If you currently have a tenant you will need to give them notice to leave the property. If the property is still subject to a fixed term lease, you must give the purchaser until the end of the lease to move out. If the lease has expired and the tenant is on a roll over contract you must give them a period of 30 days’ notice from the date of exchange of contracts.
Ordinarily you would give notice to the tenant immediately after contracts have been exchanged but what happens if the tenant refuses to go or cannot find other accommodation readily? You cannot force the tenant out, except by going to the Tribunal to get an order for possession. That may take a long time – beyond the date for completion of the sale.
A seller’s inability to give vacant possession at the time set for completion is a breach of contract, giving your buyer the right to claim damages (compensation).
Courts have been known to award damages for the cost of storage of the buyer’s furniture, and the cost of other accommodation where a property has not been available for occupation when promised.
You must therefore either: –
- Be confident that your tenant will move out in time for you to comply with your duty under the contract; or
- Persuade your buyer to accept a special clause in the contract excusing the consequences of your failure to give vacant possession on time, because of the wrongful actions of the tenant.
You would be wise to speak to your tenant or your managing agent about this issue before exchange of contracts