Buyouts are different from tenant moving expenses in owner occupancy evictions or Ellis eviction relocation benefits. A buyout is essentially the landlord paying the tenant an agreed upon dollar amount to vacate the property and therefore avoid any eviction processes.
There is some debate about the legality of negotiated buyouts. Much of the debate centers around who contacted who first. Tenants are protected from a landlord “endeavoring to recover possession” of a property by threatening or implying eviction. It can be defined that a landlord contacting a tenant about relocating without just cause may be in violation of the law regarding wrongful eviction. However if a tenant contacts the landlord then it may be construed as permissible.
A buyout is a slippery slope though for the property owner as the tenant has considerably more leverage under the law. A buyout may be favorable in that the property owner avoids the eviction process. However it would be wise to consult a real estate attorney prior to engaging in a buyout to ensure risk is minimized.