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Selling a rental property


Selling a rental property

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Getting started

Decide whether you want to sell with tenants in place or with vacant possession. Each route has its own pros and cons.
Selling a vacant property gives you the widest audience, as it will appeal to people who want to make it their own home, not just potential landlords. This means you stand a better chance of selling faster and getting a higher price.
  Selling with tenants means you don't have to serve notice on your tenants, which can be a lengthy process. It also means you carry on receiving rental income right up until you sell: if you evict your tenants and then can't sell, you could be stuck with no income. Similarly, investors may be more inclined to buy a property that already has established and reliable tenants.
  If the tenants are not reliable or have been causing problems, it's unlikely another landlord will want to take them on. If they have broken the terms of the tenancy agreement then you have grounds to evict them using a Section 8 notice.
  Selling with tenants in place
  Tell your tenants as soon as possible that you are thinking of selling. Maintaining good communication is vital to avoid problems caused by tenants being uncooperative.
Offer the tenants first refusal to buy the property: it's good manners, and you never know if you might have the perfect buyer right in front of you.
Review your rent if possible. Property prices have soared in recent years but many landlords have not increased their rent at the same pace, which means the yield may be less attractive to new investors.
Consider your sale method carefully. If selling through an estate agent, make sure you use one with a good track record of selling investment property. Alternatively you could consider marketing directly to investors using a specialist firm such as Movewise.
Respect your tenants' rights when arranging visits for valuations, photography, viewings etc. Try to minimise disruption by agreeing fixed times for these, and organising group viewings if possible.
To keep your tenants on side, offer a rent reduction in return for an agreement to allow a certain number of viewings, and to keep the property clean and tidy during the selling period.
In addition to the normal paperwork needed when selling a property, ensure that you have all the documents relating to the rental available for buyers, such as tenancy agreements, gas and electricity safety certificates, inventory, deposit, and details of any outstanding repairs or other issues.
When selling with sitting tenants, the existing tenancy agreement will remain in place, only the landlord's details will change. Any variations to the terms of the agreement will be between the new landlord and the tenants.
Selling with vacant possession
Read the checklist for selling a home – many of the same points will apply when you prepare to sell.
The process for evicting tenants is changing due to the Renters' Reform Bill, which will abolish Section 21 "no-fault evictions", so make sure you keep up to date with the latest changes.

For now, if you want to sell a rented property, you need to give your tenants at least two months' notice under the Section 21 rules. You can use government form 6A to do this. You can only do this if a fixed tenancy period has ended, or if a periodic tenancy has been running for at least four months, and the rules differ between England and Wales. Find more information on the government website.

If the tenants have broken the terms of the tenancy agreement, you can use a Section 8 notice instead.

You don't have to wait for the tenants to leave before selling, but be aware that tenants are not obliged to allow access for viewings unless this is specified in your agreement. In any case you should always give them as much notice as possible that you require access, and 24 hours at a minimum.

If the property is still unsold when the tenants move out, consider smartening it up. Fresh paint and new carpets, and even an inexpensive new bathroom and/or kitchen, could make it more attractive to buyers. If the garden and exterior have been neglected, tidy up here as well to improve kerb appeal.


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