Condominium Conversions



When home values rise, it becomes attractive for landlords or developers to convert apartments to condominiums.  To understand why, let's do the math.  An 8 unit apartment building may be worth $1,000,000 (as an apartment building).  After the same building is converted to 8 individual condos, each unit may sell for $350,000 or more.  8 units times $350,000 each is $2,800,000, almost tri[ple.  Even with permits, renovations and costs of the sales, the building could become worth so much more than it was as an apartment. The downturn in real estate values since 2007 slowed this practice down significantly BUT after 2013, condominium conversion activity appears to be dramatically increasing again.

After the real estate slow down in 2009, many apartments being upgraded for sale never became condominiums so they became upscale apartments.  Some of these became great rentals for tenants.  Some owners are now looking at conversions while others are looking to rising rents as the better deal for them.

As a tenant, you have special rights if you are affected by a condominium conversion. Landlords may try and take away your
rights by forcing you to move out without all the required notices or simply by the harassment of construction activities during renovation.  With such conversions, the tenant may be entitled to significant benefits including compensation, more time to look for a place to live or even the first right to buy the unit. Seek legal advice if you are being affected by a condominium conversion.

Remember to  protect your rights before you lose them.

Relocation Benefits
Some cities or municipalities have Relocation Benefit programs for displaced tenants.  These change often so be sure to check your area to see if there is a program if you are facing this situation.

Tenant notice requirements:
Tenants are entitled to several special notices when there is a Condominium Conversion.  See Govt. Code sections 66427.1 66452.17  66452.1866452.19, and 66452.20..  These are only a starting point and general guide.  Other code sections and decisional case law may also apply

Right of first refusal to purchase:
Further, tenants who rent after final map approval may have a right of first refusal as provided in
Govt. Code section 66427.1 to purchase their occupied unit on the same or more favorable terms and conditions initially offered to the general public.

Remember these laws are complex and simply reading or researching codes will not protect you.  If you want to know what your rights are as a tenant, you are urged to promptly seek legal advice from an attorney of your choice experienced in these matters.

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California law for San Diego is applied in these pages.  Such laws may or may not be applicable in other jurisdictions.  The information provided herein is of a general nature and is not intended to be taken as specific legal advice.  For legal advice in a particular situation, promptly consult with an appropriate attorney.