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House tenants’ rights when your landlord is selling

By George Hadgelias

It’s the news no happy tenant wants to hear: the landlord is selling. 

As with most change, though, it’s a lot less frightening when you know what to expect.

Here are five rules to remember when your landlord decides to sell.

1. The landlord is allowed to sell at any time

In all states and territories, landlords are legally allowed to sell their property whenever they like. But fear not: the law protects tenants from being turfed out on a whim.

2. Your lease is still valid

According to Amy Sanderson, LJ Hooker’s head of property investment management, your current lease (which is also known as a tenancy agreement) remains valid when your landlord puts their property on the market. And it remains so after the sale, which means you don’t have to move out of the property if it changes hands.

“A landlord cannot terminate a fixed-term agreement for the sale of the property,” Sanderson says.

And so if the property is sold to an investor who a tenanted property, it’s possible you will experience very few changes.

However, Sanderson explains that it can also lead to a termination of the lease, if mutual consent is reached.

“If you are on a fixed-term agreement, but you want to move out because the property is being sold, you may be able to end the tenancy agreement early by a mutual consent with the landlord,” she says.

If the new owner wants you to move out, they must comply with the terms of the existing lease.

3. Landlords must give tenants notice before an inspection … and you can be there

The landlord must give the tenants 14 days’ notice before the first viewing.

Meanwhile, Sanderson says tenants “are obliged to make all reasonable efforts to agree on a suitable time and day for the showing” and must also keep the property in a “reasonable state of cleanliness”.

“If an agreement isn’t reached to show the property, the landlord is only able to show the property a maximum of two times per week, and must give the tenant at least 48 hours’ notice each time.”

Renters also have the right to be at the property when it’s opened for inspection.

4. Renters have a say when it comes to photography and signage

The outside of a rental property can be photographed without permission. But if the landlord wishes to take photos inside the property, they must obtain permission from their tenant.

The tenant must also give their consent to signage and on-site auctions.

5. Renters can get compensation

Sanderson explains that landlords sometimes offer their tenant compensation to encourage them to move out of the property as soon as possible.

“In some states, a tenant may give notice, even if they are on a lease, once the property is listed for sale,” she says.

“Many property owners offer tenants a compensation for the inconvenience, and this avoids the complaints.”

6. Can you deny a home inspection during Covid-19?

No, in general terms you cannot. However, due to Covid-19 most states have introduced health guidelines still to be met if an agent or landlord request to bring people through you home during this time.

For specific guidance, check you the current public health order and guidelines in your state.

7. Can repairs and maintenance be carried out during Covid-19?

Yes, repairs and maintenance can be carries out during the pandemic. The landlord, agent or authorised person can still carry out repairs during this time, they will, however, need to ensure they follow the local health guidelines in your area.

CLICK HERE for further information

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