Notice to vacate due to sale of property: tenant and landlord rights when rental property is being sold

By Jess Brewer, Head of Property Management

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 four 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.  Once we receive confirmation the landlord plans to sell, we will notify you in writing and advise of the notice periods and who the representative is.

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.

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

If the new owner wants you to move out, they must comply with the terms of the existing lease.  In some circumstances the property manager or landlord may reach out to discuss the potential of a mutually agreeable vacate date between all parties.

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

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

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”.

Renters also have the right to be at the property when it’s opened for inspection.  When showing the home, Agents will always be respectful and careful.

4. Renters have a say when it comes to photography

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. Should you not wish for your personal property photographed, you’re welcome to move while the property is photographed so no personal items are displayed online to the public.

Further useful information for reference:

  • Landlords may only conduct inspections between 8am and 6pm on weekdays or between 9am and 5pm on a Saturday, unless the tenant gives them permission to conduct one outside these hours. Before each inspection, landlords must provide “reasonable written notice,” according to the state’s Residential Tenancies Act.
  • 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, and the contract specifically mentions handing over vacant premises, the selling landlord may evict tenants on 30 days’ written notice.

If you have any queries or concerns with regards to your property being listed for sale, please reach out to the agent or property manager direct and they will advise you of anything else you may need to know