Q. Unexpectedly I need to sell my investment property but it’s currently tenanted and the tenancy doesn’t expire for another six months, with no opportunity to serve notice before then. I have spoken to a couple of agents but have had conflicting advice about the best way forward for me. I have been told that it will likely be sold within a week of it hitting the property market which is great news but obviously it will leave me in an awkward position with respect to the tenancy still running, can you help?
A. On first reflection this seems like a big headache and with the added pressure of needing to sell I can imagine you may feel a little like you have your back against the wall right now. However there are definitely options that are open to you and worth exploring. The first option and the easiest scenario by far is to try selling to another investor that will be happy to purchase the property with the current tenant in occupation. Most savvy investors would not have an issue with this as it is actually a very cost effective way of purchasing given they will receive rent from day one with no void period to take into consideration. However given you need to sell quite quickly I assume you don’t have time to wait for that type of buyer alone to come along? So widening the net would mean looking at a buyer purchasing to occupy the property themselves as a home, to pursue this type of buyer also I would consider firstly having a chat with your tenant ( if you have a good relationship with them) by being transparent and explaining the predicament you find yourself in it may be that you can work out a plan with them to vacate earlier by their own accord if you can perhaps offer them a reduction or a rent free period and assistance to find them another place to rent, your agent can help with this. If they are agreeable to this you would then be free to find a suitable buyer without restriction. Of course you would also need to be upfront with the buyer too letting them know that the property is rented but the tenants have agreed to vacate earlier by arrangement. Not being able to serve a formal Section 21 notice on the tenant’s means that vacating earlier than the contract end date cannot be guaranteed but by asking your solicitor to exchange with a conditional completion subject to vacant possession will not leave you exposed should things not work out the way you hope.