Q: I am buying a house and the seller wants to stay in the property. What is the best way to structure the transaction such that I don’t have problems in the future if they fail to move?

A: This is not a one-answer-fits-all scenario and how you proceed depends upon what you are concerned about. People often enter into sales contracts with a lease back option for a short time period. That is good so you can get rental payments for the occupancy, but depending on the way its worded, you may get rolled into the CDC eviction moratorium if they fail to pay rent or fail to vacate at the end of the lease. On the other hand, you could simply write into the contract a date after the purchase date, when they have to deliver possession. Usually, possession is delivered at COE, but you could put another date if it is shortly after closing. You could then build in the rent to the purchase price. Under such a scenario, if they fail to vacate, they wouldn’t be treated as having a lease, and the moratoriums would likely not apply. Under this option, though, you don’t have a lease setting forth rights and obligations of the parties, beyond what is in the purchase contract. In any such negotiations, contact an attorney.

by Mark B. Zinman, Attorney

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