House tenants’ rights when your landlord is selling

It’s the news no happy tenant wants to hear: the landlord is selling. 

As with most change, though, it’s a lot less frightening when you know what to expect.

Here are five rules to remember when your landlord decides to sell.

1. The landlord is allowed to sell at any time

In all states and territories, landlords are legally allowed to sell their property whenever they like. But fear not: the law protects tenants from being turfed out on a whim.

It’s the news no tenant wants to hear: the landlord is selling. 

2. Your lease is still valid

Your current lease (which is also known as a tenancy agreement) remains valid when your landlord puts their property on the market. And it remains so after the sale, which means you don’t have to move out of the property if it changes hands.

“A landlord cannot terminate a fixed-term agreement for the sale of the property,”

And so if the property is sold to an investor who a tenanted property, it’s possible you will experience very few changes.

It can also lead to a termination of the lease, if mutual consent is reached.

“If you are on a fixed-term agreement, but you want to move out because the property is being sold, you may be able to end the tenancy agreement early by a mutual consent with the landlord,”

If the new owner wants you to move out, they must comply with the terms of the existing lease.

3. Landlords must give tenants notice before an inspection … and you can be there

The landlord must give the tenants 14 days’ notice before the first viewing.

Meanwhile,  tenants “are obliged to make all reasonable efforts to agree on a suitable time and day for the showing” and must also keep the property in a “reasonable state of cleanliness”.

“If an agreement isn’t reached to show the property, the landlord is only able to show the property a maximum of two times per week, and must give the tenant at least 48 hours’ notice each time.”

Renters also have the right to be at the property when it’s opened for inspection.

Get ready: How to prepare for a rental inspection.

property inspection

The landlord must give the tenants 14 days’ notice before the first viewing. Picture: Getty

4. Renters have a say when it comes to photography and signage

The outside of a rental property can be photographed without permission. But if the landlord wishes to take photos inside the property, they must obtain permission from their tenant.

The tenant must also give their consent to signage and on-site auctions.

5. Renters can get compensation

The landlords sometimes offer their tenant compensation to encourage them to move out of the property as soon as possible.

“In some states, a tenant may give notice, even if they are on a lease, once the property is listed for sale,”

“Many property owners offer tenants a compensation for the inconvenience, and this avoids the complaints.”

6. Can you deny a home inspection during Covid-19?

No, in general terms you cannot. However, due to Covid-19 most states have introduced health guidelines still to be met if an agent or landlord request to bring people through you home during this time.

For specific guidance, check you the current public health order and guidelines in your state.

7. Can repairs and maintenance be carried out during Covid-19?

Yes, repairs and maintenance can be carries out during the pandemic. The landlord, agent or authorised person can still carry out repairs during this time, they will, however, need to ensure they follow the local health guidelines in your area.

Tenants rights in different states

It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that the sale of a property might foreshadow changes for the tenant, but it often doesn’t play out that way.

And that’s because there’s a healthy amount of legislation specifically designed to protect the rights of the tenant in this situation – laws that differ slightly from state to state.

The complete guide for first time renters
  • Landlords must provide tenants a minimum of 24 hours’ notice before showing a prospective buyer around the property. Tenants must grant these buyers “reasonable access to the premise” but can refuse access if they weren’t previously informed of the landlord’s intention to sell.
  • Neither the new or old landlord can evict the tenant if a fixed agreement is in place, unless the tenant violates the terms of the lease, or the two parties reach an agreement by mutual consent.
  • If the agreement is periodic, the state’s Residential Tenancies Act states that a landlord can evict you on eight weeks’ notice, if they “genuinely intend to sell the premises”.

New South Wales

  • Landlords must provide tenants two weeks’ written notice before the first inspection, and a minimum of 48 hours’ notice for subsequent inspections, which cannot amount to more than two a week.
  • Neither the new or old landlord can evict the tenant if a fixed agreement is in place, unless the tenant violates the terms of the lease, or the two parties reach an agreement by mutual consent.
  • Landlords must also give you 30 days’ notice if they wish to terminate the lease at the end of the tenancy agreement.
  • If the agreement is periodic, a landlord can evict you, as long as they give you 90 days’ notice, or 14 days’ notice if you breach your tenancy agreement.

Don’t miss out

5 household tasks to do in your work-from-home lunch break…

Tradition dictates that a lunch break is for eating. But the truth is, if you’re working from home, there are better ways to structure your day.

Working from home is something that Australians want to continue long-term. In a report released by Bastion Insights in January this year, it was found that two-thirds of Australian workers hope to remain working from home into the future, for either part of their week or all of it.

“Sitting at the desk, and then moving to a different chair to eat your lunch, and then back to the desk, is probably one of the most destructive things about working from home,” says Jane Kilkenny, health and fitness expert from Fitness Energy.

Young married couple working from home, they are sitting in their dining room.
Sitting for too long is probably one of the most destructive things about working from home. Photo: Stocksy

“In a traditional office job, you would have some sort of motion in your commute to work – even if it’s walking from the car to the office – and then in the office, you walk to get a coffee or stroll to get some lunch. And all of that incidental movement adds up.”

When you’re working from home, this incidental movement can be done while getting a few things done around the house.

Not only will this increase your movement and decrease your sitting time, it can also boost your productivity both in your work and in your home life (which, by the way, are now integrated rather than two separate parts of your life).

Feeling guilty about using the workday to do your own things? Kate Christie, director and founder of Time Stylers, suggests we remember that there is a lot of “wasted” time in a traditional workplace. “There are internal meetings that go on forever, chats around the water cooler, and going out for coffee,” she says, adding that we can reclaim this time for our own purposes when we work from home.

Decreasing your sitting time can boost your productivity in your work and home life. Photo: iStock

“At home, you’re likely much more focused and productive, so you can cut yourself some slack and do some things that you need to get done.”

Here are five ideas for home tasks to do during your work-from-home day.

Cook tonight’s meal

Cooking is a productive way to spend your lunch break. Photo: iStock

Whether you love or hate cooking, the evening meal has to be prepared. And it’s a surprisingly productive way to spend your lunch break.

“A complete task shift is the best kind of break,” Christie says. “Doing something creative is perfect, and cooking the meal or getting some of it ready to go fits the bill, and is a really good use of your time.”

“It gives your brain a break; you’re thinking about the recipe rather than work so that when you get back to work, you’ll be really productive.”

Hang out the washing

Hanging out the washing is a great opportunity to move your body and get some fresh air. Photo: Stocksy

It’s the perfect chance to stand up, move a little and get some fresh air.

“Hanging out a load of washing is like doing squats for five minutes: you’re bending down and standing up, and movements like that are great,” says Kilkenny.

“It’s giving your body the opportunity to be in a different position, and the more you can change your position during the day, and get your body moving from point A to point B, the better off you’ll be.”

Get out in the garden

If you’re headed outside in your break, choose your tasks wisely. Photo: iStock

“Watering the garden is a great thing to do in a break: you’re walking around and standing up tall, which is the opposite to sitting at a desk,” Kilkenny says.

But if you’re headed outside in your break, choose your tasks wisely. “Weeding the garden in a short break probably isn’t a great idea, because you’re bending down and putting yourself in a very forward position like you do at your desk,” says Kilkenny.

“It’s about changing position and adding in movement.”

A quick food shop

A trip to the shops will likely make evenings much calmer. Photo: Greg Briggs

Weekday evenings are chaotic. We tend to spend our after work hours racing around, picking up some groceries, getting dinner made, cleaning up, and getting everyone ready for the next day.

But if you can knock out some of these tasks during the day, your evenings are likely to be much calmer. Something as simple as a quick food shop to grab what you need for dinner and the next couple of days gets you out and moving, and it eases your evening load.

This flows on to become a benefit for the whole household, Christie says. “If you’re not constantly rushing, it means you can have some mindful time, sit down with your family and talk about their day, and go for a walk.”

“It makes for a more peaceful family existence.”

Potter about

Mother and her little baby girl folding clothes in their bedroom. They are preparing for packing for vacation.
‘It’s important to keep your body moving so that it can continue to function well,’ Kilkenny says. Photo: iStock

Whether you’re wandering the garden to tidy up, folding some washing, or moving from one small task to another, some gentle pottering can be a beneficial way to spend a break.

“This is movement combined with mindfulness, which is fantastic for relaxing the brain and the body,” says Kilkenny.

“It’s not necessarily exercise, so it won’t increase your fitness, but it’s so important to keep your body moving so that it can continue to function well.”

“Just remember: get up and move often, just as you would if you were working in an office building.”