Buying home with a tenant, but tenant is voluntarily moving out. Need advice.

Asked by Doubledouble, San Francisco County, CA Thu Oct 4, 2012

I am buying a single family home in San Francisco with a tenant. Just signed deed and closing escrow tomorrow. Tenant is voluntarily vacating and wrote me a signed letter confirming she is voluntarily vacating and asking me to apply the last months rent into this months rent.

I plan to live in the home, so when I made my offer I had in my mind I would either need to buy her out or do a owners move in eviction. But since she decided to just move out, I think I don't need to do anything.

Anything I should be concerned about?


Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Jae Ng’s answer
Jae Ng, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat Oct 6, 2012
Dear Doubledouble,

When you are a landlord, even for a short time of 45 days, it is important to make sure you do everything correctly. If you have never been a landlord before, definitely consult a professional - seek out the advice of a real estate attorney or property management association.

It will be a great learning experience whether you do it right or wrong. But its best and less stressful to do things the right way.


Web Reference:
0 votes
Rob Regan, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Oct 4, 2012
I'd be concerned right up until the day she moved out. So my suggestion is to call the tenant's union or a local REattorney and describe the situation - with "what if" she does not voluntarily move out?
Web Reference:
1 vote
Rich Homer, Agent, NAPLES, FL
Thu Oct 4, 2012
You will inherit the lease, so get a copy. There should be a 30 day notice to vacate issued to the tenant by the current lessor.
1 vote
I don't think current lessor has the write to evict her. She is voluntarily leaving anyway. I have copies of the lease and the signed letter. Tenant is giving 45 days notice. I am getting credit on escrow for the months rent and the deposit.
Flag Thu Oct 4, 2012
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Oct 4, 2012
if you are prepared to do an OMI and it's a single family home or condo, you shouldn't have problems getting possession as the rent board says there is no protected status on either of those types of property.

Other than that, I would add that John's advice below is on target.
1 vote
John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Thu Oct 4, 2012
You didn't mention a security deposit... make sure you don't give ALL her money back until you do the final inspection.
And just as a matter of procedure, you need to notify her in writing that she has the right to a pre-inspection no more than 2 weeks prior to her move out date. The purpose of the pre-inspection, other than regulatory compliance, is to identify repairs you would be taking out of her deposit if she doesn't fix them herself before the final inspection.
You should, of course, read her lease carefully to make sure there are no other "gotcha's" that kick in due to an early move out.
1 vote
Thanks John. The thing is that once she decided to move out and told the sellers agent, he then told my agent and he asked her to put in writing. Her deposit is half of a month's rent. So she asked to apply the last month rent and deposit towards the 45 days. This is actually already being done, and I am getting a credit on escrow from the seller.
Her security deposit wasn't very big anyway and I am happy she is moving out. Also I wouldn't be able to identify fixes, if I don't know what the conditions were prior to her move itn
Flag Thu Oct 4, 2012
Matt Ciganek, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Oct 4, 2012
Doubledouble-I would suggest that since you already had a more complicated process in mind, you might want to take the next step and consult with an experienced real estate attorney anyway. You could have a dream situation, but you could also have trouble as has been suggested.

The single month's rent is probably an inexpensive risk relative to what you thought you might have to pay. You might consider it, depending on the specifics of your situation, but you should at least be ready to move quickly with an attorney, should anything go wrong. Whatever you do, don't lose any documentation about this you have or receive in the future.

What does your agent think? He or she should definitely be helping you in this situation. Good luck!-

Matt Ciganek
Barbagelata Real Estate
1 vote
, ,
Thu Oct 4, 2012
Dont look a gift horse in the mouth.
This could have gone 180 degrees in the opposite where you are having to evict her...and i have seen that happen plenty of times.
I would not, however, agree to give her the deposit toward rent. Let her know you will release this back to her once you have inspected the property and ascertain its condititon.
This is just from personal landlord experience.
Never let them walk without having some money to hold over their heads.
Get the rent.
1 vote
Lucy Logvino…, , San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 3, 2012
Make sure you buy a landlord insurance policy in this situation. You can always change it to homeowner policy after tenant moves out
0 votes
, ,
Wed Nov 28, 2012

Are you in toil or trouble? Hopefully you took all of the good advise that we offered here. Especially Claudia Gravelle's (hold that deposit). How did it turn out for you?

Looking to get the best deal on Home insurance? The best time to shop is now that you already have it - no pressure on you.
0 votes
Doubledouble, Home Buyer, San Francisco County, CA
Fri Oct 5, 2012
Thanks for all the advice. Any additional feedback?

I was wondering if I still need to:

- When I give her the check for interest on her deposit, should I make her sign a receipt?
- Should I also make her sign a letter that says something to the effect of "by my request, the security deposit of $XXXXX, was used toward the last 15 days rent. The landlord doesn't owe me any amount from security deposit or interest"?

Any other suggestions? I have never been a landlord before, and will be for only 45 days.

0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more