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New owner of multi-family property in Los Angeles is seeking copies of tenants' lease/rental agreements

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MZ1234

New member
We purchased an occupied multi-family property in Los Angeles, however the previous property owner did not provide us with copies of the tenants' lease/rental agreements. How can we obtain copies of these agreements? Are the tenants obligated to provide copies to us? If not, is there any other source? Do we have the right to have the tenants sign new lease/rental agreements?

Thank you very much
 

quincy

Senior Member
I suggest you ask the previous owners for the lease agreements. The fact that you purchased the building as an occupied property indicates that the lease agreements of those occupying the property were part of the sale.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
We purchased an occupied multi-family property in Los Angeles, however the previous property owner did not provide us with copies of the tenants' lease/rental agreements. How can we obtain copies of these agreements? Are the tenants obligated to provide copies to us? If not, is there any other source? Do we have the right to have the tenants sign new lease/rental agreements?

Thank you very much
Why in the world did you purchase the property without the prior owner providing you copies of the existing leases? You have put yourself into a horrible position. Please get a consult with a local real estate attorney ASAP before you take any further action.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
We purchased an occupied multi-family property in Los Angeles, however the previous property owner did not provide us with copies of the tenants' lease/rental agreements.
That's not his fault, it's your fault. You should have made it a condition of your purchase contract and obtained them during the inspection contingency period. You should have interviewed all the tenants during the inspection contingency period but I'll bet you didn't do that either.
Did you even inspect the units before closing?

How can we obtain copies of these agreements?
Ask the seller. Ask the tenants?

Are the tenants obligated to provide copies to us?
No.

If not, is there any other source?
Like what? Residential leases aren't typically recorded if that's what you are asking.

Do we have the right to have the tenants sign new lease/rental agreements?
You have the right to ASK but you cannot compel them to do so.

You have put yourself into a horrible position.
Ditto that.

Please get a consult with a local real estate attorney ASAP before you take any further action.
Personally, I think I would go talk to the tenants and see which way the wind is blowing before incurring the cost of an attorney.
 

FarmerJ

Senior Member
Have your attorney contact the former owner and Talk to your attorney about drawing up a letter for you ( so you can make extracopies for distribution ) you want the letter to tell the tenants that failing to comply with your request to provide a copy of the lease they have sets the tone for their tenant landlord relation ship with you to start on a negative path and could possibly lead to them facing a court where a judge can make them produce a copy of the lease. 2nd The day you plan on going to talk to the tenants , have with you a copier printer and a second person like your spouse , plug it in, test it to make sure it works, this way you can do it on the spot for those who will with out a hassle go get their copy and go with you to the copier and get it done, any one who hesitates, hems haws or refuses plan for a second trip to give them time and if they wont comply second time you go there then send to them in certified mail a copy of the letter addressed to them. Hopefully by the time that happens you have enough copies of the leases that you might be able to spot fakes if someone used just any old blank form .
 

quincy

Senior Member
I disagree. Although asking tenants for a copy of their lease is okay, the tenants should not be threatened with any sort of legal action for not complying with a request to produce a copy of their lease.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep a good record of leases. It is the failure of buyer to not have them or the seller for not providing them.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
I disagree. Although asking tenants for a copy of their lease is okay, the tenants should not be threatened with any sort of legal action for not complying with a request to produce a copy of their lease.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep a good record of leases. It is the failure of buyer to not have them or the seller for not providing them.
I agree. However I do think that it could be worded in a way to make the tenants believe that its in their best interest to comply. IE the OP wanting to make sure that they had accurate information about their security deposits and lease ending dates.
 

STEPHAN

Senior Member
We have a few times taken over a property with no copies of leases. The price was interesting enough to justify. It was a case of dementia, a divorce or from an estate.

We wrote a very nice letter to the tenants, introduced ourselves, gave prove of ownership and told them that we were not supplied with a lease and therefore assume they are month-to-month tenants.

And in all cases, they confirmed or gave us a copy of their lease. In one case the tenant did not have a copy but told us his terms and as they were okay, we made a new lease with these terms.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I agree. However I do think that it could be worded in a way to make the tenants believe that its in their best interest to comply. IE the OP wanting to make sure that they had accurate information about their security deposits and lease ending dates.
I would contact tenants as a last resort only. The new owner demonstrates for the tenants great incompetence if he does not have his own record of the contracts and the lease terms for each tenant.
 

westside

Member
Have your attorney contact the former owner and Talk to your attorney about drawing up a letter for you ( so you can make extracopies for distribution ) you want the letter to tell the tenants that failing to comply with your request to provide a copy of the lease they have sets the tone for their tenant landlord relation ship with you to start on a negative path and could possibly lead to them facing a court where a judge can make them produce a copy of the lease. 2nd The day you plan on going to talk to the tenants , have with you a copier printer and a second person like your spouse , plug it in, test it to make sure it works, this way you can do it on the spot for those who will with out a hassle go get their copy and go with you to the copier and get it done, any one who hesitates, hems haws or refuses plan for a second trip to give them time and if they wont comply second time you go there then send to them in certified mail a copy of the letter addressed to them. Hopefully by the time that happens you have enough copies of the leases that you might be able to spot fakes if someone used just any old blank form .
I've seen slimy suggestions on this board, but this one makes the top 10 list.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
I would contact tenants as a last resort only. The new owner demonstrates for the tenants great incompetence if he does not have his own record of the contracts and the lease terms for each tenant.
It doesn't show incompetence if its worded in such a way that the new owner wants to verify/compare the information provided by the old owner.
 

FarmerJ

Senior Member
Sooner or later this landlord is going to have to change terms of leases like raise rents and if a tenant claimed to have a lease that was for a longer time frame than others in the building and tells the LL you cant raise it until, they are going to have to put up or shut up , meaning supply a copy of the lease and if they don'/ wont then the only tool the LL has is to treat them as if they are month to month and terminate them and then in a court the tenant can provide a copy to the court. There is nothing slimy about planning ahead since it sure seems to me that it will be a absolute miracle if this new LL has zero problems with not having current copies of leases. SINCE California is tenant friendly landlords there need to be prepared.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Sooner or later this landlord is going to have to change terms of leases like raise rents and if a tenant claimed to have a lease that was for a longer time frame than others in the building and tells the LL you cant raise it until, they are going to have to put up or shut up , meaning supply a copy of the lease and if they don'/ wont then the only tool the LL has is to treat them as if they are month to month and terminate them and then in a court the tenant can provide a copy to the court. There is nothing slimy about planning ahead since it sure seems to me that it will be a absolute miracle if this new LL has zero problems with not having current copies of leases. SINCE California is tenant friendly landlords there need to be prepared.
Although I understand your point, Farmer, I think it wrong to approach tenants with threats. It is the landlord, after all, who messed up.

He should attempt to get the leases from the previous owner first. If the purchase is a recent one, it is unlikely that the previous owner simply tossed the leases in the trash.
 

westside

Member
"I screwed up but instead of fixing the issue myself, I'll threaten to take an innocent party to court".

No matter how nice the property may or may not be, this is the action of a slumlord.
 

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