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Rent To Own

Rent To Own



When clients seek advice about a “rent to own” is not a legal term.  It is commonly used to refer to many different transactions where someone buys a house by making payments over time. It can also be called lease-purchase or installment sales agreements.  The key feature is that the person does not get ownership (“deed”) until the end of the transaction, after all payments are made. 

Because many different transactions get labeled as “rent to own,” the legal rights involved can vary wildly. The basic problem is that buyers are ½ owners, ½ renters, but often get treated as neither.  Despite some legal protections, buyers frequently encounter many problems including sellers failing to properly credit payments, filing evictions actions in an attempt to regain the properties without proper process, continuing to take out mortgages on the properties they are selling, and sometimes even selling the properties to other people.  We also hear frequent complaints about properties being in very poor condition.  Because of these problems, we generally recommend that people should not enter into rent to own agreements.

What we can do: 

CLS advises clients on what all three types of contracts mean, how they work, and what rights clients have under them.  In some cases, we can refer for representation.  If you have experienced any problems with a rent to own transaction, or just want more information, feel free to seek advice with Community Legal Services, Inc.  We can also review documents before signing the paperwork or paying any money. 

How to get help:

Walk-in Intake

Community Legal Services
North Philadelphia Law Center

1410 West Erie Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9:00 am -12:00 pm