How to Tell Tenants that the House is for Sale

Confronting tenants with news that you plan to sell your home is never easy. With likely disruption to their peace and quiet, the threat of forced relocation, or simply the fear of new landlords, it is important to have a frank and informative conversation. Planning for this difficult conversation can ensure your tenants stay on your side, and, since disgruntled tenants can truly impede the selling process, a proactive conversation is important to have. Here are a few tips to keep tenants on your side when you decide to sell.

Be open
Letting tenants know you plan to sell before you list your home is always best. Open and honest communication will help settle nerves and keep the lines of communication open. It can be helpful to let the tenants know when the home will be listed and with whom, how showings will be conveyed and scheduled, and what might happen when the home sells.

Share the facts
Ensuring your tenants know their rights can keep them calm and amicable. They should know that their lease will be honoured – they cannot be kicked out. If the tenants are uncomfortable and wish to leave, they could do so if mutually agreed upon by themselves and the landlord.

Month to month and fixed term tenancies
What surprises most is that a landlord cannot serve notice to end a tenancy because they want to sell a rental property. That means, regardless of if a tenancy is fixed-term or month-to-month if a landlord wants to sell the property, the terms to end tenancy are the same. A tenancy can only end if a landlord plans to occupy that unit. If the new buyer plans to move into the unit, the tenants can be given a two-month notice to end the tenancy for Landlord’s use of Property. So, a tenancy can end if the new buyer intends to use the property for themselves, and the tenants receive two months’ notice, with the final month’s rent free. If the new buyer does not intend on moving into the property, the tenancy continues. For more information and additional scenarios, visit the Residential Tenancy Board's website.

Batch Showings
Showings can be incredibly disruptive to tenants. Although 24 hours' notice is required, a showing could still be scheduled every day. Consider choosing one or two set days per week that are pre-arranged with the listing agent and the tenants. Tenants are more likely to feel respected when it is obvious to them that their lifestyle is being considered. Try and limit the number of showings as best you can.

Consider a Cleaning Service
As tenants have little to gain by presenting your home in it's best light – consider offering a cleaning service at your own expense. A cleaning service once per week may reduce their workload and help you ensure the rented space looks great for all showings.

Provide Incentive
Keeping tenants motivated to help you sell your home is certainly a win-win. Consider providing them with a small gift card for each showing or one gift card for a dinner out. A limited reduction in rent might be another consideration for homes that take a long time to sell or those that have numerous showings. Finally, assisting tenants in finding another property can also go a long way to maintaining a healthy landlord/tenant relationship. As selling your home is nothing but stress and disruption for your tenants. Do your best to be empathetic and considerate on their behalf. If selling your property is important to you, you cannot afford to lose your tenants as advocates for your home. Remember, when treated fairly and honestly, your tenants can help encourage the sale of your property.

Looking to sell a tenanted property? Our rennie advisors specialize in every neighbourhood across the Lower Mainland and can help you sell your home.

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