Selling your investment property whilst tenanted: what you need to know

Deciding to put your investment property on the market whilst it is still tenanted is a common practice. However, it does mean that you have certain obligations during the selling process as a landlord.

As the owner of the property, you have the right to opt to sell whenever you choose, even if you have a fixed term rental agreement with your tenant. However, as there are tenants involved, there are certain legal regulations you must follow.

Your first point of call should be to speak to your property manager, so that they can advise the tenant of your decision in a timely manner, giving them as much time as possible to prepare.

Viewings and inspections

·         Tenants must be given reasonable notice in writing prior to a home open inspection. As the term ‘reasonable’ can be interpreted differently, be sure to negotiate this with your tenant and have the agreement in writing.

·         As the landlord, you are also limited to showing the property during reasonable times (8am – 6pm on weekdays, 9am-5pm on Saturday).

·    If you are planning to show the house multiple times during the week, it is not uncommon for tenants to be compensated for the inconvenience in reduced rent during this time.

Terminating the rental agreement

·         If you have a fixed term rental agreement with your tenant, this remains valid even if you sell the property. This means you must sell the property subject to the tenancy, and the new owner will then take over the existing rental agreement. If you need the property vacant before the lease is up, ask your selling agent to negotiate with the tenant. You may have to offer compensation such as a rent-free period. However, the tenants are within their rights to refuse this proposition and stay with their current fixed term agreement.

·         If you have a periodic rental agreement with your tenant, you must give them 60 days’ written notice to vacate as per the guidelines given by Tenancy WA if you want to market the home vacant.  If the tenant stays on during the sales process whilst on a periodic lease they are required to be given 30 full days’ notice to vacate by their property manager once the sales contract becomes unconditional (e.g. finance approved). However, if all parties are in agreement, you can provide the purchasers the option to take on the tenants on a periodic basis. This is sometimes favourable if the purchasers are buying for investment purposes.

Be flexible

The selling process can be a stressful time for everyone involved, including the tenant, so try and be accommodating and respectful at all times. At the end of the day, keeping your tenant happy and on side will help make the entire process run as smoothly as possible.

Always go through the proper channels

Selling a tenanted property can pose added complications, so we always recommend going through your selling agent or property manager to ensure all legal rights and obligations are upheld during the process. As always, a record of all communication should be kept during this time.

Thinking of selling?

If you’re thinking of putting your tenanted investment property on the market, we recommend enlisting the help of an experienced and reputable selling agent. Our experts at Peard Real Estate are always on hand to assist you during your real estate experience, from start to finish. Visit www.peard.com.au for more information.