Tenants must bond with buyers

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

A landlord who attempts to sell a property while a tenant is living in the home could be faced with a tricky situation. A tenant who is reluctant to move could well sabotage the viewing process and, if not held in check, could put prospective buyers off the deal completely.

Tenants who don't look after the properties and whose idea of cleanliness differs from the norm are a liability. There is ample evidence that selling an untidy, unclean home is more difficult than selling one that is neat and visually pleasing. Over-grown gardens, broken windows and a general lack of maintenance are highly likely to influence the selling price and sellers may find that low offers are the order of the day.

With that in mind, sellers should conduct a thorough inspection of their properties before listing them. “Property owners who have not made regular inspections may be in for a nasty shock when they decide it is time to sell because maintenance has been neglected and expensive repairs are necessary before a property can be put on the market,” says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterBond.

Access and mess

Unfortunately, the state of the property in question is not the only concern. Rademeyer says that tenants who do not want to move can create major problems for sellers. “To start with, they may be difficult about giving an agent access to the property to show it to prospective buyers, or perhaps deliberately leave the home in a mess when they know the agent is coming round.”

Perhaps more serious is the tenant who attempts to block a sale by regaling potential buyers with real and imagined faults relating to both the property and the neighbourhood. This is of particular concern because a seller may not be aware that this is happening. In most cases a seller is not directly involved in showing potential sellers the home. It is important for the seller to inform the agent concerned if he believes that the tenant may attempt to jeopardise the sale. Likewise, once informed, the agent must try to keep contact between the tenant and the potential seller to an absolute minimum.

It’s private!

We all value our privacy and a tenant’s rights must be respected when the home in which they live is put up for sale. Expecting them to vacate their home every Sunday because the property is on show is probably going to cause a few problems. Most of us want to kick back and relax when we get home in the evening and the idea that you have to rush home to tidy up because yet another buyer is coming to view the home can become incredibly tiresome. Landlords who openly discuss the fact that they are putting the home on the market and who respect their tenants’ rights may well find that the tenants are far more amenable to the idea that strangers are going to be and won't hinder the selling process in any way.

For more on tenants’ rights when the properties they rent are being sold, click here.

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