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What Are Your Renting Rights if the Landlord Sells Your Home?

25 August 2020 Simon Banks Read time: 3 min
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Simon Banks

So you’ve found your perfect pad, signed a two-year assured shorthold tenancy (AST) and have settled nicely into your new home. During your tenancy, however, the landlord puts the property up for sale? What happens next?

Landlords placing their rented properties for sales isn’t a new scenario and happens every now and then. As a renter, it might concern you that the place you live in is on the property market. Especially if you don’t know what it means for your renting rights.

If you’re wondering what happens to your tenancy when a property transfers from one owner to another, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re detailing everything you need to know about your renting rights if the landlord sells your home.

Why would a landlord put the property on the market?

Landlords see their buy-to-let properties as an investment. And from time to time, they might decide to cash in rather than collect regular rental income. There are many reasons why a landlord might put a rental property on the sales market.

For sale sign on a house

Perhaps it has increased significantly in value, or maybe the owner no longer wants to be a landlord. They may decide to invest in somewhere else, or it could be that they want to raise capital for spending elsewhere, like a larger family home.

Whatever the landlord’s reason for selling, their decision can leave renters feeling uncertain about what happens to them next. For example, what if the new owner wishes to live in the property?

Renter rights when a landlord sells their property

There is some good news. You won’t be left without a home if the landlord decides to sell up – as long as you have a valid AST. If you have a rental contract in place, then the new owner can’t ask you to leave until the lease is over. That means the tenancy will persist through and after the sale completes.

Once the tenancy comes to an end, much like the previous landlord, the new owner will have the right to take the property back. However, they must still give you at least two months notice, as the tenancy will go onto a rolling contract.

What are the legalities surrounding a transfer of ownership?

When the landlord sells the place you’re living in, the details of the tenancy transfer over to the new owner. That means they become the landlord throughout the duration of the tenancy, and their name replaces the previous landlord on the lease.

Rental property living room

Fundamentally, nothing much will change for you if there is an AST in place. There may be minor changes: the new landlord might opt for a different management strategy than the previous one, either managing the property themselves or using a professional management company. Overall, however, there won’t be any sweeping changes.

Will the new owner definitely want the place back?

Most people buying a tenanted property do so because they wish to invest themselves. It can be a hassle for someone to buy a home with the desire to live there but then have to wait for the renter to vacate.

While such a scenario isn’t impossible, those buying a tenanted property typically do so with the intentions to carry on renting it out. Therefore, there is absolutely no guarantee that the new owner has any interest in asking you to leave.

What happens if you want to leave the property?

There may be a situation where you have decided that it’s time to move and would like to give notice on the place you’re renting. Just like when a new owner buys your rented property, when you leave depends entirely on the contract.

Exterior of a rental property a renter is about to leave

Of course, there may be a situation where the new owner wants to live in the property, and you want to leave, meaning both parties can agree to end the tenancy early. If, however, they want you to stay in the property, you will legally be bound by the terms of the AST.

What happens during viewings?

Viewings have the potential to be the most annoying aspect of your rented home going on the sales market. Hopefully, the new owner can use software comparable to Movebubble’s Home Walkthroughs when they view the home. But if they wish to visit physically, you will need to accommodate potential buyers.

The current landlord should be communicative with you throughout the entire process, and you have the right to refuse a viewing if you’re not giving reasonable notice. However, a good line of communication between landlord, renter and estate agent should ensure a smooth process for property viewings.

Buy to let to sell to rent

It can be annoying if the landlord decides to sell the property halfway through the tenancy, but as long as you have a binding rental agreement in the place, there isn’t anything to worry about. Who knows? Your new landlord may turn out to be even better than the last one, ensuring a great in-life tenancy until you decide to move onto your next adventure.

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