No. California tenants are not required to move simply because the landlord places their building on the market or closes on a sale. Their tenant rights remain the same. Nothing changes by virtue of the landlord placing the building on the market or closing on a building sale. The only substantive change is to whom the California tenant pays rent.

To terminate a tenancy in California, the landlord must serve the California tenant with an advanced written notice:

  • For tenancies where the California tenant has resided in the unit for less than one (1) year, the California tenant need only receive thirty (30) days advanced written notice; and,
  • For tenancies where the California tenant has resided in the unit for at least one (1) year, the California tenant must receive sixty (60) days advanced written notice. California Civil Code § 1946.1(b) & (c).

If the landlord does not serve a written termination of tenancy notice, the California tenant need not move even where the building is up for sale, or the landlord completes a sale. In California, an advanced written notice terminating the tenancy is always required to force a California tenant from their home.

Where a local rent ordinance does not protect the California tenant’s just cause for eviction provision, or California Rent Control, the landlord need not assert a reason for terminating the tenancy in the written termination of tenancy notice. Instead, the landlord may terminate the tenancy without reason. However, where the California tenant can establish that the termination is retaliatory, they may be able to defeat the termination of tenancy notice and remain in their home. California Civil Code § 1942.5. An example of retaliation may occur when the California tenant complains about the landlord’s excessive and unreasonable entry into the home related to the building sale, and the landlord terminates the tenancy. In contrast, the building remains on the market for only one (1) month following the California tenant’s legitimate complaint.

For California tenants protected by just cause for eviction, which requires the landlord to assert a just cause or legally permissible reason, the California tenant will not likely have to move when terminating the tenancy. Most rent ordinances, including California Rent Control, do not allow a landlord to terminate a tenancy due to a building sale. Therefore, California tenants protected by a rent ordinance’s just cause for eviction protection provision will not likely have to move when their landlord sells the building or puts the building up for sale.

Click here to read our sale of building article written specifically for San Francisco tenants.

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Astanehe Law is the best landlord-tenant law firm to handle a sale of building issue in California. Astanehe Law has dealt with hundreds of landlord-tenant cases in California. Astanehe Law has handled sale of building wrongful and constructive eviction claims. The firm only represents California tenants, and never landlords. It is never too early to establish a relationship with an experienced California tenant attorney when your landlord places your apartment building up for sale or closes on a sale. Contact Astanehe Law today to discuss your rights and options as a California tenant when your landlord puts the building up for sale or sells the building.