An owner has a right to sell their property at any time but it is always a good idea to ensure that the tenants and owners understand their responsibilities and rights. The three most common areas where we see difficulties often lie in the rules around marketing, showings and then about lease termination.
Unless the tenant gives express permission in writing, a salesperson cannot take interior photos of the home as it would violate the tenants privacy.
A tenant cannot prevent showings but they must be given at least 24 hours of advance written notice, and a showing can only take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. A tenant may choose whether they would like to be present during the showing. If a tenant would prefer to have showings only occur when they are home, there should be an attempt to accommodate them but it is not required. A tenant can also not obstruct a showing. I once had a situation where a tenant had a vicious dog and told people to enter at their own risk. This was deemed to be an obstruction to showings and is not permitted.
Occupancy, Termination and leases
If a tenant has a valid lease in effect that extends beyond the completion date of an accepted offer, the tenant must be assumed by the new Buyer. The lease takes precedence over any sale.
If however the tenant is on a month to month agreement, the tenant can be given notice to vacate if the Buyer requires the property for themselves or their immediate family. In this case, they must be given 60 days notice or more from the first day of a rental period following the acceptance of an unconditional offer. Buyers must understand that it is illegal for a Buyer to evict a tenant under the false pretenses saying that they need the home either for themselves or for their families when that is not actually the case. The Buyer could be sued by the former tenant for moving costs and the higher rent paid at their new home and, the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board has the power to impose fines up to $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for corporations who violate this rule.
All of these situations can be fairly and successfully handled when the parties follow the rules and show respect for one another.