6 Tips To Selling Property With Tenants On Long Island

As a landlord, you’re happy to have tenants living in your property; that is until it’s time to sell your Long Island house. There are quite a few things that can derail your plans to sell, especially when tenants are involved. Unless you’re flexible or have luck on your side, your selling schedule usually doesn’t match the dates on your tenant’s lease perfectly.

Your option is to put the property on the market while your tenants are still under contract. But some buyers will not be interested in buying a property that comes with tenants attached. Selling a house is stressful enough; the last thing you need to do is have tenants interfering with the sale of your property.

When it comes to selling a tenant-occupied property, you do have options. And the good news is, you don’t have to wait until the property is vacant before putting a for sale sign in the yard. 

So to help navigate selling a property with tenants, check out these helpful tips.

Things To Consider When Selling A House With Tenants In It

Tip #1: Know Your Rights As A Landlord

If you are going to sell your house with tenants, it’s wise to be aware of landlord and tenant rights when selling your property. State rules and regulations vary, so take some time to research New York landlord-tenant laws for your Long Island home. 

Regardless of legal requirements, you should notify your tenants as soon as possible. That way, they can start making arrangements to find a new residence. 

book titled tenants rights with glasses in the backgroud

Tip #2: Communicate With Your Tenants

Make a point to keep your tenants updated. They likely will have questions about the process, so provide as many details as you can upfront. Let them know ASAP precisely when the property will be placed on the market.

If you are planning to show the home, make sure to notify your tenants well in advance. Surprisingly some states have laws that regulate showings, so do your research. If you would like your tenants to make preparations for showings such as cleaning, making sure pets are created or leaving the property during the showing, etc. make sure to do so in writing. 

Tip #3: Be Familiar With The Eviction Laws For Your State

What happens when your selling time doesn’t mesh with your tenants’ rental contract? You are probably wondering if you can evict a tenant to sell your rental property. In most situations, you can not legally evict a tenant to sell the home unless it is spelled out in the lease agreement. 

Many landlords use a standard form or template for the lease, if you did too, check out the language regarding eviction, or selling the property. Standard contracts often include language explaining the specific time required to give an eviction notice in case of a sale, typically 30 to 60 days.

Make sure to check state and local laws for any regulations governing eviction in case of a home sale. For example, some cities have rent control ordinances that want landlords to prove they have just cause (legally recognized reason for eviction) to evict. Because of the current pandemic, recent changes have been made so be also wary about the changes in eviction in New York.

Notify your tenants as soon as you can. Being upfront with tenants and sharing information will likely make them feel like cooperating with you. 

Tip #4: Check The Terms Of Your Tenant’s Lease

Typically there are two types of lease term agreements:

  • Month to month
  • Fixed-term lease

Month to Month

A month-to-month lease is ideal for landlords who wish to sell. Typically this type of lease offers the most flexible rental situation.

Keep in mind though that even with a month-to-month lease, a landlord cannot end a tenancy early without cause. If the landlord does not have reason to evict, then the landlord must wait until the end of the lease or rental period before asking or expecting the tenant to move. Still, it would be wise to give the tenant notice so that they may be more cooperative about home showings and moving out. 

In New York, if a tenant has a month-to-month lease or rental agreement and the landlord does not have cause to terminate the lease early, then the landlord must give the tenant notice as follows: 

  • Tenants occupying for a year or having a lease of at least one year: 30 days’ notice. 
  • Tenants occupying from one to two years and leaseholders of one to two-year leases: 60 days’ notice. 
  • Tenants occupying more than two years or having leases of two years or more: 90 days’ notice. 

However, when you notify the tenant to vacate due to a sale, follow the terms of their lease as they detail when the agreement ends. To verify this is being done legally, seeking the advice of a lawyer would be wise since they would be familiar with the current rules and regulations of eviction in the state of New York. 

Fixed-Term Lease

A fixed-term lease isn’t as flexible as a month to month lease. If the contract doesn’t have an early termination clause and tenants are paying on time without violating terms, you likely will have to wait until the lease expires, even if that means delaying your plans to sell.

In New York, once the term ends, the landlord does not need to give the tenant notice to move, unless the terms of the lease require the landlord to do so. So the landlord can expect the tenant to move out of the home at the end of the term -unless the tenant has indicated otherwise, such as by asking for a lease renewal. Consulting with a lawyer would be recommended to go over your fixed-term lease agreement and to explain the rules for landlords specifically in Long Island.

Ultimately, if your tenants are following the rules, you can’t kick them out just because you’re ready to sell.

Tip #5: Give Your Tenants A Notice To Vacate Due To Sale 

You should notify the tenant with an intent to sell letter. The letter offers a straightforward way to both let the tenant know about your plans to sell and provide relevant information.

When creating an intent letter to a tenant about the upcoming sale of your property, the notification should include:

  • Identifying information, including the property address, tenant name(s), and date
  • A brief explanation of what is going on with the sale of the property, such as the anticipated date it will be listed.
  • Protocol for showings-whether there will be showings and, if so, detailed expectations for the tenant (straighten up the house, do the dishes, put the dogs in a crate, etc.) as well as yourself (“I will provide X hours of notice by text/call/email before the showing”)

notice to vacate with hundred dollar bills

Tip #6: Know How to Handle A Tenant That Won’t Move

If your tenant has a fixed lease term and they don’t want to move before their contract expires, you can still sell…but it’ll be harder to find a buyer. 

But there are options available. You could give your tenant a chance to purchase the home. After all, they might love living there enough to buy it. If that isn’t possible, you could try paying your tenant a bonus or offer some other incentive to vacate. 

However, the easiest solution by far is to sell your Long Island house to Leave the Key Homebuyers. Leave the Key Homebuyers will make an all-cash offer, taking your renters off your hands so you don’t have to deal with the hassle and stress of selling a property with tenants.

Best of all, selling to Leave the Key Homebuyers means you’ll sell your house faster and easier. You don’t have to make any upgrades or repairs and don’t have to worry about inspections and appraisals. There’s no staging (or even cleaning!) involved. Leave the Key Homebuyers will make you a firm offer and purchase the house as-is, including tenants, and can close in as little as a week.

If you are considering selling your Long Island rental property, give Leave the Key Homebuyers a call today.