How do we go about selling our apartment, as we have tenants in situ?

May 2013

Question

Due to the increase in costs associated with being a landlord over the past couple of years, we have decided to sell our rental apartment. We have tenants in situ (another five months remain on the lease). What is the procedure and will it affect our chances of selling the property?

Answer

You do not state in your query whether the lease with your tenants is a fixed term lease or a standard lease. Under a fixed term lease the tenants have security of tenure until the expiry of their lease. If the lease is a standard lease under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 than you have the right to issue notice of termination to the tenants if the property will be going for sale within the next three months. The period of notice that is required depends on the duration of the tenancy to date from a basic 28 days for an occupancy of less than six months to 112 days for tenants who have been in situ for more than four years, all details of notice periods can be found on prtb.ie. Notice of termination must be issued in writing stating the reason for the termination and the date by which the property must be vacated.

It is common for properties to be marketed and even sold with tenants in situ and some investors prefer this as they will have an income generated from day one, however it will not suit an owner occupier. In an ideal world you would sell the apartment vacant and done up for sale so that it is viewed by potential buyers in its best light, but this may not be possible due to the aforementioned tenancy or for financial reasons. The key to selling an apartment with the tenant in situ is to get the tenant onside from the beginning as you will be relying on them to present the apartment for viewings and to be flexible and helpful allowing access. Many landlords will offer the tenants a rent reduction for the duration of the sales campaign in return for their co-operation; another option might be to offer them a voucher of some sort on successful completion of the campaign. I would also recommend using an agent with experience of selling properties with tenants in situ as the agent’s relationship with the tenants can be key in achieving a successful sale.

Rowena Quinn is a member of the residential agency professional group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland