Congratulations! The settlement of your property is a big achievement, and it’s time to move on! How soon you need to vacate the property depends on the terms of your contract or, as it’s generally known, the Offer & Acceptance (O&A) and General Conditions. Read more...
Under the General Conditions
- once settlement takes place, the new owner is entitled to vacant possession of the property, effective immediately. This means all access devices such as keys and security codes are handed over to the buyer immediately after settlement. Generally the seller’s real estate agent will take charge of the hand-over of keys etc. As seller, you must remove all vehicles, furniture and chattels not sold with the house.
- however, if you are living at the property at the time of settlement, you have until 12 noon the day following settlement to move out. Bear in mind that you are liable for any damage caused in that time.
The specific terms of the Contract may always override the General Conditions. For example:
- Rent-back clauses: An agreement for the seller to rent the property from the new buyer for an agreed period and rental.
- Possession prior to settlement agreement: Generally a separate agreement allowing the buyer to take possession before settlement.
- Fixed-term tenancy agreements: Where the property is sold “subject to the lease/tenancy” the buyer takes the property with the tenancy intact. The tenant is entitled to stay until the lease expires and the buyer automatically assumes the responsibilities as the new landlord.
Giving notice to periodic tenants
If the property is rented under a periodic tenancy agreement and the contract provides for vacant possession at settlement, the seller must give the tenant a minimum of 30 days notice to move out on a Notice of Termination (Form 1C) in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.
Trouble with possession
If the seller fails to deliver vacant possession by the agreed possession date, the buyer should seek legal advice. This is where having Flat Rate Settlements handling your settlement is reassuring. As qualified legal representatives, the Flat Rate Settlements team is highly experienced in transferring property and well-equipped to deal with any problems, should they arise.