Here is a question to the blog clinic from Andrew who is an overseas landlord.
I have had a tenant with no written or otherwise agreement living in my house for the last 20 years.
I would now like to sell my property but without her knowledge and would like her to remain in the property indefinitely. The local council pay her rent which is maybe 2/3 if the market value and presume they will carry on doing so to the new owner of the property if I manage to sell.
I do not want her to be aware that the property is for sale and therefore can not have an internal inspection done.
How do I get a valuation on the house so that I am aware as to its value?
Is it possible to sell without any inspection and without her knowledge and if so to whom?
I am overseas and am finding it frustratingly difficult to work out how to do this but I am very keen on selling . I am really hoping you are going to be able to advise me.
I have some good news and some bad news for you.
The good news is that there is no reason why you cannot sell your property with the tenant in situ – this is often done and there is nothing the tenant can do to prevent it. Their rights will be unaffected and they will be able to enforce their obligations under the tenancy against the new owner in the same way that they can against you (indeed in some respects their rights will be stronger).
The bad news is that
- There is no way that, long term, you will be able to prevent the tenant knowing that the property has been sold, and
- if you want to sell without the buyer being entitled to an internal inspection the price you are likely to achieve will almost certainly be less than the true market value
If your tenant first moved in before 1997 with no paperwork, then she will almost certainly have an assured rather than an assured shorthold tenancy. So unless she does something stupid like going into serious rent arrears, the landlord cannot normally evict her – not without a court claim which the tenant would be entitled to challenge.
So your tenant has a good chance of being entitled to remain in the property long term.
However, she is bound to find out about the sale after it has taken place as the new landlord will need to notify her of the new arrangements for payment of rent. So you will only be able to keep the sale secret from the tenant (if indeed you are able to do this) before it takes place.
After the sale is completed you will no longer have any say in the matter.
For example it is perfectly possible that the new landlord will want to move the tenant to another property – which they are normally able to do so long as the property they want to move the tenant to is ‘suitable alternative accommodation’. Whether it is or not will depend on the circumstances of the case and there is a long string of case law on this.
The new landlord will also be entitled to raise the rent up to the market value. This would put the tenant in difficulties if she is only able to afford the benefit paid by the Council.
If the property is valued on an external examination only then it will be impossible for a proper valuation to be made as there could be issues which affect the property which can only be discovered by doing an internal inspection. So anyone buying the property will be taking a chance.
There are companies which will buy property quickly without carrying out inspections but this is always on the basis that the property is sold at substantially below market value. For example >> this company will guarantee to buy your property within 14 days BUT at considerably reduced price. They may be willing to do this without an internal inspection so I you may want to contact them.
You may also be able to get some practical guidance on selling a property with a tenant in situ (and maybe even find a buyer) via the landlords forum Property Tribes.