Selling a property with difficult tenants

Real estate offers some unique opportunities to increase your cash flow. One popular way is to rent out properties to tenants. While it can take some time to make a profit, it’s a straightforward way to bring in positive cash flow since you can (and should) charge more than the monthly mortgage payment for rent.

In many cases, renting a home can be relatively hands-free except for collecting rent and handling maintenance issues. Unfortunately, renting your property to the wrong tenants can make your venture into real estate stressful.

If you want to sell your property and you’re currently dealing with difficult tenants, you might feel trapped. But there are a few things you can do.

Know your rights and your tenants' rights

Before you take any steps, you should understand your rights as a landlord and what rights your tenant has. These laws may vary by state.

What are my rights as a landlord?

 As the owner of the property, you have the following (legally enforceable) rights:

  • You can lawfully collect rent and other payments (pet fees, parking fees, deposits, and fees to repair certain damages
  • You can legally enter the property with notice. Utah law requires at least 24-hour’s notice before entering unless it’s an emergency. If you want to show a rental property to a potential buyer, you’ll need to give them at least 24-hours-notice of walkthroughs.
  • You can evict tenants for various reasons, including non-payment, violation of lease terms, suspected criminal activity, and nuisance complaints


What are the rights of my tenants?

  • Tenants have the right to safe and sanitary housing
  • Tenants have the right to meet with the landlord to discuss issues
  • Tenants have the right to have safety and maintenance issues addressed promptly
  • Tenants have the right to enjoy their home without interference


Understanding your rights as a landlord and your tenant’s rights can help navigate the sales process less stressful.

Notify tenants you plan to sell

If you’re working with difficult tenants and you don’t can’t or don’t want to evict them, notifying them of your intent to sell is vital. While you’re not legally required to inform them that you plan to sell, you must provide 15 days’ notice before they’re required to move out.

Providing sufficient notice allows your tenants to find a new place to live. Ideally, you should send them a written letter via mail. An email or text message follow-up may also be helpful.

Consider your options

You always have a few options when you’re selling a rental property. You may just need to approach each option differently with difficult tenants.

Wait for the tenancy to expire

If your tenant still has time left on their lease you could wait until it is almost finished and then ask them to move out. You’re legally required to provide a 15-days-notice for a no-cause eviction. However, this notice must come 15-days before the next payment is due. Ideally, you should provide at least 30-60 days’ notice so that the tenant has sufficient time to find a new place to live.

Offer tenant chance to buy home

Consider offering your tenant the option to purchase the home. If your tenant loves the house, they might like the option to purchase it before you list the property on the market. There are multiple ways to do this, including a lease-to-own, seller-financing, or a traditional sale. You should hire an attorney if you opt for a lease-to-own or seller-financing.

Pay tenant to vacate

You could offer to buy out your tenant’s lease or offer a cash incentive as a reward for moving out. While this might not be ideal for difficult tenants, it might be the fastest solution. This may be a particularly attractive option if they’re making it impossible to show the property.

Evict Tenant

If you have grounds to evict your tenant (they’re not paying their rent or they’ve otherwise broken their lease), an eviction could help get the difficult tenant out of your property. Evictions can take time. In addition to providing ample notices, you may need to file a lawsuit with the Utah District Court and have the locks legally changed. Evictions can take several weeks and cost close to $1500 if you hire an attorney.

Sell with tenant in (sell home for cash)

You can legally sell a tenant-occupied property. If your current tenant has an ongoing lease, the new owner will take responsibility for the owner part. The tenants can stay in the home until their lease is finished or the new owner makes arrangements with the tenant to leave the property.

Selling your property for cash to a property like Brick could be the solution you’re looking for if you’re struggling to sell your house because of terrible tenants. We purchase properties in all conditions.

Have questions about selling your investment property for cash? We’re happy to help. Call us today, and we’ll answer any questions you have.

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Further Reading

Cary, North Carolina

Cary is a fast-growing city located in Wake County, North Carolina. Cary is the seventh-largest city in North Carolina. Cary is a hub for tech and education. It sits near significant science and technology firms in the research Triangle metropolitan area.  

Asheville, North Carolina

The housing market in Asheville is moderately competitive. The cost of homes in the city has increased by over 20% year over year, but the number of homes sold has dropped by roughly 25 percent. The median sales price for a home in Asheville is $485,000, and houses stay on the market for about 35 days.

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