Tenancy rights, owner selling house

We are currently renting a property, that we’ve been in for the past 12 months. When we moved in we were assured verbally that the lease would be renewed providing we were good tenants. So we were very surprised, after paying the rent on time and keeping the property in excellent condition when our real estate agent called last week to say the lease would not be renewed when it expires on January 19 and that the owner wants to sell the house. We were even more surprised when the bloke who was handling the sale phoned up later in the day and started dictating to us on when the photographer would arrive and then started texting us times of when he would be bringing clients to walk through the house.

My wife has anaphylactic allergies and it’s vital that people who have been in contact with Horses or who are wearing strong perfumes, colognes or deodorants do NOT enter the house under any circumstances. The selling agent wanted to hold open houses, which would mean people could just walk in off the street. Luckily the laws in Tasmania mean we can refuse to agree to open houses, so we did. The laws also state that providing we’ve been given 48 hours notice he’s allowed to bring one client per day with no more than 5 client viewings in a seven day period. So this is the only way he can get clients to see the inside of the house which gives us the chance to at least ask if the person is a possible risk to my wife’s health or not. We’ve asked him to check with each client first, but we don’t trust him to care. He’s already shirty with us for saying no to open houses, even though he knows the reasoning for it. He won’t even call with us first to see what times are suitable for us. He simply waves the tenancy act in our face and says he can have them come at whatever tīme he likes as long as they’re out by 6pm.

We have a house full of teenage boys on the Autism Spectrum, and they rely on routines to cope. Having strangers walking through their rooms when it’s almost time for them to sit at the table for dinner is going to be completely chaotic for them. Again, the selling agent doesn’t care. The law says he can so he will.

We now have less than six weeks to find a house that is big enough for us all, over the Christmas period that we can then move all our belongings into and settle down at. The owner stands to walk away with a $600,000 boost to her bank balance. We’ll be walking away with the real possibility of being homeless after Christmas, or if we can secure a house to move into, we then have to find the money to pay removalists, carpet cleaners, bond money because we won’t get the bond money back on this place until after we’ve moved out. Plus the expenses of transferring electricity, phone and Internet accounts.

We can’t even put the Christmas tree up because we just don’t know if and when we’ll be able to move. Welcome to our new nightmare!

Hi @NubglummerySnr.

Whilst I fully understand your predicament, this unfortunately is one of the downsides of renting over buying. A owner of a house has no obligation to seek approval from a tenant when he/she decides to sell a house. On a positive side, at least the landlord has decided to sell the house towards the end of your term lease rather than say a month after you moved in.

It appears that you are familiar with some of the tenant’s rights in relation to the selling of a rental property. For others, the relevant State tenancy authority can be found in this google search result list.

The Tenanats Union of Tasmanian website has useful factsheets which outlines rights for Tasmanian renters.

Just in relation to the house being sold, has the landlord/agent described the property as an investment property (trying to sell to an investor)? If an investor buys the property, it is possible that a new owner may wish for good tenants after its purchase and be willing to have a new agreement with you.


There’s a brief mention in a final line that says how much rent it could be worth. That’s it. Fact is, we’ve been given our marching orders and have to put up with daily viewings while we also look for a new house to live in.

Hi @nubglummerySnr, I must agree with @phb. Your best course of action would be to contact the Tenants Union and ensure all is being done legally. If not, hopefully they can provide appropriate advice.

The tenancy union was the first place we contacted, Legally they can have one client viewing per day with a maximum of five viewings in a seven day period. All they need to do is give us 48 hours notice and if we don’t let them in they can use a key to let themselves in. The only thing we can say no to is open houses or more than one client a day or more than 5 in a week.

I went through a similar situation @NubglummerySnr when our apartment was sold - a real pain. Best of luck getting it sorted.

Had the first potential buyer walk through the house yesterday. Another one will be here today, and one for every day this week until Friday. The bloke in charge of selling tells us that our current landlord has come under financial hardship, so she’s selling the house and forcing us to keep paying rent until the end of the lease, even if we find a new house to move into in the meantime. As mentioned earlier, she’ll walk away with a $600,000 boost to her bank account and we’ll walk away with moving costs and the stress of trying to find a new house to live in before the lease expires. Merry Christmas. :confused:

Don’t know how they expect us to find a new house in such a short amount of time. Only one that we’ve found has been big enough for our family so far and the real estate agent is trying to contact the owners to see if they’ve made a decision on who gets to sign the lease on the thing. The owners aren’t responding. Nothing else suitable will be available in time before we have to leave here. :open_mouth:

I know it must leave a bad taste in your mouth but you should be careful not to burn the real estate agent as a bad reference may make it harder for you to rent further properties.

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Sorry to hear about the situation @NubglummerySnr - sounds like a real pain and also doesn’t seem right that you should have to pay your usual rent for exclusive use of the property while the owner has people traipsing though the place. I attended a Roy Morgan research event earlier this year, where they presented the data suggesting that Australians are under extreme mortgage stress due to being over committed. I wonder if this means we will see more people deciding to sell due to financial hardship when they are unable to service their loans. If so, this will no doubt impact renters experiences as well :frowning:

My best to you and your family in finding a new place, or negotiating a new deal with the new buyer.

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Thanks all. Our rental agent gave us a glowing reference. She knows how heartless the selling agent can be. We just got approved for a new house through a different agent and with the extra month of being forced to pay two rents we’ve now got plenty of time to organise transfers for NBN, electricity, and furniture. Costly rent wise for four more weeks, but at least we can see a light at the end of the tunnel now.


The tenancy legislation protects tenants in various ways in these situations, went through it myself recently in similar circumstances ie i was told it was a long term rental, timing was the worst as well post surgery.

Tenants are under no legal obligation to allow photos of their personal items for publication (but be prepared to move stuff), nor to have open houses, or signs out the front either. But seriously if the agent / owner are reasonable id suggest picking your battles, esp if you want a reference from them for the next place.

Usually Agents./owners will offer a weeks rent in compensation for the inconvenience of open houses (I’d rather that than twice a week), and the times DO have to be agreed on where possible. They arent obligated to offer it, but its an incentive for tenants to have the place tidy when they occur.

Its a stressful situation, having strangers roaming thru your house. I just made sure I moved my furniture so it wouldnt be used, i removed any valuables prior and i was there keeping an eye on things also. No way I was going out.

Good luck, sometimes u just have to make lemonade :wink:

I had more issues with the new owner as my lease was still a month or so from expiry. Overseas investor, no idea about the law or care factor. Calls, sms, banging on door at ungodly hours of the night or first thing on a sunday (i ignored them and referred her to the Agent and the legislation). You can stay, no you cant, yes you can … changed each week, until she said she was putting my rent up $50 a week, making the garden shared with the granny flat tennants, and would be using the garage currently on my lease. I wont repeat my response :wink: Im sure you can imagine lol

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Well, we’ve moved into the new house now and the old real estate has called us to let us know that the old house didn’t sell and that the landlady has panicked due to the fact that we no longer pay her any rent and her mortgage is about to go belly up because of it, so she’s put the house back up for rent with a 12 month lease option for the next tenant, even though it will remain for sale as well. Not our problem anymore.


@NubglummerySnr Glad it all worked out for you .


Well that is thought provoking is it not?

I am so pleased that you have successfully moved into your new house!

I pity the next tenant in your previous house! but am glad that you managed to survive the nonsense.

Best of luck in your new home, and I hope you are much happier there.
Cheers Natalie :slight_smile: