Landlords’ rights when selling property in the middle of the tenancy contract

Your property has been let out. Do you still have the right to sell? The simple answer is yes, but there are a few important points to consider.


Selling a tenanted property

If you wish to sell the property in the middle of the shorthold tenancy agreement, you need to consider who you’re planning to sell to. For example, selling to an investor who is looking for a tenanted property is likely to be a relatively easy process. If you’re looking to sell it as a vacant property, things can get a little trickier.

If the contract contains a fixed-term period, you can give your tenants notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. You don’t have to give any grounds, but you do still have to give them sufficient notice — at least 2 months’ notice in writing. You CANNOT request that the tenants vacate the property until the fixed term ends, but you CAN sell the property tenanted. The tenants have the right to live in the property until the end of the fixed rental period specified in the contract. So, whoever buys the property will have to honour the terms and conditions of the existing agreement.

If a break clause is specified, be sure to inform your tenants of the upcoming sale and give them sufficient notice (as specified in the contract).


Dealing with difficult tenants

Under certain circumstances, Section 8 of the above act allows for a notice to vacate even before the fixed term ends, but the grounds for this must have been provided for in the contract. Depending on these grounds, the notice period for Section 8 varies from 2 weeks to 2 months, and you must use Form 3 specified in the Housing Act.

Always remember that your tenants are entitled to the “quiet enjoyment” of the property, and do not have to let in anyone they don’t wish to, even if the tenancy agreement contains clauses on the matter. Ultimately, the best way to remove hassle in the sale process is to try to respect and be considerate of your tenants.


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