My girlfriend and I signed a yearlong lease with a landlord and paid him first and last month's rent (both with checks, both with the relevant information in the Memo section; we have the cleared copies, though not a proper receipt). The landlord never gave us a copy of the lease bearing his signature, despite multiple requests on our part. 4 months into the lease, he sold the building to new owners. As I understand it, without the original landlord's signature, our lease is now a tenancy-at-will, meaning so long as the new owners give at least 30 days notice, they can raise the
rent. We're OK with that.
We believe the original owner never gave the new owners a copy of the lease, nor do we think he transferred our last month's rent payment to them (new owners never notified us of the transfer of funds, which I believe they are required to do within 45 days of sale). They are treating the lease as month-to-month.
The question: we want to move. Are we justified in telling the new owners that we've already paid the last month's rent and will be applying the amount as our last "payment"? If we do this, I would imagine we need to provide them with a copy of the cleared check. Do they have the right to contest this? Or are we supposed to pay them and then sue the former owner? The MA dept. of consumer affairs website seems to indicate that the new owners are obligated to honor our previous payment, but we're not sure that they will.