When the landlord decides to sell the rental | Just Ask Jan

Our landlord has decided to sell the home. I have been told that I have to let real estate people into my house with buyers in tow.

Dear Jan:

We are renting a home and our lease is up very soon.  Our landlord has decided to sell the home. I have been told that I have to let real estate people into my house with buyers in tow.

If I am making lease payments, how can this be? I thought this was my home to enjoy without interruption.  Can I stop real estate people from coming into my home?   —  DTR

Dear DTR: As the market gets better, there will be more and more property owners who will make the choice to sell their rental properties as the term of the lease ends. I know of two cases right now where this is true.

I know it would be nice for you for the landlord to wait to sell the property until you have moved at the end of your lease. However, in most cases, the landlord can’t afford to make the payments on an empty house where no rental income is helping to make the payments. Therefore, as the lease term gets close to ending, that is when the landlord will market the property.

I am sure that you are aware that there are very strict tenant laws in Washington state to protect you and the landlord. One of those laws is that you must allow access to the home to the real estate brokers and their buyers if the landlord/seller decides to sell the home. However, they must give you a 24-hour notice that the home will be shown.  The tenant does not need to be home at the time of the showing.

The listing broker will place a secure lockbox at the home for brokers to obtain the key for showings. These lockboxes even lock brokers out during the nighttime and early morning hours, so you will never have to worry about someone accessing your home during those hours.

In the NWMLS printouts, there is a section “For Agents Only.” In this section, we disclose to other brokers that the home has a tenant and that they must give a 24-hour notice to show the home. We have the tenant’s phone number in this section (no, the public never sees it) so that the broker can call and set up that appointment directly with the tenant.

Once the home is under contract with the buyer, the showings will stop, so it is best cooperate early on so that the showing process can end quickly. The market is heating up and houses that are priced right will sell quickly.

I know this is not the answer you wanted to hear, and for this I am sorry. If you need the name of a property manager to help you find a new rental home, call your local real estate broker; he or she probably has the name of a good property manager to refer you to.

Best wishes.

— Jan Zufelt is an agent with John L. Scott Real Estate in Kingston. Contact her at janzufelt@telebyte.com.