How do you sell with sitting tenants?

Asked by Trulia Washington DC, Charlotte, NC Tue May 14, 2013

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Djana Morris, , Washington, DC
Sun May 19, 2013
Hi Marlene,

In DC there are very specific rules that you must follow when putting tenanted property on the market. If the tenants cooperate, it can be a relatively simple process. If they don't, you can still get them out, but it will be more time consuming.

I would be happy to meet with you and walk you through the process. My contact information is; (202)309-0146.

Djana Morris
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Marlene Grah…, Home Buyer, Washington, DC
Fri May 17, 2013
During 1993, I purchased a 7-bedroom house in Washington, DC. Six American University (AU) students resided there. I found out after purchase, that the sellers failed to give tenants sufficient notice. They accepted previous offers that had fallen through, and gave existing tenants the proper notice and the tenants moved out , but the offers fail through for whatever reason. Then when I came along, the sellers did no now if my offer was going to fly, so they took chances, but I was stuck with the tenants.

When I moved in, I had two AU students living in my house that I could not put out. The selling agent suggested I go up on their rent to force them out. I contacted DCRA (Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs). I was informed that while I could go up on the rent, the tenants did not have to pay it. The two guys moved out, one with a television and other items that belonged to me. You know what, it was worth it just to get them out of my home.

My current dilema. I have a house in Georgia. I want to sell it. However tenants are living in it and I have a property manager that I have not shared this with. The tenants have four months left on their lease, I can give them 60 days notice, according to the lease agreement, to vacate the property. I am considering selling it to an investor...I know what you are thinking, and you would be correct; selling to an investor, I am not going to get its full value. Well, I paid cash for this house in 2008 and have been renting it out every since.. and I have made what I paid for it. So, I feel comfortable giving it, basically to an investor. I want to purchase in North Carolina, and retire soon!
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Maureen Dwyer, Agent, Ashburn, VA
Thu May 16, 2013
This varies very much from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Virginia the lease needs to be honored but other arrangements can be made. In DC, as my colleague said, there are very strict rules in favor of the tenant to prevent unethical behavior on the part of the seller. If you are purchasing in DC your agent can guide you. There are time limits but that might not meet your time frame. Most properties will come on the market either vacant, no tenant, or within 30-60 days of the lease/notice ending which assumes buyers will need lending help.
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Connie Vande…, Agent, Arlington, VA
Tue May 14, 2013
ARe you in North Carolina? Is the property in NC?
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Miekeba Jones, Agent, Silver Spring, MD
Tue May 14, 2013
Hi Trulia Washington DC, consult the Tenant's and Landlords of Washington DC.
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James Downing, Agent, Dunedin, FL
Tue May 14, 2013
If the property is in Washington DC; there are very strict and tricky laws in regards to the sale of a property with tenants. TOPA (Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act); is the law of the land in which certain notices and time frames must be adhered to. Tenants must be given the chance to purchase the property and the proper documentation must be used.

Feel free to email or call us with the specifics.

James T. Downing

Metro DC Houses Team

REALTOR, GRI, ABR, Certified Military Residential Specialist
Licensed in Maryland, Virginia & Washington DC

202.469.6778 Office
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