A handy guide of best practice for landlords wanting to sell

Sometimes, you as landlords will want to sell your property.  But if you currently have tenants renting it out, you may be slightly confused as where to start and what your options are.

At VMH, we would advise that the best practice is to sell your property vacant, with no sitting tenants. This is to ensure that there are no potential issues with access for viewings, the presentation is always at its best and options are available as to the types of buyers who would be interested in the property – appealing to owner occupiers and not just buy-to-let investors.

However, we do appreciate that this isn’t always an option when considering finances and the responsibility of maintaining a vacant property.

VMH Edinburgh has put together a handy guide of how to go about the whole process in the most sensitive and constructive manner to help you achieve the best possible sale price in the best possible timescale.

Be honest and transparent

Let the tenant know you are going to be selling up. It would be even more helpful to consider giving them first refusal – the option to buy the property.

The last thing any current landlord wants is for the tenant to feel that they are being forced out, but they have to be aware of the process. Be fair and truthful to them – this will only help allow for a smooth transition.

The most common practice is simply waiting for the tenants’ contract lease to expire and issuing them notice to quit in order to sell the property vacant.  However, as previously mentioned, there is the option of selling with the tenants living in it.

Property viewings

Once you have alerted the current tenants that you are selling, you’ll need to arrange access to the property for various appointments.  But remember, there are legal procedures to follow.

You can organise access if it is authorised by your tenancy agreements and/or by giving the current tenants no less than 24 hours’ notice in writing.

As per signed agreements, the tenants are allowed to refuse access at times that are not convenient to them – this is where client relations come in to play and tenants’ aspect of goodwill. It pays to get along with your tenants!

Other points to consider include gaining access for the surveyor’s and photographer’s appointments, as well as viewings with prospective purchasers once the property is live on the market.

New tenancy agreements

As a prospective purchaser if you have offered for the property and wish to purchase the property with the tenants still living there, then the current tenancy agreement will still be in force.

It is important that you have discussed with your own conveyancing solicitor that you wish to take on the current tenants and they will amend any offer submitted on your behalf to include taking over the existing tenancy and deleting any clause relating to vacant possession.

You will need to ensure that the tenants agree to stay on, and the next step would be to draw up a new tenancy agreement – one that is up to date and will feature your name on the contract versus the previous landlord/seller.

More often than not, the rental is managed through a letting agent and the change to the lease agreements would be completed with the letting company.  If you are intending to manage the rental yourself, we would advise contacting the current tenants in writing, informing them of the change of landlord and details of the new payment of rent.

If you are thinking of selling a property, or require any more information on this blog, then talk to VMH Edinburgh here.