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In the last several years, our province has implemented significant measures intended to protect tenants of residential housing. Some of this legislation has inadvertently exposed the buyers and sellers of tenant properties.

If you are involved on any side of this type of transaction, there are things you need to know.

Best practice in any sales situation is for the real estate agent to reach out to the tenants advise of the listing, discuss the tenants concerns and create a showing schedule. The schedule should be a cooperative effort to ensure it’s as convenient as possible for both parties.  A tenant can not block showings, but the showings should not be too disruptive.  It’s important to note, if the tenant wishes to be home during the showings, they can be.

Once an offer is accepted on the property, there will likely be certain conditions around the offer which need to be met, prior to notice being given to the tenant, meaning, the sale must be firm.

If the purchaser, or a purchaser’s family member (parents or children) want to move into the property, the buyer’s agent will advise the sellers agent and the current landlord, will be obligated to give notice to the tenant.

There is a specific form which must be obtained through the residential tenancy website. This form provides notice the tenant must vacate within 60 days clear notice. The form also notifies the tenant the last month will be rent free.

There are other provisions which the tenant and the landlord should be aware of regarding the notice. Please see attached link for more information.

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/ending-a-tenancy/landlord-notice/two-month-notice

If the Tenancy is a fixed term lease, the notice can be given to coincide to the end of the lease term, and not before. The lease agreement “runs with the land” meaning it belongs to the property, not the owners.

In some cases, tenants and landlords may agree to special vacate conditions, in this situation, a “Mutual Agreement to End Tenancy” should be executed by both the tenant and landlord.

If the new purchasers or purchaser’s family do not wish to reside in the property, the tenancy remains intact with the same terms and conditions of the original tenancy.

It is important that all parties understand the significance of acting in good faith. For example, if a tenant is given notice to vacate a property as the purchasers want possession, the purchasers must move in for a minimum of six months. If the purchasers negate on this obligation, section 49 of the Residential Tenancy Act, states the landlord could be required to pay the tenants up to 12 times the monthly rent in damages.

The intention of this legislative change was to deter landlords from using this basis of eviction as a ruse to obtain vacant possession

This is a very brief overview of selling tenanted properties and each sale is has sits own set of circumstances. If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

  

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