The enticements might extend beyond that, Ferris said.
"It might be something where we buy them a gift card," he said. "We're going to treat the students right. We're not going to hassle them."
He said officials will lobby the tenants in the initial construction zone the heaviest, but students in other parts of Sunnyside will be welcome to break their leases, as well.
"If they want out, we'll say sure," he said. "Certainly, like I said, we'd like to be able to strike a deal with everybody so Paradigm can begin construction."
According to state tenant law, a landlord can break a year-to-year lease as long as he gives notice "at least three months prior to the end of the year."
Bruce Perrone, a landlord-tenant expert with West Virginia Legal Aid, said leases can have dozens of clauses that allow landlords to get out of a contract. Properties changing hands during foreclosure or bankruptcy proceedings also could nullify tenants' leases.
"What does the lease say?" Perrone said. "The lease may give the owner the option of terminating. That can be either whenever he feels like it or under certain prescribed conditions.
"If the landlord has the authority to terminate, then the tenant is going to be stuck."
Perrone said that if the lease is an otherwise solid one-year rental agreement, then the owners still are bound to their tenants if the property changes hands.
"I think, as a general rule of thumb," he said, "the purchaser of property steps into the obligation of the seller in regard to lease."
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.