Understanding Landlord and Tenant Rights during Property Sales

When the time comes to sell a property, it’s crucial for both landlords and tenants to understand their respective rights. This ensures that the sale process goes smoothly and avoids unnecessary disputes. Here, we delve into the rights and responsibilities of each party when a property is on the market.

Understanding Landlord and Tenant Rights during Property Sales

1. The Right to Sell

Landlords: As the property owner, landlords naturally possess the right to sell their property. However, they must follow certain protocols to ensure the rights of their tenants are not violated. If a landlord wishes to sell a tenanted property, they must consider the terms of the existing tenancy agreement.

Tenants: Although tenants don’t have the right to stop a sale, they have rights during the sale process. Tenants should always be made aware of the intention to sell, and their tenancy agreement continues to be valid until its expiration, regardless of any change in ownership.

2. Access for Viewings

Landlords: Landlords have the right to show the property to potential buyers. However, they must give their tenants appropriate notice before doing so. In the UK, this is typically at least 24 hours. Additionally, viewings should be arranged at reasonable times to avoid inconvenience to the tenant.

Tenants: While tenants cannot unreasonably deny access to viewings, they have the right to be informed in advance. They can also request for viewings to be held at specific times that are convenient for them.

3. Tenancy Agreements and Sale

Landlords: If the property is being sold with a tenant in situ, the new owner must honour the existing tenancy agreement until it expires. This means they cannot force the tenant to leave before the end of their contract unless there are grounds for eviction based on the tenant’s breach of the agreement.

Tenants: A change in property ownership doesn’t affect the tenancy agreement. Tenants have the right to stay in the property until the end of their contract. Additionally, their deposit remains protected, and its terms remain unchanged. 

4. Communication Is Key

Landlords: It’s always a good practice to maintain open communication with tenants during the sale process. Informing them of your intentions, timelines, and any potential changes can help foster trust and reduce misunderstandings.

Tenants: Tenants should also communicate any concerns or requests they have during the sale process. This can include preferred times for viewings or any other specific needs they might have.

5. Ending a Tenancy During a Sale

Landlords: If a landlord wants to sell the property vacant, they must provide the tenant with the correct notice to end the tenancy. In the UK, this is typically a Section 21 notice, which requires giving the tenant at least two months’ notice. However, changes in legislation may affect this, so always check the current regulations.

Tenants: If a tenant wishes to leave before their tenancy agreement ends, they can negotiate an early release with the landlord. However, this may involve paying a fee or forfeiting a portion of their deposit, depending on the terms of the agreement.

6. After the Sale

Landlords: Once the sale is completed, landlords have the responsibility to transfer the tenant’s deposit to the new owner. They should also ensure that all relevant information about the tenant and the tenancy agreement is passed on to the new landlord.

Tenants: Tenants should ensure they have contact details for the new landlord or the managing agency. It’s also a good time to confirm that their deposit has been transferred and remains protected.


The sale of a tenanted property can be a complex process, but understanding the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants can make the transition smoother. Open communication, respect for each party’s rights, and adherence to legal protocols ensure a fair and hassle-free property sale for everyone involved.