When selling a house that is empty, there are not as many details to worry about as when you put an occupied house on the market. If a house has no tenants, it’s easy to stage with some furnishings and you don’t have to worry about as many details to schedule regular showings. Although it can be done, you can sell a house while it is occupied by renters, but it’s very important to handle it correctly since you and the tenant both have rights and responsibilities. Here are a few of the most common questions asked by property owners who need to know how to sell a house with tenants.
Is it legal or can I sell a house with tenants?
It is optimal to wait until a lease expires before putting property back on the market. You are not obligated nor required to renew a lease once it has expired. In some cases, this is the best option since a tenant can cause some difficulties if they are not happy about you selling the property. They can prolong the sale for a year or more by sabotaging your efforts. They can make it difficult to show the house, or leave it in a mess. But it is legal to sell a house while the tenants are still occupying the property, it can actually be beneficial to the sale of the house. Usually, when a tenant becomes aware of the sale, they will immediately start looking for another residence. You can also help ease the process by lowering their rent for a month or two before the showing begins. Having someone in the home during showings can be more effective when showing the home than showing an empty home.
Do I have to evict tenants before selling the house?
Depending in the particular circumstances, you may be wondering, do I have to evict tenants before selling my property? This is a common question and in some instances it makes perfect since. However, to answer the question, first take a look at the lease and the specific language it uses about giving eviction notices or how it mentions the possible sale of the house. The lease may state directly how much notice must be given to tenants in the case an eviction is involved in the sale of the home. Usually a standard rental agreement or lease requires 30 to 60 days’ notice. You also need to check with local and state laws regarding evictions. However, it is not necessary to evict tenants before selling the house. A typical closing on a house takes 6-8 weeks which allows plenty of time to give notice. There are some instances where the new owner is willing to continue honoring any lease agreement that is in place at the time of the sale. It will all depend on the specific situation, but tenants do not have to be evicted before the house is sold.
Do I have to inform tenants I am selling the house?
Property owners may have numerous reasons for wanting to sell their property. And since it’s their property, they can sell it whenever they want. Many still ask do I have to inform tenants I am selling the house? If you have tenants in a home you are wanting to sell, it is ideal if you can get them to cooperate with the process. Tenants do have certain rights while living in rented properties and one of them is the right to “quiet enjoyment” free from harassment. Property owners will benefit from open communication with the tenants when putting occupied property on the market for sale. You will need their cooperation when you start showing the house or property to potential buyers so you want to keep tenants up on what is going on at all times. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open by informing tenants you are selling the house.
Should I inform the tenant in writing; or can I just tell them of my intentions?
It can be a big mistake to only inform a tenant verbally of your intentions to sell the property they are occupying. Since tenants have certain rights, they can complicate the process or even hold it up by saying they did not know. It’s best practice to put the notice in writing. No one likes to be surprised by these types of events that have such a huge effect on their lives and the tenant might not act favorably if a real estate agent just shows up one day telling them their house is being put on the market. A landlord might consider personally delivering the letter informing the tenant of the sale of the property. This keeps communication open and allows the tenant to ask questions about the sale and how it effects them or their family.
Can I show the home if it is occupied by tenants?
Yes, you can definitely show the home even though it has tenants. Most states have laws regarding giving proper notice to tenants before landlords can enter the property, be sure to follow these laws when you are scheduling a showing. By keeping communication with the tenant open, you can find what times work best for them and schedule showings per their schedule so they are inconvenienced as little as possible. This can make the process go more smoothly for all parties concerned. It is best to make appointments with the tenant verbally rather than sending an email or leaving them a voicemail informing them of an upcoming showing. These are not ways of fulfilling the legal notice requirement for entering leased property. Be sure to check the specific laws in your area about what type of notice is required prior to entering leased property. And always be considerate of the tenants. This helps ease the stress for them and lets them know you are sensitive to their situation. They will be more cooperative if you handle the sale in a considerate and sensitive manner.