Uncategorized April 4, 2023


If you’re wondering if you can sell your property with a tenant still living in the property, the answer is yes. It might be a challenging conversation with your tenant, but selling is legal even when they want to continue renting or leasing the property.

Before starting the selling process, check the rental agreement and see whether it is a month-to-month or yearly lease. Provide your tenant with reasonable notice.

See below for options in approaching how to sell with or without tenants.


Wait Until the Lease Ends

Your tenant can live in the property until the lease is over. In San Francisco where there is rent control, the leases are practically eternal leases. Waiting until the lease ends might require patience, but it has perks. First, if your tenant has a low rent, this can affect the price and value of the home. With a vacant house, it’ll be easier to renovate, stage, and market your home without tenants being there. Updating and staging your home can influence buyers’ decisions and the value of your property.

There are several ways to try to vacate a property in San Francisco or in areas with rent control:

  1. Owner move-in eviction
  2. Buy out negotiation
  3. Ellis Act
  4. Wait until the tenant voluntarily leaves before selling


Sell it to the Tenants

Suggest asking tenants if they would want to purchase the property. Tenants would likely love their current living situations and would instead not move. Selling to tenants can save time for both parties, especially your time in preparing the home, marketing efforts, putting it on the market, etc.


Selling to Someone Who is Willing to Purchase

Some people are intrigued by listings with tenants so that rental payments can immediately come in and help cover some of the mortgage payments. This might vary depending on the current rent price.


Pay your Tenants to Move Out

Not all are good tenants, which will increase the likelihood that they might not cooperate while listing the property. Instead, negotiate with your tenant to move out early and pay them. If necessary, provide an additional incentive, such as paying for a moving company to speed the process and their decision to leave. You can also offer to pay their first month’s rent for their new place.


Terminate the Lease

You could terminate the lease if they have violated any of the following:

  • Subleasing when it’s not allowed
  • Damaging the property
  • Exceeding the number of occupants living in the home (this does not necessarily apply in San Francisco).
  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Nuisance


Selling with Tenants Involved

Before listing your home, discuss your plan and actions when selling the home with tenants. Establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with them is vital as they might feel tense and stressed about the unexpected. Tenants will still determine where they will live when new owners take over. Discuss with tenants their availability so you can schedule showings for the property and provide them with notice.

Tenants might be wary of strangers walking into their homes while they are not there. Provide ease and limit the foot traffic at a time to ensure that no one touches their possessions.

If tenants want to move out, consider helping them find a new place. With your connections and access to a real estate database, you’ll have an easier time finding a new home for your tenants than your tenants themselves.

Most importantly, check if the tenants have been paying their rent. This can be unattractive and a liability for investors.


Hire a Realtor with Selling and Rental Knowledge

Selling homes with tenants require tenant rights knowledge as well as compassion and patience. It’s difficult for tenants when strangers walk into their homes. As a realtor, we treat tenants with respect while doing our job of providing access and selling the property.

Tenants are provided with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice unless otherwise agreed by the tenant. When dealing with challenging tenants,  we work with tenants to find a compromise.  Some tenants won’t allow access without shoe covers and masks. We provide all the necessary items to have a successful showing.