By: Daniel T. Pascale, Esq.
Offices located in Delray Beach and Coral Gables, FL
Consider a scenario where you have been leasing a residential property in Miami on a month-to-month basis for a little over a year but would like the eventual opportunity to purchase the property. Over the course of several lengthy conversations between you (the tenant) and the property owner (the landlord), the landlord ultimately agrees to give you the exclusive option to purchase the property once you resolve some old credit issues associated with a prior foreclosure. After your landlord gives you at least two verbal assurances in one week alone that you have an option to purchase the property and you shake hands on the agreement, you believe that the “deal is done.” However, after searching on Zillow one week later, you discover that your landlord has listed your property for sale with a broker. You immediately contact the listing broker and are told that the property is now under contract for sale to someone else and that you have one month to leave.
What are your legal rights in this situation? Can you sue your landlord to enforce the verbal option agreement that you accepted? Do you really only have one month left before you have to leave when you have lived at the property for over a year? Sadly, the answer to all of these questions is that you have no right to purchase the property or legal recourse against your landlord. To make matters worse, it’s also true that you have no legal right to stay in the property for anything longer than the thirty days that the landlord provided. Here is why, and here is how to prevent this tragic situation from playing out in the first place: