Is your landlord selling the property? What renters should know

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 11:35 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The housing market is already tight in Vermont, but what happens when the property you’re renting gets sold?

Maryellen Griffin, a staff attorney with Vermont Legal Aid, says it should transfer to the new property manager. By law, they’re required to see it through, but that doesn’t mean the transition is always easy.

“The out-of-state landlord just sold it and we weren’t even told it was sold,” said Crystal Hughes, a single mother living in Bennington.

She’s been in their apartment for three years with two different property owners. Now, it’s in the process of being sold again.

During the first transition, there was a rent increase and she’s not sure if that will happen a second time.

“When the new owners bought it, it did rise, around $50, I want to say,” Hughes said.

Additionally, there was a change in what utilities were included.

Hughes isn’t the only one facing these challenges. We reached out on Facebook and received at least a dozen responses from people in similar situations. Some were forced out to make space for an Airbnb, others were leaving the state or moving back in with family.

“A landlord can evict a tenant for no reason with proper notice,” Griffin said.

She says leases transfer from property owners if the sale is made, but no cause evictions create a level of uncertainty.

“In a sale situation, you still have to give the notices in the right amount of time, but if they did that, there’s no reason a landlord can’t raise the price as much as they want,” Griffin continued.

Vermont allows no-cause evictions, meaning landlords don’t need a reason not to renew a lease. If there isn’t a written lease, landlords can give tenants a 30-day notice.

“If you do not have a written lease or a written lease is expiring, the landlord can terminate that lease for no reason,” Griffin explained.

Additionally, not having a written lease can mean a near-immediate increase in rent, utilities, and changes in stipulations like pets.