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Sale of Rented Accommodation : what are the rules?

Posted by Michel on April 27, 2022

Any landlord may want to sell his property for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is to make a profit. The effect on the renter may differ depending on whether the owner desires to sell his “naked” property, that is, empty, or sell it leased. Let us examine the numerous choices in order to establish the tenant’s options, which may include determining whether his landlord is behaving in good faith.

Another investor buys the property

The first and most straightforward scenario is selling the inhabited home to a new lessor. The effect on the tenant is thus nil, since he may continue to utilize the space under the same terms as before, and the lease will be renewed. This sort of sale is most often during the lease, at the request of an owner in a hurry to get rid of the property – since the sale is usually approved at a lower price than an empty residence.

If the renter is made aware of the sale, he may bid to buy his apartment, but he has no right of first refusal. The new owner’s sole responsibility is to provide his contact information to the renter.

The new owner assumes all responsibilities, including returning the money when the renter vacates. The guarantor is not liberated from his obligation because he has stood surety elsewhere, assuming there is one.

The owner wishes to sell the empty dwelling

Another scenario: before selling, the owner wants the tenant to vacate the premises. Several rules then apply.

Sending leave to sell

In order to liberate the space from any occupancy after the end of the lease, the owner must provide notice to the renter (or of one of the lease periods, according to the principle of 3-6-9 annuities). Attention: the requirements of the leave to sell are quite specific, and the owner must follow them to the letter or face a criminal punishment and the payment of damages to the renter.

In terms of deadlines, the notice must be delivered at least 6 months before the end of the lease for an empty property, or 3 months if the property is furnished, otherwise the contract would be nullified. The letter (registered or delivered by bailiff) must be written to all lease signatories, and the cause for the notification (to sell here) must be stated explicitly.

This letter will also include the price and terms of the sale, a description of the accommodation and any potential annexes, and a declaration of the first five paragraphs of Article 15 of the Law of July 6, 1989.

The right of first refusal

As a result of the permission to sell, the renter has the opportunity to purchase the property, which is a priority benefit. This privilege only applies to unoccupied housing, excluding furnished housing, and only if the owner does not want to sell to a member of his family up to the third degree. This includes ascendants’ parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, as well as descendants’ children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. In the collateral line, the calculation takes into consideration not only siblings and sisters, but also uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces.

According to the established norm, the tenant may use his right of pre-emption within the first two months after receiving the registered notification without the owner being able to object. He must next notify the owner of his plan to acquire by registered letter, noting if he will need a mortgage to complete the transaction. The buyer is given two months to sign the deed of sale, or four months if a loan is required.

The offer is however deemed to be refused if the tenant:

• refuses to redeem the property,

• does not send any response to the owner during the first two months of the notice,

• offers a price lower than that set by the owner, and the latter refuses.

Please note: if the tenant does not buy for lack of means and realizes later that the owner is selling or has sold at a lower price than the conditions offered to him, he again becomes a priority and may even be entitled to demand the nullity of a sale made!

When to leave the accommodation?

The renter will be forced to vacate the premises if no agreement is reached. If he is unable to do so after the lease’s expiration date, he is allowed to do so before that date and without compensation if the lease contract is terminated on the owner’s initiative.

The renter may give over the keys to the owner and inventory the fixtures whenever he wants, and he will only be responsible for the rentals and charges that are proportional to his effective possession.

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Visitation rights

Even though the term of the right of pre-emption has not elapsed, the tenant must allow his landlord a right of entry in all instances. However, the tenant’s privacy must be respected, and he must be told in advance of any visits that cannot take place on Sundays or public holidays. The best thing to do is to agree on time slots for visits in good faith.

It’s also worth noting that the owner can’t make the renter allow a visit while he’s away.

The special case of tenants over 65

Tenants above the age of 65 are given particular protection under the legislation. A leave cannot be issued to them if their resources are less than the current maximum for the distribution of permitted rental housing. The law also applies to a renter under the age of 65 who has a dependent who is above the age of 65 on the lease’s expiration date.

The landlord may, however, give the elderly renter a rehousing option to prevent the lease being automatically renewed. This must then relate to housing that meets the tenant’s demands, is within his financial means, and is close by (same municipality or district, or adjacent municipality/district).

It is not always simple for a landlord to inform a renter that he or she must vacate the premises. A tenant, on the other hand, may react negatively to the news of the sales of his apartment. A peaceful transaction may be achieved if these basic guidelines are followed and each party is treated with respect.

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