Protecting Tenant Rights in a NYC Buyout situation and getting the most from your Landlord


Law Offices of Justin C. Brasch, Resources, Buyouts in NYC Tenant rights rent stabilized buyoutsIt’s no secret that NYC real estate prices and leasing rates are sky-high. While this works in favor of property owners, it works against residential and commercial renters. As soon as the property owner discovers that their property can bring in more in rental income or be sold for more money, thoughts often turn to buyouts.   Brasch Legal can help get the buyout money that you are entitled to.

What is a buyout?

In a buyout situation, landlords attempt to persuade current renters to take a one-time payment to vacate the property/unit. Then, the landlord turns around and rents out or sells the vacated unit for a higher amount.

This rarely works out well for the tenant. The tenant has now lost its, presumably affordable, unit and now has to find a new place to live or do business. Again, those sky-high leasing rates in NYC come in to play and can severely limit the tenant’s options. The buyout money is gone before they know it and they’re often left having to rent a more expensive unit. Sometimes tenants have to leave the city altogether, which can mean leaving their jobs behind or forcing them into a much longer (and more expensive) commute. Commercial renters who are bought out may lose their business entirely.

Unsurprisingly, the situation is particularly prevalent among rent-controlled and stabilized units, but anytime a landlord can charge a higher rent to a new tenant, there’s a chance of being presented with a buyout offer.

Tenant options

So what do you do if you’re faced with a buyout offer? The first thing to understand is that you always have options. No one can force you to leave your rented unit or break your lease without cause. And even then, there are certain procedures that must be followed to do so.  The Law Offices of Justin C. Brasch has helped dozens of tenants get more money and/or time from their landlord.

Here’s a brief overview of your options in a buyout:

  • Negotiate. If you’re open to the idea of a buyout, it doesn’t hurt to negotiate a higher price. Here is where the experience of a tenant attorney can really help you. Tenant law attorneys are familiar with buyouts all over NYC, as well as real estate prices. Your attorney will be able to tell you if the offer is fair, the likelihood of being able to get a higher offer, and what to make as a counteroffer.  Highly motivated landlords are more likely to negotiate than those who just put a buyout offer out there to see what would happen.  The Law Offices of Justin C. Brasch are experienced with negotiating buyouts and can help you get more from your landlord.
  • Refuse the offer. First, you can flat out refuse the offer. You can’t be evicted without cause and, if you’re in a rent-stabilized unit, the landlord can’t change the rent on you beyond what the Rent Guidelines Board allows. They also can’t deny your right to renew the lease. But be forewarned, some landlords don’t give up so easily. Landlords who don’t like taking “No” for an answer can start to harass tenants and try to drive them out by other means. It’s not unusual for landlords to cease to make repairs or routine maintenance on the unit, to not cash rent checks or threaten to illegally evict the tenant to try and get them to accept the buyout offer. Definitely consult a tenant law attorney if you find yourself in this situation because you cannot be evicted without cause.
  • Accept the offer. You can always accept the offer and move on with your life. Some tenants take the offer and use it to get out of the city and start anew somewhere. The important point in accepting the offer is making sure it is enough to meet your immediate and near future needs. You don’t want to get into a situation where the offer barely covers your moving expense, for example. If that happens, you’re left with nothing.

Tenant rights in a buyout situation

Landlords have been known to go to extreme measures to get around rental laws and force a tenant out. There are numerous state and city laws that protect tenants rights. Knowing your rights can help you retain your apartment and win an eviction case brought against you.

  1. You cannot be evicted without a court order.
  2. The landlord cannot evict you him or herself. Only the Sheriff or City Marshal can take possession of the unit and even then only if they have a court order.
  3. Essential services cannot be cut off.
  4. You cannot be locked out of the unit.

Protect your rights in a buyout with help from Brasch Legal

If you’ve been presented with a buyout offer and aren’t sure what to do, if you feel harassed by your landlord, or if you have a buyout offer that you want to consider, contact the tenant law attorneys at Brasch Legal at 212-267-2500. The Law Offices of Justin C. Brasch has helped dozens of tenants get more money and/or time from their landlord.

We can help you in any of these situations by navigating the complexities of NY landlord-tenant law, making sure your rights are protected, and that you get the buyout money you are entitled to.

Top Author

Justin Brasch
Justin C. Brasch is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Justin C. Brasch and has practiced Landlord/Tenant and Leasing law for over 20 years. His areas of practice include Business & Commercial Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Landlord-Tenant, Leasing, New York City Building and Fire Code Violations, and Real Estate Law.Mr. Brasch has substantial experience and expertise litigating landlord-tenant and complex commercial and residential real estate disputes. Before establishing his firm in 1996, Justin Brasch was a litigation …

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