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Real estate Q&A: Condo unit tenants possess rights to exercise if building owner elects to sell

Gary M. Singer, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: We have been renting the same apartment for years. Recently we were told that our building is being converted to a condominium. We want to keep renting. What are our rights?

-- Jackson

A: Your building owner does have the right to develop your complex into a condominium and sell off the units. You, also, have rights in this situation.

No later than the time that the developer offers individual units for sale it must deliver a letter notifying you of your rights and options in a very specific format. You have the right to finish your lease and can even extend it for a period of time, typically 270 days, at your current rent, by giving prompt notice to the developer.

You may also have the option to terminate your lease early, and may even be eligible for a relocation payment under certain circumstance. Read the letter carefully to learn your options.

You will also have the first shot at buying your unit and the developer must provide you with the details of the purchase offer within 90 days of that first letter. If the purchase materials are sent late, your lease will be extended an equal number of days so you have enough time to consider the offer and make the purchase.

Depending on where you live you may have additional rights as well, since some counties have additional protections in place. Because this is a regulated process, the notices and your responses must be made properly; therefore, it is important that you read and understand the letters and follow the instructions carefully to make sure your rights are protected.

About The Writer

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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