This post is not suggesting in any way that the rights of an existing tenant be infringed upon.
For sellers reading this post, and perhaps realising that there is a smaller pool of buyers for a property with an existing tenant – please refer to the BC Residential Tenancy Act and find an amicable and equitable path towards your goal of marketing a property that you can guarantee vacant possession on. This may mean paying a severance to a tenant, should they agree, it may mean not listing the property until the end of the current lease, or it may mean taking a lower price due to owner-occupied buyers being eliminated due to the mortgage financing guidelines around the purchase of a tenanted property.
PURCHASING A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY?
Two words that matter this Spring; Vacant Possession
Your contract had best contain a ‘Vacant Possession’ clause.
Mortgage lenders will not concern themselves with your best intentions; it is not about what will be – it is purely about what is.
And if the property is tenanted at the time of possession, then you are effectively applying for a rental mortgage. This means a minimum 20% down payment, higher interest rates, and far more stringent qualifying criteria.
‘But wait, we only have 5% down and we plan to give notice and move in 60 days after we take possession’
There is virtually no lender that will approve this under any circumstances, and this has to do with the recent changes made by our federal government. The lenders want to trust you, the lender wants to help you, the lender wants to approve you, but the new government guidelines eliminate lenders’ ability to be flexible. Lenders must answer to Big Brother, and Big Brother is very rigid.
Vacant Possession – demand it.
‘But wait, we’re buying the property as a rental anyways, so it’s a good thing that it already has a tenant… right?’
No, an existing tenant is rarely a good thing.
- How is their lease written?
- Does it protect you?
- Are rents reflective of current market rents?
- Is there a provision for annual rent increases?
- Your costs will be increasing every year, cover yourself.
- What is your duty for notice to evict the tenant?
- Why is the seller refusing to give simple notice?
Don’t risk inheriting the seller’s errors and/or headaches.
Whether your new purchase is meant to be owner occupied, or an investment property, demand vacant possession or walk away.
Good luck out there!