Complete Guide To Selling Your Rental Investment Property With Tenants

Are you thinking “Can i sell my rental property with tenants in it?”

Selling your rental property or portfolio with a tenant already in place can cause a multitude of issues. You should think about these carefully before you proceed with selling the property.

You may come unstuck at some stage in the future if you don’t understand exactly what this can mean to you.

With this is mind, we have come up with this guide to protect you.

Here is the Ultimate guide to selling your rental investment property with a tenant in place.

Tenants may decide to leave the property before the end of the rental contract, which results in a period when the property is empty.

This means that you have a void period that you will be unlikely to fill with a short-term tenant. Lost income is a painful part of being a landlord.

Don’t leave yourself in this situation if you can – plan ahead and try to get your timings right.

Having a vacant property, especially if this becomes known to others, will lead to the potential of people breaking in or squatting in the property.

Another common issue occurs when a tenant refuses entry to a viewer during the selling process. This can cause all manner of problems.

Similarly, tenants may deliberately make the property look messy. Resultingly, this can deter potential sales.

The tenant may not want to move, so makes the property look less appealing deliberately.

Spending the time to explain to the tenant why you are selling – and offering them the first opportunity to buy might help reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Going back a few steps, having great relationships with your tenants and managing agents is the ideal way to ensure this problem also doesn’t arise.

Do I need to sell a house with a tenant?

It isn’t 100% necessary to have a sitting tenant during the sale of a rented property. You may wait until the end of a tenancy agreement (bearing in mind the legal requirements you have here) can give you the opportunity to sell without a sitting tenant.

However, it does help to have someone in place if you are selling as an investment!

Currently, there are many landlords out there who are looking to add to their portfolio.

They want somewhere that they know will be in rental demand. Having a tenant already in place confirms this in their mind and makes a sale easier.

There are many benefits of having a tenant in situ when selling your rental property, which are further elaborated below. Check out the rest of the article to find out more.


How to sell a property with a tenant in situ

 When a tenant remains in a property during the selling of a property, it is good to offer incentives (financial or not) to the tenant to make the process easier for them. Think how you would feel in this situation and act accordingly.

There also has added benefits in that the property remains occupied until sold. These include a reduce risk of the tenant handing in their notice, therefore avoiding issues with an empty property.

Ensuring that the tenant remains co-operative during the process is key.

This all comes from the way you communicate.

Just turning up with a viewer is far less likely to get a positive response than taking the time to talk to people. Some landlords go around to their rented properties for a cup of tea once per month and a chat.

This may not be practical for the landlord with a large portfolio, but will work for some. 

Are there any benefits to selling a property with tenants in situ?

 One of the major benefits to this is the fact that no rent is lost as a result of tenants leaving the agreement early. You can collect rent up to the day of a sale if the tenants are happy with this arrangement.

Furthermore, payments such as council tax will continue. Don’t end up where you have to pay the council tax bill when you don’t have to.

Your property also won’t be prone to vandalism due to it being occupied.

Another benefit is that your property may be purchased by a fellow landlord. In such instance, the tenant can remain and the sale can proceed quickly.

This is a win-win situation for all involved.

What are the legal rights of the tenant and landlord?

 Sometimes, it is necessary to ask your tenant to leave, before selling your property. In such instance, it is necessary to terminate the tenancy legally.

Always seek the advice of a legal professional in this instance.

This process can take several months at times, so don’t leave it until the last minute.

The legal ramifications of getting this wrong are large and may scupper the chances of a sale. Don’t take shortcuts with any part of your property sale.

Regardless, let your tenants know that the terms and conditions of the tenancy still apply, and they will feel reassured that they are being looked after.

They may take legal advice themselves, and you should never discourage them from doing this.

 What paperwork can I expect to complete?

 Apart from the legal side of things, where you may need to inform the current tenants of what is going on, there is very little.

Your obligations only run up to a certain point.

Once contracts have been exchanged, you are no longer the landlord and are now void of associated duties.

Remember this at all times. It is useful to inform your tenant that the tenancy agreement remains the same, despite the change in ownership.

The rest is down to the new owner of the property.

They will be establishing a relationship with their new tenants. Introducing people to the new owner will help to smooth the way they work together in the future.

Although, not essential, this is a nice thing to do.

What happens when I transfer deposits and contracts to the new buyer?

Normally, you don’t have to worry about transfer of deposits as this is dealt with by your solicitor.

However, it is highly recommended to use a conveyancer with experience in dealing with rented properties.

We recommend that you keep an eye on this process to ensure that you know what is happening.

Anything that has your name attached should be a matter of priority for you. 

What’s the best outlet to sell with a tenant in situ?

 Although you don’t need to use an agent to sell, it is highly recommended.

The vast majority of property sales are carried out with the assistance of an estate agent.

This is because it removes a lot of the leg work required to arrange viewings and market your property. Your time is valuable, so protect it by using an agent.

They come at a price, but a great estate agent is well worth the money.

Check out the reviews online and you can see how they are reviewed but others who have used them before.

Although not 100% necessary, using an estate agent with experience in selling rented properties comes highly recommended.

How do I sell a property without a tenant?

 In an ideal world, it is best to sell a property when the tenant remains.

However, there are some advantages to selling a property without tenants living there.

These include a potentially tidy appearance and new landlords not having to deal with previous tenants.

It can be a matter of personal choice, so decide what you think will work for you and then move quickly to avoid delays. 

What are the benefits of selling out a tenant?

 It can also be beneficial to sell without a tenant.

This is because vacant properties are easier to sell as most buyers are residential rather than buy to let.

There are also no issues with arranging viewings as the property will be empty.

This means the property can be viewed at any time of day. You can even leave a set of keys with your estate agent to conduct viewings on your behalf. 

What is the process of evicting a tenant?

 This is a complex process and involves five main areas:

  • Notice of eviction
  • Possession orders
  • Accelerated possession procedure
  • Professional notice servers
  • Renting guide
  • Private residential tenancy in Scotland

Think about how this works for you.

Again, the best way to stay compliant is to seek legal advice.

If you put all of this in the hand of a solicitor, then you have the confidence that this is being dealt with by a professional that has your back. 

What are the limitations of selling without a tenant?

 The key issues which surround the sale of a property with no tenants include risk of vandalism and loss of money due to loss of rental income. These are really important considerations for some landlords.


All in all, there are benefits and downsides to selling with or without a tenant in situ.  So think about how this works for your personal circumstances. This guide gives you the ability to make that decision with the backup of knowledge. We suggest you re-read before making your decision. Good luck!

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