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Tips for selling a tenanted property

Whether you’re streamlining your property portfolio or exiting the rental market, there are two options when it comes to selling. While selling a vacant property is the most common way, landlords who own a buy-to-let property also have the option to sell with a tenant in situ. 

Selling a tenanted property has its own unique set of advantages that can provide attractive incentives to both sellers and buyers, however, there are a few extra regulations and considerations that must be taken into account. With our useful guide, you’ll be able to easily navigate these complexities and secure a smooth sale.

Can I sell a tenanted rental property?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can legally sell your property without evicting your tenants or waiting for their rental contract to expire. You do not have to sell your rental property to other investors or current landlords, and if you sell your property to a buyer who wants to live in the home themselves, your tenant will be protected by their rights as outlined by the Housing Act. 

It isn’t a legal requirement for the current landlord to notify the tenants that ownership is changing as this responsibility lies with the new owner, but it is best practice and is highly recommended. Especially as your tenant will have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ whilst they occupy the property, meaning that you shouldn’t assume you can freely organise viewings without giving at least 24 hours’ notice. They will also have the right to know the identity of the new landlord and can request a meeting. Additionally, their tenancy agreement will still stand regardless of who owns the property. Simply put, the new landlord will inherit the tenancy and have to abide by the contract signed, however, you as the current landlord will need to provide all of this documentation and information when selling. Before we discuss these extra documents required, you will need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of selling a tenanted property to decide if this is the best option for you. 

Advantages of selling a tenanted property

When selling a tenanted property by auction, you’ll not only benefit from a quick, easy, and secure sale, but you’ll also benefit from several other advantages such as guaranteed income, competitive sale price, and efficiency when selling. The following are some of the most attractive incentives for selling a tenanted rental.

Cost-effective selling method

Landlords who sell with a tenant in situ will continue to receive rent payments until the ownership has been transferred. This means that you won’t lose any earnings whilst waiting for the property to be sold. Additionally, you won’t face any extra charges from local councils due to your property remaining vacant for too long. 

Attractive to investors

Selling property with sitting tenants provides other investors with the opportunity to start earning from the tenancy immediately, reducing the costs that would usually be incurred while waiting for a tenant to move in. This is especially true if you have reputable tenants, as this will drive more interest in your rental property and perhaps lead to a higher sale price as no landlord wants to deal with difficult tenants. 


As your tenants won’t be changing or vacating, there’s no need to start a lengthy eviction process, create new contracts, or deep clean. Your tenants will also have been vetted before the new landlord takes charge which is another positive advantage for potential buyers. This means that aside from collating extra documentation, the process of selling with tenants is fast and efficient.

Disadvantages of selling a tenanted property

As with all selling methods, there are going to be some disadvantages that may make this way of selling less appealing to you. However, these disadvantages will depend upon your personal and financial circumstances so it is worth considering them when deciding to sell your property vacant or tenanted.

Restrictive market

When selling buy-to-let property, you’ll most likely be selling to other landlords or investors. This is because those looking to buy a home aren’t often also looking to be temporary landlords. Knowing that the tenants cannot simply be evicted, potential buyers who don’t want to become landlords will purchase elsewhere. This can be taken as a positive and a negative depending on the day of the auction, as your property may attract lots of interest from investors to drive the price up.

Sales can be influenced by your tenants

Potential new landlords have the right to ask questions about your tenants for things such as payment history, schedules, and damages incurred or problems caused etc. This can be a problem if you have unruly or unreliable tenants. Additionally, some tenants may react badly to the news that you are selling up which might cause tensions when organising viewings. It is best to have an open conversation with your tenants to mitigate any potential problems that can affect your sale. 

Lastly, properties with tenants may not show well if there is no opportunity to clean. Remember that the landlord doesn’t have the right to enter the property without 24 hours’ notice, and if there are pots, clothing, animals, and general mess in the home it may create smells or visuals that can put buyers off. 

Documentation and additional considerations when selling with a tenant in situ

Selling a tenanted property will require extra administration and paperwork from you. This can be seen as a disadvantage for some, but as long as you follow our guidelines, providing this extra paperwork before the auction commences should be straightforward. The things you’ll need to collate include 

  • Rental deposit details – the deposit your tenants provided should be held in a government-approved scheme. The details of which will need to be provided to the buyer.
  • Right to rent evidence – It is the legal responsibility of the landlord to collect and keep all necessary evidence that the tenant has the right to rent a property in the UK and, upon the sale of the tenanted property, this information must be passed on to the new landlord.
  • Signed tenancy agreement –  a copy of the signed tenancy agreement which must be inclusive of all the terms of the tenancy will need to be given to the new landlord.
  • Furniture inventory – the buyer will need to be aware of everything that is included in the tenancy, so you’ll need to make an inventory of all appliances and furniture that come with the property.
  • Safety certificates – You’ll need to provide up-to-date safety certificates for gas, electric, and EPC ratings.
  • Repair information – You will need to notify the new buyer of any repair requests placed by the tenant or any work that you are aware of that needs to be fixed. 
  • Legal notices – Copies of any legal notices served to the tenant alongside any relevant additional information, such as how they were issued, should be provided to the landlord as they will be needed in the event of issuing further notices or an eviction.

To ensure that you are aware of the correct procedures and are complying with the legal requirements to sell a tenanted property, it is advised that you seek legal support. Our knowledgeable team will be able to advise you on documents that you will need to prepare and submit to the auctioneer prior to the event. However, for further advice, you can ask our team to advise on trusted legal partners who can help to make sure that your documents are up to date and in good standing to avoid any complications when selling to a new owner.

Sell a tenanted property with SDL Property Auctions

The first step to selling up is to let your tenants know that this is what you plan to do. Make sure that they’re aware of their rights and the process. If you’re unsure about what your next steps are, you can contact a member of our team who will be able to guide you through the next stages of selling or use the button below to request your free valuation.

We are experts at marketing and selling a wide variety of properties to experienced landlords and property investors, so your property is in safe hands. At SDL Property Auctions, successful tenanted property sales are a regular occurrence and we’re always on hand to help you achieve the best outcome.