General Question

anniereborn's avatar

What legal responsibilities does a new landlord have?

Asked by anniereborn (5735 points ) July 29th, 2014

The duplex we have been living in for 5 years was just sold.
The sale closed a week ago. Our lease is still good until October 1st.
However, we have not seen or heard from this new landlady at all.
We don’t have any contact information for her either.

The bathroom pipes over our kitchen are leaking (not horribly yet) and we need to get ahold of her asap.

We have called our old landlord to see if he can give us the real estate agents name, and perhaps they can give us her contact info. We have her name, but that’s. it.

Is there some legal liability that she has to contact us within a certain time?

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22 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

Your new landlord has the same responsibilities as your old landlord but landlord tenant law varies from state to state, even city to city. You should probably contact your state Attorney General’s office for specific information about the law where you live.

They may also be able to tell you who to call or how to find out how to contact your new landlord. The information you need may be in the public records somewhere, like the Register of Deeds office
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snowberry's avatar

If she fails to respond to normal attempts at communication, I suggest at the very least DON’T PAY YOUR RENT! Sooner or later she’ll figure it out and contact you. Make sure if you do this that you can document on paper the many ways you’ve attempted to contact her so she won’t try to charge you late fees.

anniereborn's avatar

Since this post, I have spoken to the Real Estate agent. She gave me the number for the new landlady. I called the number and it said that it was no longer in service. The Real Estate agent said that might happen, and that if it did to try a text. Now that doesn’t even make any sense, but we tried. It turned out to be a landline. So we are with nothing at all for now.

and @snowberry we couldn’t EVEN pay the rent if we wanted to, unless she contacts us. We wouldn’t have a clue where to send it.

ibstubro's avatar

As @snowberry suggests, if you’re paying rent, you have some form of contact information.

You can also try contacting local government offices, such as recorder of deeds, assessor and tax collection. If the building was ever listed for sale, newspaper archives would tell you the listing agent.

Bathroom pipes leaking over the kitchen is a serious infraction of the building code. You need to start keeping a written record of when the problem started and your efforts to get it corrected. Did the leak start after the building was sold?

ibstubro's avatar

Reverse trace the landline. The area code and prefix will give you an idea of the area. If it was recently disconnected, there will still be record.

The real estate agent can make contact if she’s motivated. Did you tell here that the bathroom pipes were leaking into your kitchen? That should be a red flag, since if there is any evidence they were leaking prior to close, it could queer the whole deal. Call the agent again and make like turds are falling from the ceiling. Then when you get the new owner, do the whole “I was so worried that it would turn into a huge problem and I’d get blamed for not reporting it soon enough!” thing.

anniereborn's avatar

We did reverse trace, the number is in Texas (we are in Illinois). From what we have found she has an address listed there and in Illinois.
I don’t know that the real estate agent can do anything more than we did. She gave us the number that she has been using to contact her during the sale.

As for the pipes, I don’t know what kind of quack she hired for the house inspection. Today was the first ever we saw evidence of the leak. However, the large ceiling tile made of particle board (?) is soaked and ready to fall in. The wood up there is not in great shape from it.

ibstubro's avatar

First, I would send registered letters to both of the landlord’s addresses.

How do you feel about moving? I’ll bet if you called the building/health inspector’s offices, something would get done. The downside is that your lease might not be renewed.

anniereborn's avatar

@ibstubro I do not want to move if at all possible. There is only one landlord. The woman who bought the property. And as I said before, we have NO contact information for her.

jca's avatar

The realtor does not have an address for her? That makes no sense.

dabbler's avatar

It’s bizarre that the new landlord has not provided a way for you to pay them !!
I’ll guess that they either have some screwball plan to let the property deteriorate to the point that everyone moves out (and redevelop?) or are astonishingly bad business people.

snowberry's avatar

Or maybe something happened to the landlord. Stranger things have happened.

Cupcake's avatar

The listing agent should have contact information for the lawyer(s) who handled the closing. Can you contact the lawyer for the buyer?

anniereborn's avatar

Well, thankfully the leak has not continued. It happened when we had a clogged toilet and had to plunge it quite a bit. Obviously there is still a problem. But right now it’s not impacting our living.
Our previous landlord claimed that the new landlord planned on living in the front unit while renting to us in the back unit. We know that she put the electricity in her name up there. So she has done something. Our previous landlord also said that he thought she planned on moving in this week.
We are hoping that she will show up soon.

ibstubro's avatar

_Your _clogged toilet made your kitchen ceiling leak?

Odd that only one realtor was involved in the transaction?

@jca The realtor does not have an address for her? That makes no sense.

@Cupcake “The listing agent should have contact information for the lawyer(s) who handled the closing. Can you contact the lawyer for the buyer?”

@dabbler “It’s bizarre that the new landlord has not provided a way for you to pay them !!”

anniereborn's avatar

@ibstubro Yes, the toilet is right above our kitchen.

anniereborn's avatar

UPDATE: We got a note in our mailbox today from the new landlord. she says she is moving in next week. She says to just put the rent check in her mailbox up front.
(remember this is a duplex, she is not moving into OUR home)

She gave us her phone number. but she tells us even in the note that it’s not working properly and to text her. It will probably just come back to us that it’s a landline again.

We are going to write her a note back and put it in her mailbox up front about the leak and such.
I feel like we are playing the old children’s game of “telephone” here. Or maybe even the 25,000 dollar pyramid.

So far there has been no more leakage (on the floor) at least.

dabbler's avatar

@anniereborn That sounds promising, at least you will know where to find her in the future, and maybe she’ll be a good landlord and get you all fixed up.

snowberry's avatar

@anniereborn Please keep us updated. The suspense is getting thick. :D

anniereborn's avatar

@snowberry Tell me about it! I feel tense most of the time. I most definitely will keep everyone updated. So far there is nothing new to report.

snowberry's avatar

@anniereborn You might want to check your ceiling. If it’s not dried out by now you’re likely growing black mold which is a health hazard.

anniereborn's avatar

UPDATE: The landlady and her boyfriend showed up yesterday. They were up front in their unit quite awhile doing some renovating. Her boyfriend seems to be somewhat of a handyman, which is a great bonus.

They both seem nice and we feel comfortable with them.
Apparently the problem with the phone number was that someone along the way misread/typed one of the numbers wrong. We now have the correct number.

We paid rent directly to her yesterday and got a receipt.

As for the plumbing, the leak started up again today. The landlady’s boyfriend came over to look at it and called a plumber who is coming out tomorrow morning.

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