How much notice to give tenant when selling
Selling a property is a confusing and difficult process, made even more so when you’re a landlord wanting to sell your property, but you need to make sure you terminate your tenant’s tenancy first.
With there being so many different types of tenancy agreements and countless rule changes since COVID began, there’s no wonder landlords are wondering how much notice to give tenant when selling, which is why we’re here to help!
We’re going to run you through the different types of tenancy, how much notice to give tenant when selling AND if there’s a quicker way to sell
Different types of tenancy
When it comes to a tenancy agreement, there are many different types of tenancy you may have in place with your tenants.
As you may expect, each different type of tenancy will have a different answer to ‘how much notice to give tenant when selling’ so it’s important you familiarise yourself with the different types and identify which tenancy agreement you have in place.
To help you out, we’ve got a list of the various different types of tenancies below:
Assured shorthold tenancies
Assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) are the most common type of tenancy in England, with most new tenancy agreements being this type.
A tenancy can be an AST if all of the following apply:
The property you rent is private
Your tenancy agreement started on or after 15th January 1989
The property is your main accommodation (if you’re the tenant)
Your landlord doesn’t live in the property (if you’re the tenant)
A tenancy can’t be an AST if:
It began or was agreed before 15th January 1989
The rent is more than £100,000 a year
The rent is less than £250 a year, or £1,000 in London
The property is a holiday let
Your landlord is a local council (if you’re the tenant)
It's a business tenancy or tenancy of licensed premises
Excluded tenancies or licences
A less common tenancy agreement is an excluded tenancy or license. This is when the tenant lodges with the landlord and shares rooms with them. With this type of agreement, there’s less protection from eviction for tenants.
You’re most likely to have an assured tenancy if it started between 15th January 1989 and 27th February 1997. With this type of tenancy, there’s increased protection from eviction for tenants.
If your tenancy started before 15th January 1989 then it may be a regulated tenancy. Tenants will have increased protection from eviction and are able to apply for a ‘fair rent’.
How much notice to give a tenant when selling
How much notice to give a tenant when selling will depend upon what tenancy agreement you have, where you’re up to in the tenancy agreement and why you’re wanting to sell.
How much notice to give tenant when selling – ASTs
As a landlord, you can take your property back without giving any reason if you have either; a periodic tenancy; or a fixed-term tenancy that has ended.
In order to do this, you must have protected your tenant’s deposit in a deposit protection scheme and the date you’re asking them to leave must be at least 6 months after the original tenancy began.
The amount of notice you will need to give your tenant will differ, depending on when you’re giving the notice. You must give:
2 months if you gave the notice before 26th March 2020
3 months if you gave the notice between 26th March 2020 and 28th August 2020
6 months if you gave the notice between 29th August 2020 and 31st May 2021
4 months if you gave the notice between 1st June 2021 and 30th September 2021
2 months if you gave the notice on or after 1st October 2021
In this case, you will have to give a section 21 notice.
If you’re wanting to give your tenant notice during a fixed term, you’re only able to do this on certain grounds, for example:
If your tenant is behind with the rent payments
If your tenants have used the property for illegal purposes
If your tenants have damaged the property
If this is the case and you’re wanting to give notice during a fixed term, you must give at least 2 months’ notice. You will also have to give a section 8 notice.
How much notice to give tenant when selling – Assured tenancies
For this type of tenancy, you must give a section 8 notice and you must provide your tenant with one of the legal reasons included in the Housing Act 1988.
Depending on your reasoning for giving your tenant notice, there will be different amounts of notice periods that you will need to meet, but with most section 8 notices you must give at least 2 weeks’ notice.
How much notice to give tenant when selling – Excluded tenancies or licenses
With an excluded tenancy or license, you will be required to give ‘reasonable notice’. If, for example, your tenants pay rent monthly, then one months’ notice will be considered reasonable.
How much notice to give tenant when selling – Non-excluded tenancies or licenses
This notice period will depend upon the tenancy and the agreement, but generally speaking the notice period for non-excluded tenancies or licenses is 4 weeks.
What do I do if the tenant refuses to leave?
If you have served your tenants with a notice and the notice period has expired but the tenant will not leave the property, then you will have to go through the courts to evict them.
You’re not able to do the eviction yourself, by changing the locks and removing their possessions, as this will be classed as an illegal eviction, and this will get you into legal trouble.
You are, however, able to sell your property with your tenants in situ, if you’ve made them aware you wish to sell the property and they’re happy to remain.
We’re actually going to talk you through the various methods of selling your property with sitting tenants next, so make sure you read through that to decide if it’s best to sell your property without evicting your tenants.
Is there a quicker way to sell?
When it comes to selling, instead of doing lots of research on ‘how much notice to give tenant when selling’, you could actually go ahead and try to sell your property tenanted.
It can be a little trickier to sell your property with sitting tenants, but it will save you the time of having to give your tenants a notice or having to evict them if they refuse to leave.
The good news is you have a few different sales methods when it comes to selling a tenanted property, which we will run you through now so you can decide which method suits you best:
The first method we’re going to talk you through is the more traditional method of selling through an estate agent. Whilst estate agents tend to sell properties that are for buyers to move into, that isn’t to say they won’t sell your tenanted property.
You will need to speak to a few different estate agents and check their experience with selling tenanted property. You will also want to read their reviews and invite them round to value the property, before deciding this is the right sales method for you.
However, a major problem with selling a property with sitting tenants on the open market with an estate agent is that your tenant will need to give consent for every viewing, and they have the right to refuse any viewing, should they choose to.
You will also have to give your tenant written notice at least 24 hours before a viewing and you and the estate agent must make sure you don’t breach the term that allows a tenant to live in quiet enjoyment, as they may argue you’re bordering on harassment.
On top of this, there’s nothing to say your tenants need to make sure the house looks presentable, meaning they’re able to leave the house in a mess in order to put off any potential buyers.
Tenanted properties are also less valuable and will appeal to a smaller pool of potential buyers, meaning the number of people looking on the open market for a tenanted property will be fairly small, making it more difficult to sell your property.
A tenant also adds more complications into the process, resulting in big time delays. This will mean selling on the open market isn’t the quickest, or cheapest, method for selling your tenanted property.
Another option when it comes to selling a tenanted property is to sell your property through an auction. An auction may be better suited to your property than the open market as you will get a small pool of serious buyers, who will be looking for a tenanted property.
At auction, all buyers must have their finances in place to be prepared to exchange contracts as soon as the hammer comes down on a deal. After the exchange, the buyer has 20 to 28 days to complete the sale, making it a much speedier process than the open market.
However, at auction, you will still need to host a few open days to allow for potential buyers to look around. This will mean you will have to make sure your tenant agrees to this, otherwise no buyers will want to bid on your property having not seen it themselves.
Also, selling through auction will still not be the quickest way to sell a house, with you potentially having to wait up to 6 weeks to have your property approved for auction.
After you’ve had your property approved, you may then have to wait until a property auction comes up, which could be months down the line.
Auction will also be a costly process, with you having to pay marketing costs, room hire and a commission of the sale price to the auctioneer, as well as having to cover all your own legal fees.
There are also no guarantees your house will sell at auction – you may not find a buyer wanting a tenanted property or you may not reach the reserve price you have set, meaning you could end up wasting time and money only for your house not to sell.
Cash house buyer
The final option for selling your tenanted property is to sell to a cash house buyer. Whilst you may be able to find a cash buyer on the open market, there are no guarantees of this, and it won’t be the quickest cash buyer you could sell to.
Selling to a cash house buying company, like ourselves, is the quickest and cheapest way to sell your tenanted property, with us covering all your fees, including the legal ones, and being able to complete in a timescale of your choice – a week, a month, the choice is yours!
We only require one quick viewing of your property, to make sure our cash offer is accurate, which we’re happy to arrange at a time that suits your tenants to ensure as little disruption as possible.
We’re also not a typical buyer, so we won’t be put off by a messy property or some moody looking tenants.
As you’re selling the property directly to us, you won’t have to pay us a commission of the sale price, meaning our cash offer is the amount you will receive in FULL.
We’re members of the National Association of Property Buyers and The Property Ombudsman and we’re rated excellent on Trustpilot with over 1,000 reviews, showing you we’re a cash buyer you can trust!
We’ve also got over 50 years of combined experience, so we really have seen it all!
Give us a call or fill in our online form to receive a no-obligation cash offer for your tenanted property, meaning you don’t need to give your tenant ANY notice before selling!