I want to sell my rental. What do I tell my tenant?


Dear David: I own a semi-detached property. My tenant pays rent on a month-my-month basis and it has been a few years since I renewed their lease. If I want to sell the property, is there anything that I am legally required to do prior to the sale, other than giving the tenant 90 days’ notice? – COVERING THE BASES

DEAR COVERING: Selling an income property that is occupied by a tenant is always a bit on the complicated side. A quick read through the Residential Tenancies Act can help guide you through the process and clarify your obligations as a landlord.

Even if you haven’t signed lease with your tenant for several years, they have rights of possession to the property that will continue if it is purchased by a new owner. The only way a tenant can be forced to leave is if a new buyer fully intends to inhabit the property, or if one of their immediate family members plans to do so. If this is the buyer’s intent, the tenant must be informed of an appropriate person’s plan to move into the home at least 60 days prior to the beginning of a new rental period, and notice must be delivered using the correct paperwork.

Once the tenant has been notified, they can move out to any accommodation they can find. You will need to rebate them any extra rent they have paid, plus compensate them one month’s additional rent, as outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act.

There is no circumstance in which a landlord can just ask their tenant to leave before selling the property. This protection prevents landlords from giving notice to tenants who are no longer paying market rent. If you believe your tenant may be displaced when the property changes hands, have a heart-to-heart conversation with them well in advance, so they have the best chance of finding something new in today’s competitive rental market.

The sale of a rental property does not obligate a tenant to move out unless the new owner or one of their direct family members will be moving in, but this is happening with increasing frequency. As property values in our area continue their dramatic rise, more and more of the properties that were once considered rental inventory are being purchased by owners who plan to move into them.


When I’m working with tenants who are likely to be displaced by a sale, I try to create a win-win, co-operative situation that will benefit both them and the property owner. To ease their inevitable pain, a landlord may consider offering their tenant a financial incentive to help offset their moving costs and encourage them to relocate early. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Moving? Get it right. Ask David today! Call or text 519-577-1212.