Can a landlord sell a house during a lease? and What are my rights if this happens?
The sale of a rented home can easily become a confusing affair, so it’s always important to understand the legal rights of both the tenant and landlord.
So, you’ve just found out that your landlord wants to sell the house you’re renting. While there’s no reason to panic, it’s always useful to know the status of your rights as a tenant during the sale.
Can the landlord sell the house I’m renting?
As a privately-owned property, a landlord is entitled to sell their house, as long as they complete the process in the correct legal manner. They may wish to sell the house fast due to an increase in sold house prices in the surrounding area, or simply because they do not wish to be a landlord anymore.
Can a house be sold with tenants in situ?
If a landlord is selling a house that is mid-way through a fixed term lease, then they are within their rights to do so. While a tenant may be anxious regarding a new landlord, they are not entitled to have any input into the sales process as they do not hold any equity in the property. The tenant does, however, have a number of rights in regard to their tenancy agreement.
What are my rights if my landlord decides to sell?
If a landlord is selling a house, the tenant has rights enshrined in law to protect them. Once a property has been leased out to a tenant for a fixed term, that legal interest must persist for the full agreed length, regardless of the property’s owner. This means that when the incoming landlord takes ownership of the house, it is against the law for them to evict the tenant while the lease period is still active.
Furthermore, the tenant is still entitled to his/her privacy in accordance with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. This means that unless there is an emergency, the tenant is fully permitted to refuse entry to anyone related to the sale – including the prospective buyer. The tenant is even allowed to refuse entry to the landlord themselves, even if a 24 hour notice is provided.
If a new landlord takes ownership of a leased property, then he is obliged to perform all the duties set forth in the tenancy agreement signed by his predecessor, including repairs and maintenance within a reasonable time of notification.
Moreover, if the new landlord fails to comply with these regulatory minimum standards, then they are in breach of contract and the tenant can not only withhold rental payments, but also report the landlord to the courts for prosecution.
A tenant cannot legally be evicted until the fixed term has ended – unless they have breached the tenancy agreement. While rare, there are stories of landlords using section 8 and 21 legal loopholes to force tenants out of their homes during a fixed term lease, so it is important for anyone who lives in a rental property to gain a comprehensive understanding of the lease before they sign it.
How much notice does your landlord need to give when selling a house?
Under Section 3 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the new landlord is required to notify the tenant that the property has changed hands. However, the tenants are not entitled to know when the property has been offered up for sale, the value of the house, or even whether the property has been sold until two months after the sale is completed. The prior landlord may inform the tenant as a courtesy that they intend to sell the house, but they are not obliged to do so.
Looking to sell your rental home fast? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.