April 5, 2021 / By mikerbrady
Can you really sell a house in Virginia with tenants still in it? It’s the question that many landlords find themselves thinking about at one point or another. Being a landlord can be stressful so there can be a desire to sell a rental property at any time, whether it’s currently empty or if there are tenants inside. That stress can overwhelm a Virginia landlord if they don’t make the right decision to help themselves, especially if that means selling their rental house.
That stress can be compounded if you have tenants living in the property when you decide to sell. It’s not an easy conversation to have with renters and telling them that you’re selling a house they currently live in can introduce a lot of stress and other big emotions. So if you own a Virginia house with renters and you’re interested in selling right now, let’s talk about how to sell your rental house with tenants, whether you decide to sell it on the open market or sell your house as-is to a cash buyer.
The most important question we need to answer first is, can you sell a house with tenants attached? The good news is that you do have the legal right to sell a property with tenants in it in the state of Virginia. Ultimately, it is your property or house and you get to decide what you’d like to do with it, including selling the house to a new buyer.
That said, there are certain ways to sell a house in this situation that will make it easy for both you and the tenants, or at least keep things copasetic and legal. If handled poorly, there can be a lot of negative emotions, bad blood, and a lack of cooperation on their part that can make this a messy and painful process. Ultimately, you’re going to have a much smoother house sale if you are able to get your tenants to agree and be on board with the timing and situation.
It’s also worth noting that just because you are selling the property, your tenants do have the right to stay there through the terms of their lease. This goes for both fixed-term leases and month-to-month leases. While a month-to-month renter doesn’t have that much time, it’s possible you could be selling a Virginia house with a renter who still has six months or even a year left on their lease. You might be able to work with them on vacating early or ensure that the new owner is clear on the terms of the ongoing lease.
When you decide to sell your rental house in Virginia with tenants still in it, you have to notify those tenants about the sale. Doing so could open up a can of worms so you’re going to want to make sure you’re covering your legal bases while also trying your best to be cordial and forthcoming.
In Virginia, various rental agreements will have different notice periods, so be sure to check the lease to make sure you’re doing what’s required of you. Month-to-month renters need to be provided with an appropriate notice that you will not renew the lease once it expires. Depending on the specifics of the lease, this could be between 30 or 50 days notice required. If the rental agreement is for a fixed term, like one year, there are likely strict terms in the lease for how much notice is needed, but it’s almost always at least 30 days. Meanwhile, if the tenant has failed to pay rent or violated the lease in some form, there may be ways to require a faster move-out, though you could get locked up in legal battles over eviction.
When it comes to getting your tenant to vacate your rental property, each situation is different but it’s possible to do. If the tenant has given you a reason to pursue eviction, such as unpaid rent, lease violations, drug use, or letting people not on the lease stay in the residence for too long, then you can begin the eviction process. But do note that tenants often have a chance to respond, make good on the violation, or respond in court, which could delay their eviction or removal.
If the tenant is on a month-to-month lease, provide them with the necessary notice to leave the premises once their lease expires. If your Virginia property is in a rent-controlled area, check the local laws to make sure you have valid reasons to be able to end their tenancy.
If the tenant has a fixed-term or long-term lease, you might have to get more creative to get them to leave sooner. The first thing you can do is enter into negotiations with the tenant to see what incentive might get them to leave early. You can do a “cash for keys” offer, which is essentially offering your tenant a financial incentive to move out. One way is to offer to cover the difference between the rent at your house and the rent they’ll have to pay to move into a new residence. You can also offer to pay for their moving costs, cover their security deposit, or even pay their first month’s rent at their new rental.
It’s important to note that the tenant is under no legal obligation to accept your offer. They signed a legal document with you that allows them to stay for the duration of the lease so long as they hold up their end of the bargain. So don’t think that you have a ton of leverage if the tenant decides to play hardball.
If you’re going to sell your rental property with tenants living in it, you have a couple of options for how to go about it. The first thing to consider is how you’re marketing the rental property. Are you telling potential buyers that this is an investment property that they can consider a growth opportunity? In that case, investors might see a current tenant as a bonus because it means there’s income to be generated right away.
Another consideration is to market the property as both a house and an investment. Traditional market buyers might not be interested because they can’t move in right away, but if they can see the property as a way to generate income while waiting to move in, they might be more interested.
When selling a rental property to an investor, consider what the investors want to see in a situation like this. They are likely looking for a rental property with positive cash flow, one located in a trendy or rising neighborhood, a property with a solid rent-to-price ratio, and a property that has quality tenants living in it.
If your rental property is one that needs extensive work, is located in a bad or deteriorating neighborhood, includes tenants who don’t pay rent or make trouble, or you don’t seem to know what you’re doing, then investors could stay away. Be sure you’ve got something good to offer investors before you commit to selling to them.
If you really need to sell your rental property and your renters don’t want to leave, a simple solution to your problem could be to sell it directly to them. Of course, it may be unlikely that your tenants have the capital to purchase the property from you, but you don’t know until you ask. They might have an emotional attachment to the property and be willing to look into a mortgage loan in order to buy the Virginia property from you. This could be a real win-win if it’s possible, but make sure you’re still protecting yourself legally and not getting your hopes up.
If you find yourself unable to get rid of tenants or simply don’t want to deal with all of the hassles that come with owning a rental property, you can always sell your property as-is to an investor like Avante Home Buyers. We’ll make you a fair cash offer and can close on the property with you in a matter of days. We can also work with you for an amicable solution that works for your tenants, even working directly with them to resolve any issues. Plus, we’re located in Virginia so we understand the market and what your needs might be. And then you get to walk away with cash in your hands and no more dealing with a rental property.
When it comes to marketing a house with tenants in it, make sure you’re being open and honest with potential buyers. Be clear about any current leases and when they expire. And decide if you want to focus on investors, market buyers, or cash buyers so you can fine-tune your message.
Since you have a tenant on the premises, make sure that you’re working with them to make visits and showing as smooth as possible. Make sure the tenant gets at least 24-hour notice before anyone comes to see the residence or property. You want to keep the tenant on your side as much as possible as they can easily get annoyed or bothered by the situation.
As you can see, you absolutely can sell a house in Virginia with tenants still in it. You just have to decide how to handle things with your current tenant or tenants and then decide who the target market is for your property. If you want to sell your rental property fast and you don’t want to have to make any repairs, consider selling it as-is to Avante Home Buyers today.
Are you interested in selling your Norfolk house quickly? We can help sell your home faster! Send us a message now, or give our office a call today! 866-833-5262
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