Landlord’s Right to Show Tenant Occupied Property

Landlords in New Jersey often ask their rights to show tenant occupied property that is for sale. Allowing prospective buyers access can increase sale proceeds. A bidding war is more likely if multiple prospective buyers are able to view in the interior.

A landlord’s right to enter tenant-occupied property is limited. The starting point is the lease. New Jersey’s standard realtor lease contains a provision permitting access to the unit during the sale with reasonable notice:

The Landlord shall have access to the Property on reasonable notice to the Tenant in order to(a) inspect the interior and exterior of the Property, (b) make necessary repairs, alterations, or improvements, (c) supply services, and (d) show it to prospective buyers, appraisers, contractors or insurers.

If you’re lease does not contain a provision requiring that allows prospective buyers to access the property during a sale, a tenant has no legal obligation to comply with the showings or an “open house”. Working with the tenant to make showing, inspections, and appraisals easy and beneficial to each person involved is the best plan for a successful sale.

This is Earl White. This is a short video about a client question that I received earlier in the week. The client was selling and listed on the market a multifamily property, and she wanted to know what were her rights to require the tenant to comply with showings throughout the sale process. This question is going to largely turn on what is in the lease. If the landlord used the standard realtor lease, it contains a provision that requires the tenant to comply with showings, inspections and appraisals during the sale process with reasonable notice.

Now, if the landlord did not use that lease, it’s still going to depend on whatever lease they drafted up. If it has a provision to allow for showings during the sale process, they’ll be in good shape to ask the tenant to comply with that provision. Unfortunately, if the landlord did not have a provision like that in the lease, the landlord does not have any right to require the tenant to comply with showings. Landlords do have the right to enter the property for purposes of reasonable inspections, as well as emergency situations. But in terms of showings, if they did not have that provision in the lease, they are not going to be able to require the tenant to comply with showings.