Selling your property if you have sitting tenants
This can be a complicated process, especially when you have tenants that have not reached the end of the tenancy agreement.
Tenants have rights
If you want to sell the property, you are not entitled to evict the tenants. You can only sell the property with sitting tenants or you will need to give the tenants notice of end the tenancy from section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, gives reasons for wanting possession such as:
- You want to move back into the property yourself
- Your tenants have used the property for illegal reasons
- The tenants are behind on payments
- There is a ‘break clause’ in your contract
It is important that you seek advice before trying to give notice to tenants to remove them from the property.
Conducting viewings when the tenants still live in the property
You do not automatically have the right to show potential new tenants or buyers around the property. You are only to do this if it is agreed in the tenancy agreement and you give the existing tenants at least 24 hours notice in writing.
If you do not have this, you will need to ask the tenants for permission.
The purchaser becomes the new landlords of the tenants
If the property has been sold with sitting tenants, the purchaser now becomes the new landlord. The tenancy agreement is still valid but the landlord’s name will need to be changed. Therefore it is useful to get the new tenancy agreement agreed and signed as soon as possible.
At times, the tenant may decide to refuse to sign anything. They have the right to do this and in this situation the new landlord should communicate in writing with the tenants telling them the change of landlord and give them the new payment details for the rent.
At all stages, it is important to seek advice and professional help from your lettings agency to guide and support you.
If you would like any help or advice, please contact your local Felicity J Lord lettings branch.