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Rights: Notice to Vacate Due to Sale of Property

By George Hadgelias

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

With vacancy rates at record lows, making it harder and harder to find rental houses, a notice to vacate can be a stress-inducing situation.

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 this doesn’t change the status of your existing lease if you’re on a fixed-term agreement.

In some states, like Victoria, if a landlord is already planning to sell before you enter into a fixed term lease, then they must tell you.

2. Your lease is still valid

Your current lease remains valid when your landlord puts their property on the market. And it remains so after the sale, which means you don’t automatically 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,” explained Amy Sanderson, LJ Hooker’s head of property investment management.

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 explained 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. The tenancy provider must give tenants notice before an inspection and they can be present

The landlord must give the tenants 14 days’ notice before the first viewing and it must take place during reasonable hours.

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 get the property ready for the inspection by making sure it’s 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 and give reasonable notice.

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

The tenant can deny permission for any photography that identifies them personally in some states.

5. Renters can get compensation

Rental providers sometimes offer their tenant compensation to encourage them to move out of the property as soon as possible.

In some states there is now a default amount of compensation, for example in Victoria tenants are awarded half a day’s rent or $30 (whichever is greater) for each inspection that takes place.

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

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

6. Can you deny a home inspection during a lockdown?

No, in general terms you cannot. However, due to the pandemic 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 the pandemic?

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.

Queensland

  • Landlords must give renters written notice of their intention to sell the property and provide 24 hours’ notice before the first inspection. And they need to provide 24 hours’ notice before any subsequent inspections.
  • Neither the new or old landlord can evict the tenant if a fixed agreement is in place, unless the tenant violates the terms of the lease, or the two parties reach an agreement by mutual consent.
  • If the agreement is periodic, landlords can evict tenants on four weeks’ notice, once a contract of sale has been signed.

CLICK HERE for more information.

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