If you want to buy a property in WA, there’s a chance that your ideal property already has tenants. While this can make a great investment, it can also complicate the buying process.
What to consider when buying a tenanted property
Consider your intentions for buying a property. If you’re an investor, an existing tenancy is often mentioned in the advertisement.
If you have plans to develop or renovate the property, you may wish to avoid buying a house with tenants as you will have to wait until the lease expires before taking action.
Your rights when buying a house with tenants?
To protect your rights, we recommend requesting a copy of necessary documents like the lease, Property Condition Reports and rent statement. Also, check the tenant is up to date with payments.
Before you commit to buying, you are entitled to know the details of the lease agreement.
You might be wondering if a buyer has to honour the existing lease.
- For a fixed-term lease, tenants cannot be evicted. There should be a clause in the contract indicating that the buyer must take over the existing lease
- For a periodic lease, the seller can give 30 days notice. (If the buyer gives notice after they take ownership, it goes up to 60 days.) You can choose to re-negotiate the rent amount or ask them to vacate after settlement.
You will start receiving rent payments from the settlement date. You can work with a property manager or directly with the tenants to arrange the payments and update the lease agreement.
- Before settlement, you can find out what the weekly rent is for the property.
- You can’t raise the rent on a fixed-lease unless it’s already in the rental agreement.
- Rent will be split between the buyer and the seller at settlement either by a property manager or settlement agent. Sellers are entitled to rent up to and including the settlement date, but if the tenant is in arrears, the seller cannot claim the arrears from the buyer.
Make sure the tenants have paid bond and that it was lodged with the Bond Administrator by the landlord or property manager. It will be transferred to your name at settlement but will still stay with the Bond Administrator during the duration of the lease (both fixed and periodic).
What will my immediate duties be after I buy a tenanted house?
After you buy a house with tenants, you become the new landlord and have obligations. Maintenance and safety is a priority and in general, you must do the following:
- Keep common areas, hallways and stairwells clean and safe.
- Make sure key structures are intact.
- Make sure all utilities are properly maintained.
- Make sure tenants have access to running water, hot water and heat.
- Follow local rubbish removal practices.
- Manage toxins like lead paint or asbestos.
- Make sure the place is free from pests and rodents.
What property settlement agents can do to help
At KDD, our settlement agents can help with buying a tenanted property. We can make sure you have access to all the documents you need and we will also provide copies to the property manager to ensure a smooth settlement.
For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (08) 9296 8717.