My landlord is selling our flat. Do I have to move out?

Property Clinic: The notice period is related to how long you have been in your apartment

The termination of tenancy notice must be in a specific format. Photograph: iStock

The termination of tenancy notice must be in a specific format. Photograph: iStock

 

I came to Ireland with my wife 15 years ago and after some time we settled in Cork. We rented a flat in an old house, close to the city centre. Some years later we had our son. The landlord is now selling the property. The agent and the owner have said I have to move out soon.

This is the same for the other tenants living in the other flats in the house. Is this correct? My son goes to a national school close by and we love the area. Can we not just stay and be a tenant for the new owners?

Marcus O’Connor writes: First and foremost, if the owner of a property wants to sell their house, then this is one of the reasons allowed under current legislation that lets them do so. However, if your landlord wants to place the property on the open market for sale then he or she must serve you with the appropriate termination of tenancy notice document along with giving you the correct number of days’ notice.

The amount of time that the landlord must give you is related to how long you have been in continuous occupation of your flat. If you are saying you have been living in the same flat for 15 years, then the period of time you have to secure alternative accommodation is 224 days. This would not be the case for the rest of the tenants in the house as the number of days that the landlord must give is related to the amount of time these other tenants have lived in their accommodation. For example, if someone is only there for a year or more but less than two then they are allowed 90 days’ notice.

In regard to the termination of tenancy notice this is in a specific format and if the landlord and/or the landlord’s agent does not follow them, then it is invalid. If you are unsure if the landlord has followed these specific procedures correctly there is great support out there for tenants through the Residential Tenancies Board and from agencies such as Focus Ireland and Threshold.

The majority of landlords I have dealt with over many years of doing property management follow the correct procedures. However, there will always be a small percentage of landlords that simply do not keep themselves updated on current legislation. They sometimes think they can work around the laws by just giving notice to their tenants in person – ie not serving them a proper notice and hoping those individuals are not aware of their rights.

Finally, if your landlord has served you with the correct termination of tenancy – inserting the appropriate number of days – then you should move out by or before the last day of your tenancy. While the rental market is very challenging at the moment hopefully you and your family will be able to secure alternative accommodation in the same area before that date.

Marcus O’Connor is a chartered surveyor and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie

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