Can you Evict a Tenant to Help Sell Your Rental Property?

by jay.raman@ashokalion.com 6, August 2012 00:34

As a real estate investment property management firm, we often come across landlords in Dallas and Houston area who are curious to know if a landlord has the right to evict a tenant or remove a tenant who is under a lease agreement before selling his rental unit. A landlord no doubt has the right to sell his rental unit but he should abide by some regulations set by the law and legal precedent in order to avoid unnecessary issues.

According to the housing laws in the state of Texas, a landlord cannot evict a tenant to simply assist with selling his rental unit. Tenants with active rental agreements can be evicted only for a genuine cause. The factors mentioned below will explain why a landlord cannot evict a tenant while selling his house and how you can convince your tenants to evict your property without causing any disputes.

  1. You cannot evict your tenants till the end of the tenancy agreement. A rental agreement is signed by you and your tenant for a specific period; thus as a landlord or a person inheriting a tenant at a investment property you do not have the right to evict your tenant before the end of the term mentioned in the lease just because you want to sell your rental property.  Even if you end up selling your rental property, the buyer must allow the tenant to stay in the property till the end of the lease.
  2. Renters who are staying in the rental unit on month to month  contract can be asked to leave if given appropriate notice (usually 30 days) and if they do not agree to leave in a timely manner, then they can be evicted for failure to leave.
  3. As a landlord, if it becomes essential for you remove your tenant to assist the sale effort; then the best option would be to discuss, negotiate, and sign a release from the lease agreement with your tenant requesting him to leave the house within a specific period of time for some compensation or agreed upon term. You may wish to consult appropriate legal counsel to draft a release or agreement in such a manner to avoid confusion or disputes from a poorly worded agreement.
  4. As a landlord, you have the right to sell your rental unit, but  your tenants should be informed well in advance to avoid disputes and insure that showings of the property can occur with minimal push back. Selling a property with tenants becomes a hassle-free endeavor only if the landlord does not violate the rules and regulations set by the housing laws and reduce the impact on the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of the property.