Feeling frustrated and stressed is normal when you find out your landlord’s selling up. But don’t panic. Here’s what you need to know about your rights and obligations as a tenant.

You might be overwhelmed right now, wondering things like:

Am I about to be homeless?

Do I have to leave my apartment during an open house?

What are my rights as a tenant when my rental is for sale?

The good news is that when a house is up for sale, you have rights to protect you as a tenant.

First, being told the owner is selling up doesn’t necessarily mean you have to find a new place to live. Many owners purchase properties as an investment. Like most investors, if there’s an opportunity to sell, they’ll want to take it.

Some landlords like to keep their tenants in place and paying rent as long as possible. Others prefer to sell an empty property. The critical thing to remember here is that your rights will vary depending on the state/territory where you live, so if in doubt, seek advice.

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What rights do I have?

It’s relatively common for a rental to be sold during a fixed-term agreement. But here are a few things worth remembering:

> Your landlord is legally allowed to sell the property at any time, but they are restricted by regulations.

Your landlord is well within their right to put their property on the market anytime. They own the property, and many owners are investors waiting for the right time to sell. As the owner, they have the right to put their home on the market whenever they choose.

> Your lease is still valid when the property goes on the market.

Your lease is also valid after the sale, so you don’t need to pack up and vacate immediately. When new owners take on the property, they also take on the existing lease agreement with it.

By the same token, if the new owner wants you to move out, they have to abide by the terms of your existing lease. This means they have to issue you the standard vacate notice, which will give you a bit of time before you need to look elsewhere.

However, you can terminate your lease if you mutually consent. For example, if you’re on a fixed-term agreement but want to move out because the property’s being sold, you can choose to end your tenancy agreement early by mutual consent with your landlord.

> Your landlord must give you notice before they run an open house.

The notice period varies by state/territory, so check the relevant information for your location below. You will also be expected to make all reasonable efforts to agree on a suitable date and time for the showing, and you’ll be asked to keep the place reasonably clean. You also have a right to be there when the property is open for inspection.

State/TerritoryLaw breakdownHow it works
NEW SOUTH WALESViewing notice14 days' written notice before the first inspection. After the first inspection, you can agree on a suitable timeframe, but no more than 2x a week with 48 hours' notice each time.
Termination noticeYou can't be evicted by your new (or old) landlord if a fixed agreement is in place unless you violate your lease terms or reach an agreement by mutual consent.
Periodic agreementsYour landlord can evict you, providing they give you 90 days' notice or 14 days' notice if you breach your agreement.
OtherYour landlord must give you 30 days' notice if they wish to terminate your lease at the end of your tenancy agreement.
VICTORIAViewing noticeYou must be given at least 48 hours' notice if they wish t show prospective buyers the property, including having an open for inspection.
Termination noticeYou can't be evicted by your new (or old) landlord if a fixed agreement is in place unless you violate your lease terms or reach agreement by mutual consent.
Periodic agreementsYou can be evicted on 60 days' written notice.
QUEENSLANDViewing noticeYour property manager/owner must give you an Entry Notice (Form 9) giving at least 24 hours notice of the open house. A reasonable time must have passed before they can hold another open house.
Termination noticeYou can't be evicted by your new (or old) landlord if a fixed agreement is in place unless you violate your lease terms or reach an agreement by mutual consent.
Periodic agreementsYour landlord can evict you on four weeks' notice once a contract of sale has been signed.
WESTERN AUSTRALIAViewing noticeYour landlord can only conduct inspections between 8:00AM and 6:00PM on weekdays, or between 9:00AM and 5:00 PM on a Saturday, unless you give them permission to conduct one outside of these hours. Ahead of each inspection, your landlord must provide "reasonable written notice," according to the RTA.
Termination noticeYou can't be evicted by your new (or old) landlord if a fixed agreement is in place unless you violate your lease terms or reach an agreement by mutual consent.
Periodic agreementsIf the contract specifically mentions handing over vacant premises, your selling landlord can evict you on 30 days' written notice.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAViewing notice14 days' notice before the property is advertised for sale, and "reasonable notice" before each inspection. The landlord must also specify a time between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM on any day other than a Sunday or public holiday, and cannot conduct more than two viewings every seven days, unless you give them permission to do so.
Termination noticeYou can't be evicted by your new (or old) landlord if a fixed agreement is in place unless you violate your lease terms or reach agreement by mutual consent.
Periodic agreementsYour landlord can evict you on 60 days' written notice if a contract of sale has been signed; on 90 days' notice if a contract hasn't been signed.
TASMANIAViewing noticeIf you give them written permission, your landlord can show prospective buyers through your rental at any time. If not, they can only conduct inspections between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM, no more than once a day, and no more than five times a week. They must also provide 48 hours' written notice ahead of each inspection.
Termination noticeYou can't be evicted by your new (or old) landlord if a fixed agreement is in place unless you violate your lease terms or reach agreement by mutual consent.
Periodic agreementsYou can be evicted on 42 days' written notice.
NORTHERN TERRITORYViewing notice24 hours' notice before an inspection. According to the RTA, your landlord is only allowed to enter your property between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM, and they must be reasonable about "the number of showings sought."
Termination noticeYou can't be evicted by your new (or old) landlord if a fixed agreement is in place unless you violate your lease terms or reach agreement by mutual consent.
Periodic agreementsYour landlord can evict you on 42 days' notice.
OtherYour landlord must give you 14 days' notice if they wish to terminate your lease on the end date noted in your tenancy agreement.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORYViewing noticeMinimum 24 hours' notice before a prospective buyer can be shown around. You must grant reasonable access to the premise, but can refuse if you weren't informed of the landlord's intention to sell.
Termination noticeYou can't be evicted by your new (or old) landlord if a fixed agreement is in place unless you violate your lease terms or reach agreement by mutual consent.
Periodic agreementsThe RTA states that a landlord can evict you on eight weeks' notice if they "genuinely intend to sell the premises."

This is all too inconvenient. Can I just move out?

If you’re on a periodic agreement (i.e. your lease has expired, but you’re still living there month-to-month), you can leave for no reason. Flick an email to your property manager and tell them you want to vacate. Check with your state/territory consumer affairs or fair trading for information on the required notice period.

If you’re in a fixed-term agreement (i.e. your lease has not expired and has an end date), you should be able to terminate early and move out. You could do this if your landlord didn’t tell you they intended to sell before you signed your lease and if you’ve received a notice of intention to sell. From here, you can issue your landlord a termination notice.

What happens to my tenancy once the property is sold?

If your landlord does not terminate your agreement, the buyer becomes your new landlord from the settlement date.

Your lease agreement will carry on just the same as before, and the terms of your lease will remain the same. If you’re on a fixed-term lease, the buyer must honour the fixed-term.

Your former landlord/property manager should contact you and explain where you must now start paying rent (it could be a new bank account or reference number) and from what date.

If you still have unanswered questions or special circumstances, contact your local tenant’s union or Fair Trading to get advice on what to do.

For a list of rental resources and tenancy support groups in each state, click here to read our helpful blog post.

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