If I Sell My House, Will the Tenant Have to Move?
I was recently asked this question and it is a very good question. As a property manager, I am often sold by prospective tenants, that the reason that they are moving is because the owner is selling the home. Of course, if they complete an application with me, I'll do my due diligence and make sure everything jibes.
But from a seller and buyer perspective, they both need to know that if a tenant occupied house is sold, then the new owner, by law, has to honor the existing terms of the lease. In other words, if the tenant's lease does not expire for another 6 months, and the purchaser is an owner occupant purchaser, then by law (at least Alabama law), the new owner must honor the terms of the existing lease. In which case, the new owner could not move in to the home until the tenant moved out at the end of the lease term.
The alternative would be if the tenant and the owner (current or future) have come to an agreement with regard to the tenant vacating the property sooner than the end of the lease.
Buyers and sellers should tread very lightly when it comes to making arrangements with the tenant to have them move out early. Consultation with an attorney would be advisable, so do your due diligence. If you are currently a buyer or seller in this situation and your real estate agent has not brought up the subject or informed you of existing landlord/tenant laws of your state, then you should bring it up yourself.
Chances are that everything will work out find, but it's best to be prepared and informed.