We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Attornment?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At SmartCapitalMind, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An attornment is a situation in which someone recognizes and accepts the transfer of legal rights. The classic situation in which attornments occur is when a property sells, and tenants of the property recognize the buyer as their new landlord. People can also recognize the rights of a court which normally has no jurisdiction over them by attorning. There are a number of ways in which someone can attorn, ranging from signing a formal agreement to staying in a rental property after the sale to indicate acceptance of a new landlord.

The roots of this concept lie in feudalism. When a lord wanted to sell or transfer property, the property rights could not be transferred without the consent of the tenants. This proceeding was designed to give tenants a chance to refuse a new lord if they wanted to. In the modern era, tenants cannot block the sale or transfer of property by refusing to attorn, but they can opt to leave without penalty, unless an attornment clause has been included in their lease.

If a lease agreement includes an attornment clause, it means that the tenant agrees to honor a new landlord if the property changes hands while the tenant's lease is still good. The new landlord, in turn, must agree to honor the terms of the lease. In situations where an attornment clause has not been added to a lease, tenants are informed when the property is sold and they have the option of staying and possibly signing a form to indicate that they recognize the new landlord, or leaving.

The attornment clause is one of the many reasons why tenants should always read their lease agreements carefully, and ask to have portions which they do not understand explained before they sign. For a long lease or a complex commercial lease, it is advisable to consult a lawyer to review the terms of the lease agreement and confirm that they are favorable and acceptable. It may be especially important to be aware of the presence or lack thereof of an attornment clause.

If a tenant's landlord does indicate that a property is being sold or repossessed by a bank, tenants should familiarize themselves with the options if an attornment clause is not part of the lease. Tenants may want to be aware that although they may be able to opt to attorn, the new owner may or may not honor the terms of the lease.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By MrMoody — On Aug 24, 2011

@hamje32 - Actually, you would have noticed if such a change had happened. I think you would have received a notice of attornment in the mail telling you who the new landlord will be.

In most circumstances, you probably should not care about the transfer, unless your new landlord turns out to be a nightmare. Of course, you can’t know these things in advance; but like the article says, your commitments in either case should be spelled out in the lease agreements.

I think that most landlords of rental complexes are typically reasonable people however.

By hamje32 — On Aug 23, 2011

I lived in an apartment for a number of years before finally owning a house. I’ve never knowingly signed anything like an attornment agreement; it may have been hidden in the fine print of my lease, but I didn’t know about it if it did.

Honestly, I don’t think I would have cared either way about the transfer of the property to a new landlord. My main concerns as a tenant were peace and quiet, cleanliness, secure surroundings and affordable rent.

I probably wouldn’t even have noticed if the property changed landlords, and I suspect most tenants would not have noticed either.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
SmartCapitalMind, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

SmartCapitalMind, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.