Rochester Landlord Tenant Attorney Discusses Certificates of Occupancy

  • If a particular municipality requires one, it is wise for a buyer to make the contract subject to the seller’s providing a Certificate of Occupancy. Also, if retaining use of the apartment complex name is important, those rights must be spelled out.
  • If personal property is included with the sale, the contract should specify that the seller will provide a bill of sale for all included personal property such as washers, dryers, stoves, refrigerators, and any other equipment, as well as a UCC search ensuring that no liens are extant, and that the personal property does not serve as collateral for any loans.
  • The seller must assign all rights to leases and security deposits to the buyer at closing. The buyer must see (or be given) all leases and required lead paint notices. It is also important that tenants be provided lead paint notices.
  • Move-in/move-out checklists should be used to document the condition of each part of the apartment when tenants move in – whether it’s satisfactory or needs repair. When a tenant moves out, that checklist provides an invaluable reviewing and verification tool, so the buyer should be sure to obtain that form. Landlords should take photographs or video recordings prior to tenant move-in because, in case of damage, the landlord can prove the damage was caused by the tenant.
  • Contracts should state whether the landlord or seller has failed to maintain – or is under service contracts for – air conditioning, lawn maintenance, snow plowing, or other services.
  • The buyer is entitled to copies of the property’s utility history, income and expense statements for the past three years, and a list of services provided for tenants – such as garbage pick-up, lawn maintenance, snow plowing, or parking. That information will be important in projecting costs, and should be set forth in leases. Buyers must also be made aware of property managers or other employees – either in-house or outside – and whether or not a tenants’ association represents the tenants.
  • The buyer should check with the municipality regarding building code violations and whether any remodeling is underway.
  • The seller should provide representations as to lawsuits between the landlord and any tenants.

This educational legal video was brought to you by Robert Friedman, an experienced Rochester Landlord Tenant Attorney.