I have been renting the same apartment in New Jersey (close to NYC) for about 6 years. The landlord owns the building which has 4 apartments (no rent control). The landlord is a good guy, only raised my rent once, last year by a reasonable amount. Right now, I think I am paying about $200-300 below the market rate per month for this kind of apartment. I am also on a month to month lease.
We renewed the contract last year (I added a clause saying that "the tenant can end the lease by giving a month's notice with no penalty"), but that contract was valid until end of 2016. Right now, I keep paying month to month based on the verbal agreement. I didn't get a new written contract for this year.
I am a good tenant, always pay on time and never make any trouble.
The house is perfect for rentals, so when the house is sold, new owners will likely continue renting out at least 2-3 of the 4 apartments, but they may want to move into the unit I currently occupy, because it's probably the best one available in the house.
The landlord already showed the house to a few potential buyers, but I believe it's going to take awhile to sell the house because the price is inflated (unless he reduces it or takes a lower offer).
New owners will probably want to raise the rent, especially if they pay the asking price or get a small discount, because the numbers don't seem to add up with the current rent X 4 without considerable future house price appreciation. However, there are many new apartment buildings popping up in this city, so if they raise the rent too much (e.g. by more than 20%), i can just move to one of the brand new buildings but lose the month to month flexibility I have now. This building is an old walkup with no amenities, no elevator, etc, though the the apartment is large and conveniently located.
- What rights/protection do I have as a tenant? My contract (which was valid until end of 2016) states that if the landlord wants me to sign a new contract with different terms, he has to send it 90 days in advance, then I would have 30 days to accept or decline. I think the notice period is 30 days according to the local rules in the same situation.
-Does it make sense to ask the current landlord to formally sign a new lease for 2017 (including the month to month clause) before he sells the house just in case?
-If a new owner wants to raise the price too much and make it a 1 year lease instead of month to month, what is the best course of action? I can try to negotiate in this case but need some advice on how to do it.
-I paid a deposit of about $2.5K when I moved in. What normally happens to the deposit when the owner changes? My understanding is that it gets transferred to the new owner.
-Any other tips from more experienced tenants and landlords would be highly appreciated.