I’ve been noticing a little bit of a trend lately. Many sellers are hoping to capitalize on the hot real estate market but have tenancies in place.
In these situations, the seller can either wait the appropriate amount of time to legally end the tenancy in place or list it with tenants.
Ideally, before you list a property your home is vacant so you can have staging and a professional cleaner in. Not only will this make your home look its best, but it is also easier to show your home and easier for interested buyers to closer quicker. Listing your home with a tenant can create additional challenges, but sometimes it is the only option. If you do want to list your tenanted home, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Work with an experienced Realtor
Real estate is one of the biggest investments and decisions most people will make in their life. It is crucial that you have a Realtor on your side to help you navigate your local market and make informed decisions. When finding the right Realtor for your situation, ask if they have ever worked with tenants before and how they navigate the challenges. Your Realtor should have a good understanding of the BC Tenancy Act and will help protect you from any legal action.
Understand the BC Tenancy Act
The BC Tenancy Act, linked here, is the legal guidelines that must be followed when listing your tenanted property for sale. These guidelines go into depth on the amount of notice that must be given for each type of lease, as well as, the rules which must be followed by the tenants, the landlord, and the real estate agent. Be sure to give this a deep read so you understand how to work with your tenants while your home is on the market and how to legally.
Be Open & Transparent
Everyone appreciates being kept in the loop. Let your tenants know ASAP if you are planning on listing your property. This will give them more time to start making arrangements. Have an open conversation about what your expectations and goals are with this sale. Why are you selling? What do you think the timeline will be for closing?
Most tenants will appreciate the honesty and be happy to work with you.
Consider introducing your tenants to your real estate agent. That way your tenants can direct questions to them that you may not know the answer to. This will also give them a touch point person to voice any concerns to. If your tenants feel involved in the process it is more likely that they will be helpful while your home is on the market.
Respect their schedules
If you have tenants, your home is also their home, and no one wants to feel uncomfortable at home! Ask your tenants about the best method of communication to use with them to request access. Have a conversation with your tenants about what you can both expect while your home is on the market. Get your tenants to share their schedules so you and your Realtor can try to navigate showings while they are already out of the house.
Sometimes, finding a time that works for potential buyers and your tenant isn’t possible. . Ideally, your tenant is willing to work with you and either step out or be respectful while the home is being shown. If your tenant is being less cooperative, know your rights. You are entitled to show the home if you give them 24 hours’ notice.
Make it easy
In a perfect world, your tenants are clean and tidy people and have lots of time to help your home looks its best for showings. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Most tenants have their own busy lives to worry about and won’t bother to do a deep clean before your home is listed. Offer to get the carpets and the home professionally cleaned before it’s listed, your tenants will appreciate this and so will potential buyers.
Give as much notice for showings as possible so that your tenants can tidy up or make arrangements. Consider offering a free lunch or even a night at a hotel if there is a certain day that there will be multiple showings or an open house. If you can, offer to reduce rent a bit if they agree to help tidy up the property. Giving a little bit and being generous can make the transaction much more smooth for you.
If it goes wrong…
Keep in mind that no one wants to move or be uprooted. Having your house listed can bring up a lot of negative emotions for your renters. Despite your best efforts, they may still be uncooperative. If a tenant unreasonably refuses access to show the unit or provides misleading or inaccurate information to prospective buyers, the landlord could:
- Discuss the situation with the tenant
- Invite them to contact the Residential Tenancy Branch
- Serve a One Month Notice to End Tenancy for Cause (PDF, 2.1MB)
Make sure you and your Realtor have a game plan in place to deal with the tenants BEFORE you list. This can help your home earn more money and be a much less stressful experience.