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Esquire Real Estate Blog

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Legally Sell Tenant Occupied Property

Bryan Zuetel

A landlord may enter a leased dwelling unit to “exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers.” The entry must be made during “normal business hours unless the tenant consents to an entry during other than normal business hours.” If the landlord has notified the tenant in writing within 120 days that the property is for sale, the landlord may contact the tenant orally to notify the tenant of the entry, and 24 hours is presumed reasonable notice. Civ. Code § 1954.

Although the statute provides landlords a method to exhibit the property for sale, questions remain, including what are “normal business hours” and can a landlord or agent hold an open house on weekends? The California Court of Appeal in Dromy v. Lukovsky, 219 Cal.App.4th 278 (2013) recently provided some answers and affirmed a trial court’s order that under the circumstances, the agent for a landlord can hold two open houses per month on weekend days between 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The Court of Appeal reasoned that because the custom and practice of the real estate community is to hold open houses on weekends, weekends are included in the definition of “normal business hours.” However, the Court required that the parties must strike a fair and reasonable balance and indicated that the landlord does not have an unrestricted right to hold open houses.

You can view the opinion of the Court here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/B242952.PDF

You can be confident in the legal and real estate knowledge of Esquire Real Estate to legally and successfully sell your tenant-occupied property.