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Answer If you're purchasing a house and the previous owner hasn't moved out by your contracted move-in date, a standard real estate contract will have provisions for them to pay you rent on a daily basis. In situations where an on-time move is critical, many agents make the rental payments very high, discouraging tardiness.Be aware that closing date is not always moving date. Trouble Some states have strong protection for "tenants", even after they stop paying rent. This could mean you are better off if your seller or his tenants are completely OUT as a condition precedent to the closing. It is much easier to evict a trespasser than it is a former tenant. If you are surprised at "closing" with a holdover tenant, and nothing about it in the contract, you could refuse to close until this defect on title is cleared up, perhaps by a side contract and a compelling hold-back of compensation in the closing. However, in some jurisdictions, an open and continuous tenancy is not considered to impact marketable title and you could be forced to proceed or else default and take your chances on damages.

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We closed on our house several days before the previous owner moved out. They took light fixtures, towel rods and other items that should have been left behind. They also kept the keys and garage door opener. I will definitely add that condition to the contract should I ever buy again. As it was, as soon as the deed was recorded we were in the house changing the locks and putting their stuff outside.

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Q: What rights do you have for guaranteeing an empty house on settlement?
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