Can property management take over month to month without providing tenant signature from landlord regarding change?
The property management firm acts as an agent of the landlord, and is the landlord’s representative on matters pertaining to the property, as delegated to them in the property management contract.
Note that the property management contract is between the property manager and the landlord.
It’s not a contract between the tenant and the property manager, nor a contract between the tenant and the landlord. The tenant is not in a position to approve or disapprove anything that does not involve a change to the lease.
Consider this example: Rental properties are bought and sold all the time, with existing leases. The fact that the landlord changes over completely does not render the lease contracts null and void. Rather, the lease agreements either stay in place as is, or they are assigned to the new landlord.
That is, the new landlord has the obligation to continue to provide the dwelling space and all the rights and benefits specified in the lease.
The entity you make the rent check out to each month might change, and even the mailing address might change. But that’s not normally a material change to the lease, and there’s no requirement whatsoever that a landlord get a tenants’ permission before selling, unless there’s a preexisting contract in place that requires the tenant’s approval (for example, when the tenant is in a lease to own arrangement, or has lent the landlord money in exchange for a lien on the property.)
Now, to continue the analogy further, if there is no requirement for a landlord to get a tenant’s approval before selling the property to someone else, there’s certainly no reason to restrict the landlord’s freedom to contract with another property manager.
Everything in the existing lease agreement remains in place. If you buy a property, you typically take on all the contracts that go along with it, just as when you buy a business, you take on all the obligations and liabilities of the business as well – including the obligation to provide housing to everyone with a current lease!
That also means, of course, that the new property manager cannot change the terms of the lease willy-nilly.
For example, they may tell you “make your monthly rent check out to ABC Properties, rather than XYZ Developers.” But they cannot summarily change the rent payment one penny except as provided for in the lease.
So what can you expect in Chandler, Arizona? Obviously, Arizona law governs. If a landlord wants to raise rent in Arizona – or make any other material changes to a lease contract, and the lease is month-to-month, the landlord must give you not less than 30 days notice prior to the date the new rent is due.
For example: if the rent is due on the 1st day of each month, and your landlord tells you on February 1st that the rent is going up, then the new rent becomes effective not on March 1st, but on April 1st.
However, if your landlord provided you notice on January 1st, then the new rent would be due on February 1st! That is, the new payment becomes effective the very next month. Why? Because there are 31 days in January!
If you had a year-long lease in place, though, your landlord can change the property manager, and he or she can sell the property – but the lease survives, and no one can change that without your approval until the term of the lease ends.
Writing about personal finance and investments since 1999, Jason Van Steenwyk started as a reporter with Mutual Funds Magazine and served as editor of Investors’ Digest. He now publishes feature articles in many publications including Annuity Selling Guide, Bankrate.com, and more.