As the property owner, you have every right to sell your property whenever you want, even if you have sitting tenants. There are, however, certain lines of communication necessary, between you and the tenants, if you decide to sell. This is particularly relevant when it comes to what is stated in the actual tenancy agreement.
With government taxes currently on the rise, it isn’t uncommon for some landlords to decide that enough is enough and choose to sell their property. Thinking carefully about how you approach selling your tenanted property is essential.
If you have a good relationship with your tenants then the first thing to do is have a conversation with them. Let them know that you’re wanting to sell and give them the official notice stated in their tenancy agreement (usually around two months). You only need to give them official notice if you want them to vacate the property once the sale has gone through. If you’re going to sell the property to a new landlord then your tenants may be able to stay in the property and not move out at all.
Sitting tenants can make a property more appealing to new landlords because they know they already have a source of income once the sale goes through.
If you’re selling the property to anyone other than a landlord then offer your tenants the opportunity to continue renting from you until the sale goes through. Sometimes properties can be on the market for several months before selling. Therefore, allowing your tenants to stay on as long as it takes to sell means you won’t lose out financially.
Just make sure that they’re given plenty of notice, in writing, when you plan to do viewings (24-48hrs before-hand) and are also informed when you receive an offer so they know their time in the property is limited OR they have a new landlord. Having a lot of viewings can be quite invasive for some tenants so communicate effectively and be understanding. Try not to book early morning viewings or at a weekend, for example.
When it comes to the tenant’s deposit, make sure that this is protected if you’re selling on to a new landlord. As part of the sale, the seller needs to agree to pass the deposit to the buyer who will then re-protect it. You can get more advice on this from your scheme provider. If you don’t sell to a landlord then you can give the deposit back to the tenants directly.
When selling to another landlord, make sure your conveyancing solicitor has experience of these types of transactions and that the contract specifies that the property is being sold with sitting tenants. You will need to provide evidence that rent payments are up to date as well as a copy of the tenancy agreement. A valid gas safety certificate and fire safety certificate must also be provided as the buyer’s solicitor will be looking out for these documents. You then just have to inform your tenants, via a Section 48 notice, that your interest has now been assigned to a new landlord.
If you end up selling the property to a buyer who isn’t a landlord then the tenants must leave by the date agreed. If they refuse to do so, you will have to commence proceedings and apply to the court. This is long and costly and is something to be avoided, if at all possible. It is worthy of a mention though.
Remember not to rely too heavily on rent payments from your tenants because they also have the right to leave within the notice period in their tenancy agreement. They may become tired of too many viewings and disturbances and decide to move elsewhere. Be prepared, financially, just in case.
If you have difficult tenants who you want to evict in order to sell your property or move into it yourself then you will need to apply for a Section 21 notice. This can be applied if tenants are in rental arrears, are causing disturbances for other neighbours or have damaged the property. The government is currently proposing to abolish Section 21 and replace it with Section 8. You can find out more about what that means here.
If you need to sell your property quickly then The Property Buying Company can help. As cash buyers, we can buy any property, in any location, even if you have sitting tenants. Contact us to find out more.