Renter's Rights

I recently bought a property where the renter paid two months rent in advance to the ex-owner (who purportedly was going out of the country and therefore needed to collect the rent in advance). Notwithstanding the fact that I want to reach a settlement that encourages the renter to leave and “feel good” about the move, what are the renter’s rights in this case. It seems to me that the prior owner has illegally collected rents for a period where he does not own the property and that the renter may have recourse against that prior owner. Any other thoughts?

Yes, they should take them to small claims court. Most counties offer assistance to those who wish to make a claim in small claims court. I’d direct them there.