‘What if my landlord decides to sell?’ This is a question often asked by tenants. But while it’s true that your landlord can choose to sell the property you’re renting at any time, rest assured you won’t be left in the lurch.
There are rules and procedures in place in every state to ensure the sale period proceeds as smoothly as possible for both tenants and owners. Let’s take a look at how it all works in NSW.
Will I have to move out?
Don’t automatically assume that you have to move out of your property if your landlord is looking to sell! They might sell to another investor who will choose to keep the property as a rental. If this is the case, the existing tenancy agreement that’s in place will still stand.
If, however, the buyer intends to be an owner-occupier – or if the investor decides they want different tenants – you will need to start looking for a new place to live.
How much notice will I get?
If your fixed term lease agreement has expired, and the new owner wants vacant possession of the property, your landlord must give you 30 days’ written notice from the date contracts are exchanged for sale.
Alternatively, if the fixed term has expired but the new investor decides to terminate your lease after taking possession of the property, they must provide you with 90 days’ notice.
If your lease agreement is still current, the new owner of the property must abide by its terms and conditions. This means seeing out the term of the agreement and then providing 30 days’ notice after this if they want you to vacate.
If you’ve been served notice to vacate, you can move out before the specified date without having to provide notice to your landlord. If you wish, you are also able to break a fixed term lease agreement once your landlord informs you of their decision to sell; you just need to provide 14 days’ notice.
What access will the owner have for showings, photographs etc.?
The owner and/or their sales agent have the right to access the property and show prospective buyers through. However, you must be provided with written notice at least 14 days before the first open house.
The number of showings per week must also be reasonable, and you and the owner will need to work together to agree on inspection times that suit both parties.
The owner can take photographs of the property’s exterior for advertising purposes; however, your permission is required for internal photos.
What are the expectations on presentation of the property?
As part of your lease agreement, you will have agreed to keep the property in a reasonably clean and tidy state throughout your tenancy. The same goes for the period in which the property is for sale.
We recommend preparing for prospective buyer inspections the same way you’d prepare for an inspection by your property manager. The following standards should be considered:
- General cleanliness and tidiness throughout the property, especially:
- Kitchens – exhaust fans, ovens and stovetops free of grease, dust and other buildup
- Bathrooms – no evidence of mould in wet areas; shower screens free from soap scum
- Lawns and edges mowed and trimmed; garden beds free from weeds; plants and shrubs trimmed and watered (if garden and lawn maintenance is specified as your responsibility in the tenancy agreement)
- No rubbish stored in or around the property.
If your rental property is up for sale and you’re looking for a new place to live, check out our available properties.