If you live in a rented property and your Landlord has decided to put the property on the market, where does that leave you?
We’ve compiled some simple answers to the FAQ to help you better understand your rights and obligations as a tenant in this situation.
NOTE: The answers below are based on the NSW guidelines, if you live in a different state please visit the relevant authority website for more information
1 – Is the Landlord allowed to sell my rental property?
Yes, your landlord is legally allowed to sell the premises however, they are restricted by regulations.
2 – Can I decide when the open homes are?
The short answer is No. You must not unreasonably refuse to agree to open homes. The only real restrictions the sale agent has with scheduling the open homes are:
- No more than 2 showings per week (unless you agree to more)
- No open homes before 8 am or after 8 pm,
- No open homes on a Sunday or public holiday
- Mo open home for longer than necessary.
3 – How much notice does the Landlord/Agent need to give me before an open home?
For the very first open home, the agent is required to provide you 14 days written notice. For subsequent open homes, 48 hours notice is required for each additional time scheduled.
4 – What rules apply to me (the tenant) during open homes?
You must keep the premises ‘in a reasonable state of cleanliness’ during your tenancy. You do not need to do any more than this. If you agree to do more, ask for a rent reduction.
You have the right to be present during the open home, however, you do not have to be.
If you refuse the Landlord/Agent access to the property when appropriate notice has been given you are in breach of your tenancy agreement and you may be taken to Tribunal.
5 – The Landlord/Agent wants to take photos inside the property, can I say No?
The landlord/agent can take photos of the outside of the property without asking for your permission.
Photographing inside the premises, including your belongings, is a breach of your right to reasonable privacy.
Many Landlords/Agents will include a clause in your lease waiving your right to refuse photography inside the property. Check your lease for such a clause.
If you have signed the lease which allows the Landlord to take photos inside the property, there isn’t much you can do. You will just have to remove or hide any personal belongings that you don’t want to be photographed.
6 – This is too much of an inconvenience for me, can I just move out?
If you are in a periodic agreement (your lease has expired but you’re still living there month-to-month) you can leave with no reason. Just email your property manager and tell them you want to vacate. You are required to give 21 days’ written notice in this case.
If you are in a fixed term agreement (your lease has not expired and has an end date), you may terminate your lease early and move out if:
– The landlord did not tell you they were going to sell the property before you signed the lease, and:
– You have now received a notice of intention to sell.
In that case, you can issue your landlord/agent a 14-day termination notice and move out. You will not be required to pay any compensation or any other fees for moving out early.
7 – What if my Landlord did tell me they were selling before I signed the lease, but I still want to move out early?
Unfortunately, there is no way to move out early in this case without breaking your lease. If you break your lease in the first half of your contract you can be required to pay up to 6 weeks rent as a break lease fee. If you’re in the second half of your lease, the break lease fee can be charged of up to 4 weeks rent.
8 – The Landlord/Agent has asked me to move out because the property is being sold, what are my rights?
If you have a fixed term agreement (your lease has not expired and has an end date) the landlord cannot terminate your agreement for the sale. It is your decision if you wish to stay or leave.
If you’re on a periodic agreement (your lease has already expired) The Landlord can issue a 30-day termination notice, but only if both the following conditions are met:
-They have exchanged a contract for sale with a buyer, and;
-The contract requires them to give ‘vacant possession’ of the premises to the buyer.
9 – Am I entitled to a rent reduction if the property is being sold?
You may request one, but the Landlord has the final decision on whether or not they reduce the rent.
10 – The Landlord/Agent wants to have an auction inside my home, is this allowed?
Not without your consent.
11 – What should I do if the Landlord/Agent has not done the right thing?
If the landlord/agent or a third party doesn’t comply with:
- the maximum (or agreed) number of times they can access the premises
- correct notice periods
- restrictions on access times
you can apply to the Tribunal for orders:
- to stop the landlord/agent entering the premises (apply within 3 months of becoming aware of them doing so)
- to specify or limit the days and times, and purposes for which, the landlord/agent or other authorised person can enter (apply within 3 months of becoming aware of the problem).
12 – Does it cost anything to apply for Tribunal?
There is a $77 application fee in NSW to apply for the tribunal, there are no other costs. You will be required to attend at least one hearing, you do not need a lawyer however you may choose to seek legal advice.
13 – What happens to my tenancy when the property is sold?
If the Landlord has not terminated your agreement, the buyer then becomes your new landlord from the settlement date. Your tenancy agreement carries on just the same as it was before and the terms of your lease remain the same. If you are on a fixed term lease, the buyer must honour the fixed term. The old Landlord/Agent should write to you letting you know where you should pay rent to for the new owner and from what date. You are not required to sign a new lease if you don’t want to, your old agreement is still legally binding and valid.
We hope this has helped. Please don’t hesitate to call our office if you have any other questions. 02 9260 7100
You may view the official website for more details: https://www.tenants.org.au/factsheet-28-sale-of-rented-premises
If you still have unanswered questions or special circumstances, we would encourage you to contact Tenants NSW or Fair Trading and seek advice on what you can do:
Tenants NSW: https://www.tenants.org.au/
NSW Fair Trading: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/contact-us
Call 13 32 20 (8.30am to 5pm, Mon – Fri)