If you’ve just found out that your landlord has decided to sell the home you rent you’re likely to feel concerned. However, as a tenant, you do have rights. Landlords selling up is a real issue for UK renters, so we look at this more closely to help you navigate this situation.
Stay calm and understand your rights
Firstly, try not to panic. It’s natural you will feel anxious as it’s an unsettling situation, but as a tenant, you’re protected by certain rights.
Just because your landlord is selling doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to pack your bags and leave straight away. They could be selling to another landlord, and you might not need to move out at all. Buying an already tenanted property will save your landlord time and money to keep you on as an existing tenant.
That said, a new landlord might have different ideas for the property, and that could mean a rent increase.
Where to find your tenant rights if your landlord is selling
Depending on the circumstances of the property sale you should be clear on your rights as a tenant.
Below are links to respective Government websites that outline your renters’ rights based on where you live and the type of tenancy agreement you have in place:
- Tenants housing law in Wales
- Private residential tenancies in Scotland
- Private renting in England
- Renters rights in Northern Ireland
If you need more specific guidance then you can connect with Citizens Advice online or find one in your area.
Sales timeframes vary
How long it takes to sell a house varies and no one time frame is the same. From going under offer to exchanging contracts and completing the sale, can take anywhere from 3-6 months. Throughout this period it’s important to stay in communication with your landlord or letting agent to understand the impact of timeframes on you.
Be prepared when your landlord is selling up
If the sale means you’ll need to find a new place to live, start preparing as early as possible.
Do your own inventory: Go around the property and take notes (and photographs) of the current condition of the property. Also, remember that cleaning can be key to getting your deposit back so get ahead of getting the property ready to hand back.
Prepare to move: Use our moving-out checklist to help you cover all bases of moving out of one rental home and into another.
Notify utilities: Take meter readings and notify your utility providers, local council, bank, and any other relevant suppliers of your upcoming move to ensure all bills and correspondences are appropriately updated.
Request a reference: Ask your current landlord or letting agent for a reference. This will help you get ahead of your rental search.
Plan your next move
Finding a new home might feel overwhelming. Especially when the situation is out of your control due to your landlord selling. But consider your options:
- A new rental home: Start your search for a new property as soon as you can. Consider your preferred location, price, and type of property that suits your lifestyle and requirements. We’d recommend looking for a letting agent who is a member of Propertymark as these agents are qualified and regulated.
- Move home: If it’s an option then moving back in with your parents, even if it’s just temporarily, could help you save money and give you some breathing space while you search for something new.
- Co-living: This could prove a more economical and fun way to live. Co-living developments are on the rise in the UK and can be a single-family unit with shared communal areas, or a large development with individual bedrooms.
- Build-to-rent: Developments are specifically built for renters (not for sale) and offer something completely different to the private rental sector. Inspired largely by the hospitality sector developments often feature gyms, and co-working spaces that are pet friendly.
- Buying a property: If you’ve been saving and have your finances in place then is it the right time to make the move as a first-time buyer?
Moving forwards when the property owner is selling
While the thought of your landlord selling the property you rent can feel daunting, you will get through it.
Be open and communicate
Keeping an open dialogue with your landlord or letting agency will be important to help you manage your own timeframes and next move. Having a clear understanding on the stage of the sale progress and any other additional information will support and aid your decision-making process.
Use as an opportunity to save
If you can, save. Having a financial cushion to fall back on can help reduce stress. A backup budget can help manage costs like moving vans, packing materials, or even the potential overlap of paying rent at your old place and a deposit for your new one.
Preparation preparation preparation
When you’re ready to start looking for a new place, check out our guides to renting. Make a plan and list your requirements, this could include the number of bedrooms, location, proximity to work or transport links etc. Having a clear idea of what you’re looking for will help keep your property search focused.
Seek advice when your landlord is selling up
If you’re unsure about anything to do with your landlord selling up then seek professional advice. Whether it’s understanding your tenancy agreement, your rights as a tenant, or financial situation, professional advisors or advocacy services provide valuable guidance.
You could also reach out to local council or Citizens Advice for support.
While your landlord selling your rented home will be disconcerting, it doesn’t have to spell disaster. To help you with your onward move download our FREE home movers toolkit for renters.
Last Updated: November 22nd, 2023