Citizens advice landlord selling house

When a landlord decides to sell a rental property in the UK, it can be a stressful and uncertain time for tenants. This comprehensive guide, informed by advice from Citizens Advice, explores the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords in this situation, and provides practical steps tenants can take to protect their interests.


In the UK, the private rental sector is a significant part of the housing market, with millions of tenants renting homes from private landlords. Changes in the property market, personal circumstances, or financial needs may prompt a landlord to sell their property. Understanding the legal framework and knowing your rights as a tenant can help you navigate this transition smoothly.

Legal Framework

Tenancy Agreements

The type of tenancy agreement you have significantly impacts your rights when your landlord decides to sell the property. The most common types of tenancy agreements in the UK include:

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs): The most common form of tenancy, usually lasting six or twelve months. After this period, it can either be renewed or continue on a periodic (month-to-month) basis.
  • Assured Tenancies: Provide more security of tenure than ASTs, as long as the tenant complies with the terms of the tenancy agreement.
  • Regulated Tenancies: These tenancies started before 15 January 1989 and offer significant protection against eviction and rent increases.

Tenant Rights

Right to Stay

  • Fixed-Term Tenancies: If you have a fixed-term tenancy, you have the right to stay in the property until the end of the term, regardless of whether the landlord sells the property. The new owner takes over the responsibilities of the landlord until the tenancy ends.
  • Periodic Tenancies: For periodic tenancies, the landlord must give proper notice to end the tenancy, typically two months’ notice under a Section 21 notice for ASTs.

Right to Quiet Enjoyment

Regardless of the landlord’s intention to sell, tenants have the right to “quiet enjoyment” of their home. This means the landlord must not interfere with your right to live in the property peacefully. The landlord or estate agents must give you at least 24 hours’ notice before visiting the property for viewings, and visits should be at reasonable times.

Landlord Responsibilities

Notice to Sell

When a landlord decides to sell, they must notify you, the tenant, about their intentions. While there is no legal requirement for how far in advance this notification should be given, it should be reasonable to allow you to make necessary arrangements.

Respecting Tenancy Terms

The sale of the property does not automatically end your tenancy. The new owner becomes your landlord and must honor the terms of your existing tenancy agreement. This includes any agreements regarding rent, maintenance, and repairs.

Practical Steps for Tenants

Communication with Landlord

Open communication with your landlord can alleviate concerns and uncertainties. Ask for clarity on the timeline for the sale and any planned viewings. Establishing a good rapport can ensure that your rights are respected and that any disruption is minimized.

Preparing for Viewings

While the property is on the market, you may need to accommodate viewings. Here are some tips to manage this process:

  • Agree on a Viewing Schedule: Work with your landlord or estate agent to agree on convenient times for viewings.
  • Secure Your Belongings: Ensure that your personal belongings are safe and secure during viewings.
  • Provide Feedback: If viewings become too frequent or disruptive, communicate your concerns to your landlord or estate agent.

Exploring Your Options

If your landlord is selling the property, consider the following options:

  • Renew Your Tenancy: If you wish to stay, discuss the possibility of renewing your tenancy with the new owner.
  • Negotiate Early Termination: If you want to move out before the end of your tenancy, negotiate an early termination with your landlord.
  • Seek Legal Advice: If you’re unsure about your rights or if disputes arise, seek advice from Citizens Advice or a housing solicitor.

Rights Under Different Tenancy Situations

Fixed-Term Tenancies

For tenants with a fixed-term tenancy, the situation is generally more straightforward:

  • Staying Until the End of the Term: You have the right to stay until the end of your fixed term, and the new owner must honor your tenancy agreement.
  • Renewal or Extension: If you wish to stay beyond the fixed term, you can negotiate with the new owner for a renewal or extension.

Periodic Tenancies

For periodic or rolling tenancies, the landlord must follow proper procedures to end the tenancy:

  • Notice Periods: For ASTs, a Section 21 notice must be given, usually with at least two months’ notice. For other types of periodic tenancies, different notice periods may apply.
  • Eviction Procedures: If you do not leave after the notice period, the landlord must apply for a possession order from the court.

Selling with Tenants in Situ

Advantages for Landlords

Selling a property with tenants in situ can be advantageous for landlords, as it may appeal to investors looking for immediate rental income.

Considerations for Tenants

As a tenant, living in a property that is being sold with you in situ requires understanding your rights and the new landlord’s intentions:

  • Continuity of Tenancy: Your tenancy agreement continues, and the new owner takes on the landlord’s responsibilities.
  • Communication with New Landlord: Establish communication with the new owner to ensure that rent payments and maintenance issues are addressed promptly.

Potential Challenges

Disputes Over Viewings

Disputes can arise if tenants feel that viewings are too frequent or intrusive. To manage this:

  • Set Clear Boundaries: Agree on specific times and days for viewings.
  • Use Written Communication: Keep a record of all communications regarding viewings.

Issues with New Owners

Transitioning to a new landlord can present challenges:

  • Verification of New Owner: Ensure that the new owner is aware of your tenancy agreement and its terms.
  • Addressing Concerns Early: Raise any concerns or issues with the new owner early to establish a good relationship.

Legal Remedies and Support

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice provides free, confidential, and impartial advice to help you understand your rights and options. They can assist with:

  • Understanding Tenancy Rights: Clarifying your rights under different tenancy agreements.
  • Dispute Resolution: Advising on how to handle disputes with landlords or new owners.
  • Legal Procedures: Explaining the legal procedures for eviction and possession orders.

Seeking Legal Advice

For complex situations or disputes that cannot be resolved through negotiation, seeking legal advice from a solicitor specializing in housing law may be necessary. Legal aid may be available depending on your circumstances.

Case Studies

Case Study 1: Fixed-Term Tenant with Property Sale

Background: Sarah has a 12-month fixed-term tenancy. Six months into the tenancy, her landlord decides to sell the property.

Action: Sarah is informed by her landlord about the sale. She communicates with the landlord to agree on viewing times and secures her personal belongings. Sarah also contacts the prospective new owner to discuss the possibility of renewing her tenancy after the fixed term.

Outcome: The property is sold to an investor who agrees to honor Sarah’s tenancy agreement and negotiates a new fixed term with her.

Case Study 2: Periodic Tenant Facing Eviction Notice

Background: John has a periodic tenancy and receives a Section 21 notice from his landlord, who intends to sell the property.

Action: John verifies that the notice complies with legal requirements and seeks advice from Citizens Advice. He begins looking for alternative accommodation and negotiates with his landlord for a longer notice period to allow more time to move.

Outcome: John finds new accommodation and moves out at the end of the extended notice period, minimizing disruption.

Case Study 3: Dispute Over Viewing Frequency

Background: Emma, a tenant with a periodic tenancy, feels overwhelmed by frequent viewings scheduled by her landlord’s estate agent.

Action: Emma documents the dates and times of the viewings and communicates her concerns to her landlord, requesting a more manageable schedule. She seeks advice from Citizens Advice on her right to quiet enjoyment.

Outcome: The landlord agrees to limit viewings to specific days and times, reducing stress for Emma and allowing her to manage the situation better.


When a landlord decides to sell a rental property in the UK, it can have significant implications for tenants. Understanding your rights and responsibilities is crucial to navigating this period smoothly. Key points to remember include:

  • Tenancy Agreements: Your rights depend on whether you have a fixed-term or periodic tenancy.
  • Notice Requirements: Landlords must provide appropriate notice, especially for ending periodic tenancies.
  • Quiet Enjoyment: You have the right to live in your home without excessive disturbance.
  • Communication: Open communication with your landlord and, if applicable, the new owner can help manage the transition.
  • Legal Support: Citizens Advice and housing solicitors can provide valuable support and guidance.

By being informed and proactive, tenants can protect their rights and ensure a smoother transition when their landlord decides to sell the property.

Are you interested in SELLING YOUR PROPERTY FAST? …with NO Fee?

Leave Your Name & Number. Our Agents can tell you more…
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.