feb 9, 2013
wow NO you some real social issues the way you type and are probably a slum lord your self that take advantage of his renters,the tenant has a right to peacefully enjoyhis property I have a idiot realitor dealing with my rental that just showed it on a Sunday people make complaints to the real esate board and state and local teneant landlord assoc to many landlords are a on power trip and the guy who wrote this middle finger MOFO get some couseling your NUTS
Flag Wed Dec 12, 2012
I really liked Artem Lesims answer. I just want to add one important item. PLEASE, make sure that anything of value is put away. Agents do their best to keep an eye out for your things; however, it's easy for a couple to go in seperated directions and distract the agent while the other one opens drawers and closets to see what's easy to pick up. Medicine cabinets are usually the number one place to have items taken. They may take a large portion of the pills in a bottle but leave a few with hopes you may not realize the loss. Theives know most hiding places. Put jewlery in your safety deposit box and make sure you have renters insurance.
Never have cash, credit card statements or check books lying around. On the lighter side, Agents have information on people they're taking to see property. They take many safety precautions and do an outstanding job of keeping everything safe. You can make the job easier for them.
Wanda 678-614-5883
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Hi Brian. You may be able to get some attorney advise free from this site;

As stated by many below, review your lease to see what you signed off on as I'm sure you didn't read it before you signed it but that is not uncommon in itsself.

Reasonable prior notice for a real estate professional would be quite different from a renter but 24hrs should be adequate. Be prepared for the broker trying to show at odd hours. One comment below stated you should have the listing broker there for showings. I would absolutely insist that the listing broker be present at each and every showing and if not then, no showing. I would not allow any open house as this simply does not allow for your "quiet enjoyment" of the rental. You are NOT there to help sell the place.

As for compensation, This could be good for you. You might negotiate some free months to offset the bother or some cash to get out early without technically breaking the lease.

Lastly, most Attorneys will offer a free consultation. Get your questions together and find a real estate Attorney. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 30, 2011
I may be in the same situation and for us, we would be happy with either free months or cash compensation to offset the thousands it will cost us to move.
Flag Fri May 23, 2014
You are fortunate to live in the New York City area because the courts are pro-tenant. You can also simply just tell the landlord and realtor NO. You will not show the apartment. If he disagrees he will have to take the matter to housing court. If the court rules you have to show the apartment then you can follow the courts order at that time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
You have right to quiet enjoyment of the property while under lease.

Reasonable notice is such a vague term - but I would think that 24 hours should be sufficient. If you have special needs, or 24 hours is not enough - than it should be discussed with the owner.

The best advice in this situation is to open a dialogue with the owner to outline YOUR expectations and needs. The owner will need YOUR cooperation - and there is nothing worse for a Real Estate agent than a tenant that is uncooperative.

Open houses? I don't think that is reasonable without you agreeing. Showing the unit on a case by case basis is what the lease is trying to outline. The landlord does not have carte blanche rights to access.

Set an appointment to speak with the owner sooner rather than later. Once the owner understands your issues - i am sure they will be worked out to everyones satisfaction.

Communication and Compromise! It is the best way to solve disputes.

Good Luck!

Gerry Dunn
Associate Broker
28 years of making clients happy!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
Hi Brian, you need to review your lease and you are entitled to only those rights that are mentioned in there. Just go through it. But still I would suggest you to not interfere in the owner's way or stopping him to sell the property for any reasons.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2014
Typically your lease will detail all of your rights and the landlords. It is common to allow showings 60-90 days prior to the expiration of your lease, but even that is negotiable. Again all of these details should have been agreed upon at the very beginning.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2014
My landlord as advise me I will need to move before my lease is over which is four months away but he wants to put the house on the market does he have to buy me out for the remaining months I have left on the lease?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 22, 2014
Along these lines, do any of you know if the tenant gets first offer to buy the apartment or if there are any advantages to being a tenant who buys their apartment that is being sold by the landlord?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 21, 2013
hi Brian, if you're still checking this message thread, can you share any advise with me? I'm having the same exact issue, and hoping you share some tips, thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 15, 2012
Your lease is your best resource for guidance on this. Review your lease to see if the landlord has included a right-to-show clause. If not, you may have quite a bit of latitude. Feel free to call me to discuss further.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 27, 2011
Hello, I definitely agree that you should get reasonable notice from the realtor and hopefully the two of you can work out a schedule to show the apartmentand coordinate open houses. You didn't mention if you are renting in an apartment building or renting an individual co-op or condo unit. But either way, even though you have an eight month lease, the seller always has the right to sell the property and sometimes it happens without a fair amount of notice.

Unfortunately, when an owner has to sell, it does not give you the right to a lower rent. You have eight months on your lease, so you need to know when the property goes to contract so you can make plans to move in time. Who knows, maybe the owner will be willing to help you with moving expenses if you cooperate.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 21, 2011
Hi Brian,
This is most definitely a question best suited to a real estate attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 21, 2011
Hi Brian,
This is a very common question and the answers are somewhat fuzzy. Only an attorney can give you reliable answers, but having had many similar experiences (as the selling broker) I suggest setting up a pre-determined showing schedule - in writing - with the owner directly. Let them know - subtly - that if you know when people are coming over you can make sure the place is left clean and in good condition beforehand. That way the agent gets to pack buyers in more than one-at-a-time, the seller gets buyers that have more urgency and a better impression of the space, and you get a written schedule you can work with/around. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 21, 2011
Hey, Brian! My firm specializes in rentals and sales in New York City and I will be more than happy to assist you in August.

In regards to your question, I can tell you the following:

* Review your lease and any special riders that you signed, if any

* In any case, if you pay your rent on time then you should have no worries until your lease is up in August

* Reasonable prior notice is usually 24 hours, but it pertains to a landlord and not the real estate broker or any other individuals.

* Once again, if you haven't signed any special riders and you pay your rent on time, then might as well restrict anyone from entering your apartment or let them in whenever you please. My suggestion, though, is to talk with your landlord and come to a mutual agreement as to when you want people in the apartment. For example, I have an apartment where a tenant only needs an email notifying him that I want to show the apartment and I have another apartment where a tenant only allows one Open house a month, that's it.

* You do not have any rights as to a compensation unless you sue a landlord for a harassment or else, but I would always be on good terms with your landlords since your next landlord might ask for recommendations.. Plus I am sure you really don't want to litigate and spend time and money on attorneys

* You have a right to negotiate with your landlord, though, but so far I never saw a landlord giving any rent breaks to a tenant just because the landlord wanted to sell the apartment.

Email me at should you have additional questions or concerns. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 11, 2011
I received a 20% reduction on my last apartment. This was a short sell and he needed access to the apartment, we worked together and he was able to sell in a timely manner.
Flag Mon May 6, 2013
I am chiming in with "read the lease" to the chorus of good advice you have received thus far. But let's take a practical look for a moment.

Your landloard gave you at least 8 months notice that you will need to find a new apartment. Not because you are a bad tenant but because he needs to sell it. That means:

You have 8 months to shop around and look for a new place to live. I work about an hour away from NYC so I cannot possible claim to understand the rental market there. I am curious to know from my co-horts on Trulia what the likelihood is that a person with reasonable financial picture can find a good deal on a rental in NYC these days?

Have a pleasant discussion with your landlord and talk about your needs and his/hers when it comes to showing the apartment. If you agree to keep the place tidy, de-clutter, and permit showings with reasonable notice, will he or she consider giving you a great reference? If you find a place prior to August, will the landlord let you out of the lease early without penalty?

I understand that when the landlord dropped the news on you it was probably a shock. But you have some time and you may be able to move into an even nicer home. Stay optimistic. :)

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 9, 2011
First thing check your lease to see what you agreed to in this situation. Second call the owner and let him know about your concerns. It would be in the owner best interest to have your cooperation. As far as showing the property it has to be done when it is most suitable to you. 24hrs notice should be good time. Open house that would benefit the owner if he works with your schedule that way the whole house can be shown at the same time. If the owner wants you to leave before the lease is up, you ask for compensation such as one month rent plus security for the new apartment. good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
Other than reviewing your lease to se if you had agreed to this you should speak with the landlord. As far as special accommodation goes, I would just live in the unit as normal. You are not obligated to keep the unit any cleaner than you need it to be. You would not believe the things tenants have left lying around when I was showing their apartment. Really, you wouldnt believe if I told you.

It is not uncommon to set up a showing schedule for days when you can show and you can have the listing agent be present at the showings. After all, you don't know who is coming into your home.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
Other than reviewing your lease to se if you had agreed to this you should speak with the landlord. As far as special accommodation goes, I would just live in the unit as normal. You are not obligated to keep the unit any cleaner than you need it to be. You would not believe the things tenants have left lying around when I was showing their apartment. Really, you wouldnt believe if I told you.

It is not uncommon to set up a showing schedule for days when you can show and you can have the listing agent be present at the showings. After all, you don't know who is coming into your home.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
A lease supercedes any are good until August 2011.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
Look at your lease first and then have a conversation with your landlord to negotiate a set of showing times that will accommodate both of you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
Hi Brian:

Review the lease that you signed.

Yes by law the Realtor should give you sufficient notice of 1 day..

If you agreed to the lease which allows for showing you will not be compensated.
Generally, 2-3 open houses a month or get a lawyer and ask them to correspond with
the Realtor.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
Review your lease agreement as some of the answers to your questions may be found in it--as for compensation--discuss the issue with your landlord; as for any legal rights you may have, do consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in real estate, have all related documention reviewed and see exactly what options you may have--then go from there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
I am not sure about NY laws but you need to get a look at the listing. Most MLS systems have a section about showing and how to do it. Try to make sure there is a mention to call ahead and ask for advance notice. I am not sure what NY calls timely but asking for more than 24hr notice will be hard to justify. I am not sure you have to allow an Open House. There is not going to be any way to be compensated unless the owner decides to. You will want to find out if a lockbox will be placed on the property with a key in it. These boxes have become very sophisticated and can be set to only allow a key if the listing agent gives the other agent a special code and they can be set to only open during certain hours of the day. Speak to the listing agent about these.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 8, 2011
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