Sell Rental Property with Tenants

How to Sell Rental Property with Tenants in Florida

Did you know that Florida is one of the top states for rental properties in the U.S., with cities like Miami and Orlando boasting some of the highest rental rates? However, selling a rental property in the Sunshine State, especially one with tenants, can be a complex legal maze. From understanding federal and state laws to navigating the intricacies of lease agreements and tenant rights, the process is fraught with challenges that require careful planning and execution.

How do you sell rental property to Florida tenants without violating laws or causing unnecessary disruptions?

This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the process, offering a roadmap for successfully selling your tenant-occupied property in Florida’s ever-changing real estate landscape in 2023. We’ll delve into the legalities, the market trends, and even the psychology of dealing with tenants during such a transitional period.

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The Florida Real Estate Market in 2023

The real estate market in Florida is experiencing significant shifts crucial for anyone looking to sell rental property to tenants. Understanding these market dynamics can provide valuable insights into how best to approach the sale of your property. In this first part of the guide, we delve into the current trends shaping the Florida real estate market in 2023 and how these trends are affecting tenants.

Florida skyline view

Current Trends

The Florida real estate market is currently experiencing a boom, especially in sought-after areas like Miami, Tampa, and Orlando. Property values are skyrocketing, making it a suitable time for owners to consider selling.

This boom is not just confined to property values; rents are also seeing a sharp increase. Investors are taking note of these trends and are increasingly interested in acquiring rental properties. This heightened interest from investors is turning the market in favor of sellers, offering them better bargaining power and potentially higher sale prices.

However, this seller’s market comes with its own set of challenges. The surge in property values and rents affects the tenant landscape, leading to increased rent and the stability of rental agreements. This makes it crucial for property owners to be aware of how these market trends affect their tenants and lease agreements.

How the Market Affects Tenants

The surge in property values is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it offers property owners an opportunity to sell at higher prices; on the other hand, it leads to increased rents, resulting in tenant turnover. Cities like Jacksonville and West Palm Beach are experiencing this phenomenon, where rising rents are causing some tenants to seek more affordable living situations. This turnover can significantly impact your lease agreements and relationship with your tenants.

For instance, if you have long-term tenants who decide to move due to increased rents, you may have a vacant property, which could delay the selling process. Therefore, understanding your tenants’ rights and how market conditions can influence their decisions is essential for a smooth sale. It’s not just about knowing the law; it’s about understanding the human element involved in these transactions.

The booming market offers lucrative opportunities for sellers. However, this boom also presents challenges, particularly when managing tenant relationships amid rising rents and property values. Being well-informed about these trends and their impact can equip you with the knowledge to navigate these challenges effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned property owner or new to the landlord game, staying updated on market trends is crucial for making informed decisions.

Selling a house sign in Florida

Can You Sell a Rental Property with Tenants in Florida?

The question of whether you can sell a rental property with tenants in Florida is one that many landlords grapple with. The answer is yes, you can, but there are several legal and ethical considerations to keep in mind. This part of the guide will explore the federal and state laws you must consider, the importance of effective tenant communication, and how existing lease agreements can impact the sale process.

Federal Laws to Consider

Federal laws provide a framework of protections for tenants that landlords must adhere to when selling a property. For example, rent control guidelines limit how much you can increase the rent within a given period. Additionally, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in the selling process.

  • Rent Control: Federal guidelines may limit how much you can increase the rent, especially in rent-controlled or rent-stabilized units.
  • Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings.
  • Tenant Privacy: Federal laws also dictate how much notice you must give tenants before entering their unit for showings.

Understanding these federal laws is a legal necessity and crucial for maintaining security and fairness during the transaction for both parties involved.

Florida State Laws to Consider

Florida has its own set of laws that provide additional protections for tenants. These laws cover a range of issues, from eviction procedures to how existing leases can be transferred during a sale.

  • Eviction Laws: Florida requires landlords to provide written notice and follow specific procedures for eviction.
  • Lease Transfers: The state allows transferring existing leases to new owners, often requiring tenant consent.
  • Local Ordinances: Cities like Miami may have additional regulations that protect tenants, such as stricter eviction procedures or rent control measures.

Being aware of these state-specific laws is essential, especially if your property is located in cities like Miami or Tampa, where local ordinances may offer additional tenant protections.

Florida law book

Tenant Communication

Communication with your tenants is not just a matter of courtesy; it’s often a legal requirement. Florida law, for instance, mandates that landlords provide specific notice periods before entering a tenant’s property for showings, which can vary depending on the lease agreement.

  • Notice for Showings: Florida law requires landlords to give at least 12 hours notice before a showing.
  • Sale Disclosure: Some leases require landlords to disclose the potential sale of the property to tenants.
  • Lease Termination: If the property sale requires tenant eviction, Florida law dictates the notice period and procedures for lease termination.

Effective communication ensures that you meet legal requirements and maintain a positive relationship with your tenants throughout the sale process.

Lease Agreements and Sale

Existing leases can have a significant impact on the sale process. You can sometimes transfer the lease to the new owner, but this often requires the tenant’s consent.

  • Lease Transfer: Transferring a lease to a new owner requires tenant approval.
  • Lease Termination: Some leases have clauses that allow for termination upon sale, but these must be clearly stated and agreed upon in advance.
  • Rent Proration: If the property is sold in the middle of a rental period, the rent may need to be prorated between the old and new landlords.

Understanding the terms of your existing leases and how they interact with Florida law can help you navigate the complexities of selling a rental property with tenants.

As we conclude this exploration of selling a rental property with tenants in Florida, it’s evident that while it is possible to do so, it requires a nuanced understanding of federal and state laws.

Effective communication with your tenants is not just courteous but often legally mandated, and the terms of your existing leases can significantly impact the sale. Whether you’re a seasoned landlord or new to the game, being well-versed in these legal and ethical considerations is crucial for a smooth and successful property sale.

Damaged living room

Selling Your Property with Terrible Tenants

Selling a residence in Florida comes with its own set of challenges. However, when faced with terrible tenants, the situation becomes even more complex. Whether you’re dealing with tenants who consistently pay rent late or have broken lease terms, navigating a successful sale is filled with legal and ethical complexities.

This section will briefly discuss the challenges you may encounter, legal aspects to consider, effective ways to communicate, and the advantages and disadvantages of including terrible tenants in the sale. Please refer to our other comprehensive guide for a more detailed guide on this topic.

Legal Aspects with Terrible Tenants

When selling a residence with terrible tenants, understanding federal and Florida state laws, especially those concerning eviction, is crucial. Eviction might be an option if your tenants have broken lease terms. Still, it’s a delicate procedure that must be handled carefully to avoid legal issues.

Seeking advice from a real estate attorney is often invaluable in these circumstances. They can help you navigate the legal maze, ensuring you adhere to all rules and that your actions stand up in court.

Communication Techniques

Open and effective communication is key, particularly when dealing with challenging tenants. While it might be tempting to limit interactions, keeping the lines of communication open can often lead to unexpectedly positive outcomes.

For instance, tenants may be more amenable to the sale process if they’re well-informed and understand how it affects them. Being transparent can ease tensions and simplify the sales process.

Encouraging Collaboration

Sometimes, offering a small incentive can secure the cooperation of difficult tenants. An incentive can benefit both parties, whether it’s a reduced rate on the final month’s rent or a monetary bonus for vacating the residence early.

It’s vital, however, to document any such agreements in detail. Written records can act as legal safeguards for you and the tenants, ensuring everyone fulfills their part of the deal.

Including or Not Including Tenants in the Sale

When you reach the point of sale, you face an important choice: include the terrible tenants or sell the residence empty? Full transparency to prospective buyers is mandatory if you opt to include the tenants.

Disclosing tenant issues is essential to avoid legal complications. Conversely, selling the residence empty usually involves eviction, which can be time-consuming and costly.

The Best Option: Selling to Cash Buyers

Given the complexities and potential legal entanglements of selling a property with bad tenants, selling to a cash buyer in Florida is often the most straightforward option. Cash buyers are usually willing to take the property as-is, problematic tenants and all, offering you a quick and less complicated exit strategy.

It requires a well-thought-out strategy that takes into account legal considerations, effective communication, and the logistics of the sale itself. However, you can successfully navigate this challenging scenario by being diligent and considering all your options, including the often advantageous route of selling to a cash buyer.

Read more: How long does a cash offer take to close in Florida?

Preparing Your Property for Sale

Preparation is key when selling a rental property to tenants in Florida. A well-maintained property attracts more buyers and fetches a higher price. Let’s delve into the intricacies of property maintenance and valuation, two critical aspects that can make or break your sale.

Property Maintenance

Maintaining your property in top-notch condition is more than just a selling strategy; it’s a legal obligation, especially when tenants are involved. For instance, you are legally required to ensure that the property meets certain habitability standards, such as functional plumbing, electrical systems, and adequate heating. You must meet these standards to deter potential buyers and avoid legal trouble.

Therefore, before listing your property, conducting a thorough inspection is crucial to identify any necessary repairs or upgrades. This could range from fixing a leaky faucet to addressing more significant issues like roof repairs or electrical faults. The goal is to present your property in the best possible light while adhering to legal requirements.

Read more: Selling a house with a 20-year-old roof in Florida

Property Valuation

Determining the right price for your property is a complex process that involves various factors, including its condition, location, and market trends in Florida. However, when tenants are involved, the valuation process becomes even more complicated. Long-term tenants, for example, can be an asset or a liability when it comes to property valuation.

A tenant with a history of timely rent payments and proper property care can add value. On the other hand, problematic tenants or those with a history of late payments can lower your property’s market value. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the impact on your tenants when getting your property appraised. Consider consulting with real estate experts who can provide a more nuanced valuation considering the tenant factor.

As we wrap up this discussion on preparing your property for sale, it’s clear that property maintenance and accurate valuation are pivotal. Ensuring that your property meets all legal requirements for habitability attracts more buyers and safeguards you from potential legal issues.

Similarly, understanding the impact of tenants on your property’s value can help you set a realistic and profitable asking price. Whether you’re a first-time seller or have been in the real estate game for years, these considerations are crucial for a successful and smooth sale.

Kitchen with fire damage

Disclosures and Legalities with Tenants

When it comes to selling a rental property with tenants in Florida, transparency and adherence to the law are not just good practices—they’re requirements. The process involves several legal steps, from requiring disclosures to potential buyers and respecting tenant rights during the sale. In this detailed guide, we’ll explore your various legal obligations as a landlord, including what needs to be disclosed, how to legally show your property, and the proper handling of security deposits.

Required Disclosures

The first step in the legal process of selling your rental property is making the required disclosures to potential buyers. This is not just about being transparent; it’s a legal necessity. For instance, if your property has plumbing issues or has suffered fire damage, these are material facts that could affect a buyer’s decision and must be disclosed. Failure to do so can break the deal and lead to legal consequences.

Legal Procedures

Before you can even consider showing your property to prospective buyers, you must know the legal procedures involved. According to Florida law, landlords are required to give tenants adequate notice before showing the property. This is not just a courtesy; it’s a legal requirement. Ignoring this mandate could result in legal complications, including potential lawsuits from tenants who feel their rights violated.

Tenant Rights During Sale

Tenants don’t lose their rights just because you’ve decided to sell the property. They still have a right to privacy, among other protections. For example, you can only enter their living space with proper notice, even if it’s to show the property to a potential buyer. Respecting these rights is not just ethical; it’s also legal. Violating them can lead to legal repercussions that delay or even derail your sale.

Handling Security Deposits

Last but certainly not least is the issue of handling security deposits. This is a sensitive area governed by specific Florida laws. These laws dictate how security deposits should be transferred or returned to the tenant during the property sale. Mishandling these funds can sour your relationship with your tenant and result in legal penalties.

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Selling your house as is

Marketing Your Property

Successfully marketing a rental property with tenants in Florida involves a multifaceted approach. From choosing the right platforms to list your property to deciding whether to work with cash buyers or real estate agents, each decision can significantly impact your sale’s speed and profitability. In this part of the guide, we will explore the various avenues available for effectively marketing your property, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Listing Platforms

In today’s digital age, the options for listing your property are more varied than ever. Traditional methods like listing on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are still effective. Still, they are now complemented by many real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. These platforms offer a wide reach and can be particularly effective in attracting out-of-state buyers. But remember to underestimate the power of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

These platforms allow for more targeted marketing, enabling you to reach potential buyers based on demographics like age, location, and even specific interests. The key is diversifying your listing platforms to maximize visibility and attract a broader range of potential buyers.

Working with Cash Buyers

Cash buyers present a unique opportunity for a quick and straightforward sale, especially for properties that require significant repairs or come with problematic tenants. The process is generally faster, involves less paperwork, and eliminates the need for mortgage approvals.

However, it’s essential to weigh these advantages against the potential downsides. Cash buyers are typically looking for a deal. They may offer a lower sale price than you might achieve through a traditional sale.

Suppose speed and ease are your primary concerns, especially if you’re dealing with issues like significant repairs or problematic tenants. In that case, cash buyers can be an excellent option.

Working with Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents bring a level of expertise to the table that can be invaluable, especially for first-time sellers or those unfamiliar with the complexities of selling a tenant-occupied property. Agents can help you set a competitive yet realistic asking price, stage your property for showings, and negotiate offers.

They can also guide you through the legal intricacies of selling a property with tenants, which can be particularly challenging in cities like Jacksonville and Tampa, where the real estate market has its own challenges and opportunities. However, this expertise comes at a cost, usually in the form of a commission, which is generally around 5-6% of the sale price.

As we conclude this discussion on marketing your property, it’s clear that a well-thought-out marketing strategy is essential for a successful sale. Whether you opt for the wide reach of multiple listing platforms, the speed and convenience of cash buyers, or the expertise of a real estate agent, each option has its own pros and cons that must be carefully considered. The goal is to choose the methods that align best with your specific needs and circumstances, ensuring a smooth and profitable sale.

Florida house for sale

The Selling Process

Embarking on the journey to sell a rental property with tenants in Florida is no small feat. It’s a multi-step process that demands attention to detail, legal compliance, and excellent communication skills. This segment will delve into two pivotal aspects of the selling process: coordinating property showings with existing tenants and negotiating offers. Both of these steps are critical to your sale’s success and come with unique challenges and legal requirements.

Property Showings

Showing your property to potential buyers while it’s occupied by tenants can be a logistical challenge. Florida law has specific guidelines to ensure that this process is as smooth as possible for all parties involved:

  • Adequate Notice: Florida law mandates that you give your tenants at least 12 hours notice before showing the property. This is not just a courtesy but a legal requirement.
  • Reasonable Timing: The law also requires that these showings occur at reasonable times. This generally means during daylight hours and at times that are not inconvenient for the tenant.
  • Tenant’s Comfort: While not a legal requirement, ensuring the tenant’s comfort during these showings can go a long way in maintaining a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

Adhering to these guidelines is not just about legal compliance; it’s also about maintaining a positive relationship with your tenants, which can make the entire selling process go more smoothly.

Negotiating Offers

When you reach the stage of negotiating offers, the presence of tenants can add an extra layer of complexity. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Sale Price: Depending on the buyer’s perspective, the sale price may need to be adjusted based on the presence of tenants, who could be seen as either an asset or a liability.
  • Lease Agreements: The sale contract should explicitly state how existing leases will be handled. Will they be transferred to the new owner, or will they be terminated?
  • Due Diligence: Buyers will likely want to conduct their due diligence, including inspections and possibly meeting with tenants. This should be coordinated carefully to respect the tenants’ privacy and legal rights.

Negotiating an offer requires a delicate balance of legal compliance, financial considerations, and interpersonal skills. It’s a complex process that demands attention to detail and a deep understanding of real estate law and human psychology.

As we wrap up this discussion on property showings and offer negotiations, it’s clear that both are intricate steps that require a nuanced approach. From adhering to legal guidelines for property showings to navigating the complexities of offer negotiations, each step is fraught with potential challenges that demand careful planning and execution. By being meticulous and attentive to legal requirements and the human elements involved, you can navigate these challenges successfully and secure a sale meeting your objectives.

Comparing Traditional Sales vs. Fast Sales to Cash Buyers

Traditional Sale

A traditional sale usually takes longer and involves more complexities, including property showings and negotiations. This route may suit properties with minimal repairs or problematic tenants.

Fast Sale to Cash Buyers

A fast sale to a cash buyer is often the best option for properties that require significant repairs or have problematic tenants. Cash buyers are often willing to take on these challenges, offering a quicker and less complicated sale process.


Given the complexities of selling a tenant-occupied property, a fast sale to a cash buyer is often the most straightforward option. They are willing to take the property as-is, making it easier for you to move on.

Sold red sign

Closing the Deal

The closing process is the final hurdle in selling your rental property to tenants in Florida. This phase involves several critical steps, each requiring meticulous attention to detail. From final inspections and appraisals to handling legal paperwork and post-closing responsibilities, each aspect plays a vital role in sealing the deal successfully. Let’s delve into these components to ensure you’re well-prepared for this crucial stage.

Final Inspections and Appraisals

Before you can hand over the keys to the new owner, your property will be subjected to final inspections and appraisals. These assessments are not just formalities but essential for determining the property’s actual value and condition. Here’s what you should focus on:

  1. Schedule Inspections in Advance: Coordinate with your tenants to ensure the property is available for inspections.
  2. Prepare the Property: Ensure the property is clean, and any minor repairs are completed before the inspection.
  3. Review Appraisal Guidelines: Familiarize yourself with what appraisers look for so you can be well-prepared.
  4. Documentation: Keep all relevant property documents ready for review.
  5. Be Present: Be there during the inspection to answer any questions the inspector or appraiser may have.

These steps are crucial for ensuring the final inspections and appraisals go smoothly, avoiding delays or complications in the closing process.

Legal Paperwork

The legal aspect of closing involves many documents that need to be in perfect order. This paperwork can include the deed, bill of sale, and, if applicable, the transfer of existing leases to the new owner. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Deed Preparation: Ensure the deed to the property is prepared and notarized.
  2. Bill of Sale: This document should detail what is being sold, including any furnishings or other non-real estate items.
  3. Lease Transfers: If the property has tenants, their leases may need to be transferred to the new owner.
  4. Closing Statement: This document summarizes the financial transactions enacted in the process.
  5. Title Insurance protects the buyer and lender from any future property ownership claims.

Ensuring these documents are in order will help you avoid any last-minute hiccups and make the transition to the new owner as seamless as possible.

Handling Closing Costs

Closing costs can be a significant expenditure and are often a point of negotiation between you and the buyer. These costs can include title searches, lawyer fees, and home inspections. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Itemized Costs: Have a detailed list of all expected closing costs.
  2. Who Pays What: Clearly define who is responsible for each cost.
  3. Negotiation: Be prepared for some back-and-forth about who will cover which costs.
  4. Final Amount: Ensure you know the final amount you are responsible for before the closing date.

Being transparent and clear about these costs can prevent any disputes or misunderstandings later on.

Post-Closing Responsibilities

Even after the sale is finalized, tasks still need your attention. These include transferring utilities to the new owner and ensuring all keys and property access methods are handed over. Here’s a checklist:

  1. Utility Transfer: Contact utility companies to transfer accounts to the new owner.
  2. Key Handover: Provide all sets of keys, including any copies.
  3. Property Access: If there are codes or passwords for property access, pass these along.
  4. Final Walkthrough: Conduct a final walkthrough with the new owner to ensure everything is in order.

Taking care of these responsibilities will ensure a smooth transition and help you avoid post-sale complications.

The closing process is a multifaceted endeavor that requires careful planning and execution. Each step is crucial for a successful sale, from preparing your property for final inspections to ensuring all legal paperwork is in order. Being transparent about closing costs and diligently handling post-closing responsibilities can make the transition smoother for you and the buyer. With these guidelines, you’re well-equipped to navigate the complexities of closing the deal on your rental property with tenants in Florida.


From understanding federal and state laws to effectively marketing your property and choosing the right selling strategy, each step is crucial for a successful sale. Suppose you’re grappling with challenges like a bad tenant’s legal intricacies or want a quick, hassle-free sale. In that case, Liberty House Buying Group is a reliable partner in your journey.

Looking ahead, the real estate landscape of 2023 offers both challenges and opportunities. Whether dealing with inherited property, facing foreclosure, or relocating for a job, a smooth and efficient selling process is more critical than ever. If you’re ready to take the next step in your real estate journey, don’t hesitate to contact us at Liberty House Buying Group. We specialize in buying houses quickly and as-is, offering you a straightforward way to move forward.

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About Eli Pasternak

Eli Pasternak is an experienced Home Cash Buyer and a licensed Real estate Agent. As the owner of Liberty House Buying Group, Eli’s goal is to provide home sellers with better options for their real estate problems than a traditional home sale. He’s been featured in multiple publications, including, Yahoo Finance, MSN, AOL, NBC, FOX, Apartment Therapy,, and more. With Eli’s professional guidance, rest assured that your real estate needs will be expertly addressed.

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