Without doubts, this is a very frequent question, that comes to us daily, when we talk with property owners. And the answer is: yes, of course you can. Now, the important thing is to contemplate this issue in the rental contract -as well as some other things that we will see later on-, with the purpose of not having problems by the time of terminating the agreement.
In fact, the rental is not exempt of risks (defaults, vandalizing, repairs, legal uncertainty, trespassing, etc); and all of this makes that many owners are reluctant to rent their house if they are not using it, and so they decide to sell. And in that sense, the goal of this article is not other but giving a piece of advice to take into consideration when we find ourselves in this situation.
Firstly, we must analyse the applicable law for these cases -which is LAU (Law of Urban Rentals)– which is in charge of regulating the rights and obligations both for tenants and the landlords. And in the following, we are going to see the main points that contemplates since its last reform in June 2013 that affects this topic.
1.- TIME TO EMPTY THE HOUSE, ONCE THE SALE IS CLOSED
LAU is referred to the Civil Code in these cases -and more concretely to its article 1751- in which it says that “the buyer of a renting property has the right to cancel the rental contract once the sale is verified, unless otherwise agreed”. In these situations, the LAU grants two rights to the tenants:
1.1- They can require extending the stay for 3 more months in the house, since the date they have been noticed about the sale, following with the same obligations and rights during that period.
1.2.- Demand for an indemnity or any other type of compensation to the landlord, for the liquidated damages.
Therefore, the acquiring is going to subrogate with the purchase in the rights and obligations that the previous owner already had. Although, the LAU in its last reform of 2013, regulates the facts that the rental contract must be registered in the Land Register.
As a matter of fact, the most recommendable way is detailing in the contract this intention of selling, and if it is possible -provide that we have a commercialization plan that gives us guaranty-, setting a finalization date, extendable, but based on this period of 3 months.
2.-PREFERENTIAL ACQUISITION RIGHT
Another right that the LAU grants in its article 25, is the right of preferential acquisition. Which is divided in other two rights, where is the “right of first refusal” -through which, before selling the property, it must be offered to the tenant in the first step-; and the “right of withdrawal” -which gives the tenant the possibility to replace a new acquiring, once the conveyance is done, if there is a set of circumstances.
At this point, our recommendation is agreeing to the express rejection right in the contract, although this grants the tenant the right of being informed of the intention of selling, with at least 30 days before the date of the sale.
Well, as a summary, we see that certainly there are 2 elements that we can not overlook in our rental contract, if our intention is selling. On the one hand, we have the extendable time of the 3 months that we must give to the tenant, so he can move out from the house. And on the other hand, that rejection to the preferential acquisition. Also, it is highly recommendable to register the contract in the Land Register, for avoiding any dysfunctions in the interpretation of the same.
Finally, as we said at the beginning of this article, there are various factors to consider, some strategical and others more legal; but with the consideration of both, it will depend on that by the time of selling, when we face the process calmly.