By Mark Weisleder
When a landlord puts a home or condo up for sale it can often lead to conflicts with tenants. The landlord, naturally wants to show as many people through the property as possible, while the tenants may be annoyed with the inconvenience. Each party has rights and it pays to know what they are.
Here are the basic rules:
- Landlords can sell their home at any time.
- If the tenant has a lease, they cannot be evicted before the end of their term.
- If the lease is over, it automatically becomes a monthly tenancy. The tenant must be given 60 days’ notice to vacate, provided that a buyer has already unconditionally agreed to buy the home.
- Tenants must allow buyers to look at the unit, as long as there is 24 hours’ advance written notice and the showing takes place between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pets have to be kept out of the way and while tenants can be there during showings, they don’t have to be.
Some tenants believe the landlord cannot show the home if they still have a lease. Wrong. On the other hand, a buyer must still respect the terms of the lease. But when the lease expires, the new owner can provide a 60 days’ notice based on the fact they need the home for themselves or their family.
If a tenant refuses to let buyers in to see the unit after being given proper notice, the landlord can start eviction proceedings. The landlord could also potentially claim damages if the tenant’s actions prevent the landlord from selling the home in a timely manner.
Landlords cannot trick tenants into leaving either, pretending to move in so the tenant vacates and then immediately fixing the place up and selling it. The tenant can sue if this occurs. This can include a claim for the tenant’s moving costs and higher rent paid elsewhere. The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board may also add additional fines for breaking the law.
If you are planning to sell your home, my advice is to approach your tenant first and work out a plan that accommodates everyone. That way the tenant can protect their valuables and keep pets out of the way and the landlord can let buyers see the home on a timely basis. As an example, only agree to showings from 4 to 6 pm each day.
Some landlords help their tenants find another place to live before putting the home up for sale. This is also an excellent solution. It takes away the stress of eviction and the landlord then gets to later fix up their home and make it more presentable to a wider range of potential buyers.
When landlords and tenants understand the rules and co-operate when a home is being sold, everyone wins.
Mark Weisleder is a Toronto real estate lawyer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org