Help! My Landlord is Selling My Home

There is not a lot worse than the fear of being forced to find a new home you can afford. Learn about your rights if your landlord wants to sell.
landlord selling my place

No doubt you have concerns if your rental home is for sale. It’s especially scary in times when it’s hard to find another place to rent. Fortunately, you do have rights under BC’s Residential Tenancy Act. Let’s first talk about when and how your place can be shown to potential buyers.

In most cases, when the landlord shows up with their realtor to take photos of your place for the listing, they will discuss with you how they would like the showings to work. Most realtors will just ask you if it’s okay if they just phone or text you 24 hours in advance of a showing and most tenants are fine with this arrangement.

According to the BC Residential Tenancy Act (section 29), the landlord or the real estate agent must have your agreement or give you proper written notice that states the date, time and reason for entry. You must receive the notice at least 24 hours, and not more than 30 days, before the time of entry.

A landlord must keep in mind that a tenant is entitled to reasonable privacy and freedom from unreasonable disturbance. A notice indicating that showings will take place daily from 9am to 6pm for a two-week period would be unreasonable.

When proper notice has been given or if you have agreed to a showing, the landlord or realtor can show your home even if you are not there. During the showings, your landlord or the real estate agent is obligated to make sure your possessions are safe. This is the reason an open house will probably not happen. If one is scheduled and it makes you uncomfortable, discuss your concerns with your landlord. You can stay home if it makes you feel more at ease. A landlord or realtor is allowed to enter the common areas of the property at any time without giving you notice. 

If you are home for a showing, the prospective buyers may ask you some questions. It is okay to answer them honestly but it’s very important that you do not deliberately try to extinguish the sale. Providing misleading or inaccurate information to prospective buyers could land you with a one month notice to end your tenancy for cause.

Now what you really want to know…

When your home is sold, the buyer becomes your new landlord and the tenancy continues under the same terms. Again, you do NOT have to move. Even though you have probably already started looking to see what’s available to rent, the only way you have to move is if you are served a legal notice to end your tenancy. 

There are two ways your tenancy can be ended.

  1. If, in good faith, the buyer plans to live in the unit or have a close family member live there. Close family member means the new owner or their spouse’s father, mother or child. It does NOT include the brother or sister of the new owner or the brother or sister of the new owner’s spouse.
  2. Or the buyer plans to use the property for another purpose. This could include extensive renovations or another reason as outlined in the Four Month Notice To End Tenancy.

If either of these are the case, the buyer must submit a written request to the seller (your landlord) to end the tenancy before taking possession of the property. Then your landlord can give you a legal notice to end your tenancy. Alternately, once the buyer takes possession of the property and becomes your new landlord, they can serve you the same notice.

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If you are interested in making the shift from renting to buying a home, empower yourself with knowledge because knowledge is empowerment. These are the books I read (all Canadian authors or versions) that taught me great money management skills and encouraged my first home purchase.