If you want to sell a property that is currently occupied by tenants, you have two options:

  1. Sell the property with the tenants still living there. This means the buyer will take over the tenancy and collect rent from the current tenants. It’s a ‘buy-to-let’ scenario, where you sell to another landlord.


  1. Wait until the tenants have moved out before you sell the property. This means you will have to end the tenancy before selling, and evict the tenants, so the property is empty and ready for the new buyer to move in. This is selling with ‘vacant possession’.

Many landlords assume that their only option is option 2, which does give you a few more options in terms of who can buy the property. You don’t have to sell it to a landlord or investor. You could sell the property to somebody who wants to live there themselves.

But selling the property with tenants in situ can be a quicker process. And there are huge benefits for the new landlord. They have the certainty of rental income from day one, and they don’t have to go through the time and cost of vetting the tenants.

In this blog, we look at selling a property while the tenants still live there.

Your obligations as a landlord and your tenants’ rights

To understand exactly what you need to do, the starting point is to review your tenancy agreement.

Look out for things like your obligations around property viewings. Your tenancy agreement will give the tenants a right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ during their tenancy, which means that you can’t simply arrange viewings without giving them any notice.

You’ll also have to let your tenants know that you intend to sell the property. That usually makes tenants nervous, but you can give them some reassurance that you’re happy to make the sale while they still live in the property.

Preparing the property for sale

It may seem obvious, but if you are selling the property with tenants in place you must make potential buyers aware of this from the beginning.

The buyer will take over the relationship with the tenants, so they’ll want to know if they are ‘good’ tenants, who pay the rent on time and look after the property. They’ll also want to know the financial details like the property’s rental history and current rental income.

The main thing to bear in mind is keeping your tenants on board during viewings. Of course, any potential buyer will want to come and have a look. But as we mentioned before, you must respect your tenant’s right to ‘quiet enjoyment.’

Let your tenants know in advance before people come to view the property. If your tenants do not want a viewing at a certain time, you must accommodate their wishes. Tenants have the right to receive at least 24 hours’ written notice and give consent to each viewing.

Negotiating with potential buyers

When you are negotiating terms with potential buyers, you’ll give them all the information about the current tenancy agreement, including the current rental amount, the lease terms, and tenant responsibilities.

This will help potential buyers determine future rental income and decide on whether to buy. Remember, in a ‘buy to let’ scenario, the buyer must respect your existing tenancy agreements and the tenants’ rights to occupy the property.

What about the deposit?

The deposit from the tenants will be in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. This doesn’t automatically transfer over to the new owner, and the next landlord will need to make arrangements to re-protect this deposit.

Keeping your tenants in the loop

Once the sale is complete, you need to get in touch with the tenants within two months to give them all the details they need about their new landlord. That’s simple things like their name, address, and contact information. It’s just common sense so that the tenants are fully aware of the change in ownership, and they know who to contact when issues arise.

If you are planning to sell a tenanted property in the UK, it is important to plan ahead and communicate clearly with your tenants. There are a few legal hoops to jump through in the process, so please do ensure you take proper legal advice on your options and the relevant procedures to be followed.