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Negotiating Tenant Buyout Agreements

Negotiating Tenant Buyout Agreements

Negotiating Tenant Buyout Agreements


Negotiating Tenant Buyout Agreements

Because most tenants in cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley have rent and eviction control, landlords have limited ways to raise rent or evict long-term tenants. Landlords looking to raise rents or sell a building inevitably will approach tenants about a potential buyout of their tenancy. A buyout is an agreement where a landlord pays a tenant in exchange for moving out of their home.

For landlords buyouts are a great way to increase the sale price of a property or their rental revenue. However, for tenants, deciding to accept a buyout can have major implications. If your landlord approaches you about a buyout, the attorneys at Wolford Wayne can help you decide if a buyout is right for you, fully explain your legal options and represent you in buyout negotiations.

Assessing the Value of Your Tenancy

When a tenancy is protected by rent and eviction controls, landlords have limited legal ways to force a tenant to move out. The laws put limits on how much a landlord can increase rent each year. This helps to protect tenants from unreasonable rent increases that could make their homes unaffordable.  However, once a tenant has moved out, landlords are free to rent out that unit at whatever price they can get for it. As a result, the longer you’ve lived in your home, the more valuable your tenancy likely is. That difference in rent, along with the location of your home, your age, health, and the type of building you live in can all impact the value of a potential buyout.

Ultimately the biggest value in a buyout negotiation is your willingness to stay if a buyout cannot be reached. For that reason, we don’t typically recommend approaching your landlord about a buyout. If a landlord thinks you want to leave, they have less incentive to enter a buyout agreement. 

When we represent tenants, we help our clients assess the risks and benefits to a potential negotiation or deal so that they can make the decision that is right for them.

If Your Landlord Brings Up a Buyout Contact a Lawyer Immediately 

When a landlord approaches a tenant about a buyout, it is highly likely that:

  • The landlord wants to sell the property or rent it out at a much higher price
  • The landlord has already discussed a strategy with a landlord attorney
  • The landlord does not have your best interests in mind and is trying to maximize the return on their investment

Often, we see landlords approach tenants and recommend a sit down to discuss the situation. As a general rule we do not recommend meeting with your landlord or discussing buyout terms until you’ve had a chance to talk about your options with a qualified tenant’s rights attorney. Many landlords try to approach these discussions casually in hopes of catching tenants off guard or committing you to a particular number. These landlords typically have already retained an attorney to represent them and are looking to get tenants to agree to something before they’ve had a chance to get advice from a tenant lawyer.

Many tenants, in an effort to be friendly or avoid conflict, meet with landlords and in doing so risk saying something that could hurt their negotiating power. If your landlord suggests they want to talk about buying you out or why they need you to move out – call a lawyer straight away before having any conversations.

For tenants who are already considering a change a buyout can be an opportunity to cash in on the “equity” you have built up by living in a rent-controlled home, but each case is unique. For many tenants, buyouts can leave you in a worse position, as rents in the Bay Area are among the highest in the country.

If you do want to consider a buyout, contact an attorney from Wolford Wayne LLP to discuss your options. Should you decide you want to negotiate a buyout our team will:

    • Handle all communications with your landlord or their attorney
    • Evaluate the risks and benefits of a potential buyout
    • Review and discuss offers with you
    • Help you evaluate your goals and potential counteroffers
    • Ensure that if you reach a deal, you have a legally binding buyout agreement that protects your interests.

Beware Tenant Harassment

On rare occasion, if a landlord is unable to negotiate a buyout, they may resort to illegal tactics to force a tenant out illegally. If you are being harassed or are wrongfully evicted the team at Wolford Wayne may be able to help you take legal action against your landlord. For more information on tenant harassment click here.

Call Wolford Wayne Today to Discuss a Buyout Offer 

Our team of experienced tenant’s rights attorneys has helped hundreds of tenants in buyout negotiations and wrongful evictions in Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Our firm is 100% dedicated to representing residential tenants. We never represent landlords, only tenants, so you never have to wonder whose side we are on. Contact the team at Wolford Wayne here or call us today to request a free consultation. We’re ready to help you.

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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.

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