The property market can be a tumultuous place, with landlords frequently buying and selling properties. While the decision to sell a property can be beneficial for landlords, it’s essential to remember that tenants live there. They deserve clear, timely communication about the sale process to help manage their expectations and reduce uncertainty.Here’s a guide on how to handle tenant communication when you decide to sell your rented property.
UNDERSTAND YOUR LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
Before even thinking about informing your tenant, it’s crucial to understand your legal obligations. Under UK law, tenants have rights that must be respected. For example, if a tenant has an assured shorthold tenancy (the most common type), they have the right to remain in the property until the end of their fixed term, even if the property is sold.
Also, if you’re considering selling the property with the tenant still residing there (known as selling with a ‘sitting tenant’), the new owner will inherit the existing tenancy agreement and all its conditions. Hence, it’s vital to consult legal advice before making any moves.
START THE DIALOGUE EARLY
Once you decide to sell the property, it’s advisable to open a line of communication with your tenant as soon as possible. Early dialogue can prevent misconceptions and unnecessary stress. Remember, the information you convey and the manner in which you do it can impact the tenant’s perception and cooperation during the sale process.
PROVIDE A FORMAL NOTICE
While casual communication is useful, it’s also important to provide tenants with a formal written notice. This serves as an official record and ensures the tenant is fully informed of the situation.
Your notice should include:
- Reason for Sale: A brief explanation as to why you’re selling the property.
- Timeline: Give a realistic estimate of the selling process and any potential disruptions (like viewings).
- Tenants’ Rights: Reiterate their rights during this process, emphasising that their tenancy agreement remains valid.
- Contact Details: Ensure they have a way to reach you or a representative for any concerns or questions.
MANAGE PROPERTY VIEWINGS
Selling a property often involves potential buyers wanting to view it. It’s essential to respect your tenant’s privacy and rights. Always:
- Give Adequate Notice: By law, landlords should provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property, including for viewings.
- Schedule Convenient Times: Work with your tenants to find times that are least disruptive for them.
- Limit Frequency: Aim to bundle viewings together where possible to minimise intrusion.
ADDRESS CONCERNS PROACTIVELY
Your tenant may have concerns about what the sale means for them. They might worry about eviction or rent increases. Address these concerns head-on:
- Reassure Tenants: If you’re selling to another landlord, especially one who wants to keep the current tenants, ensure they know this.
- Outline Future Steps: If changes are expected, let them know what they might entail and provide as much notice as possible.
- Stay Available: Keep lines of communication open for any questions or worries they might have.
If you want the process to go smoothly, consider offering incentives to your tenants. This can be especially useful if you’re hoping for their cooperation during viewings or if you’re selling to someone who might not want to keep them as tenants. Incentives might include:
- A reduction in rent for a set period.
- Offering assistance with moving costs.
- Providing a glowing reference for future landlords.
Remember, your tenants are a key part of the property you’re selling, especially if you’re advertising it as tenanted. Their cooperation can make the process far smoother.
Selling a property can be a challenging process, made more complicated when tenants are involved. With clear communication, understanding, and a dash of empathy, you can ensure the transition is smooth for both parties.