OK show rented house?

I have a rental I want to sell with a tenant in it. I want to sell the house during the last two months of the lease so ideally the buyer can close when the tenant moves out. To what extent is it OK to put on the MLS listing that the realtor needs to call the tenant in order to show the house? Or do I have to wait until the house is vacant to show it? I also want to list it as a rental at a high rent in case it does not sell, and show it myself as a rental with the tenant still in it so I don’t have to have any vacant months, if possible. Is that OK? This is my first rental. thanks.

In my experience, much has to do with the tenant, his attititude, his housekeeping, etc. I have shown units with tennts living in them thru the years. The issues are:

  • Some tenants insist on them being there, or paranoid, and I avoid showing these units while they’re not home to avoid accusations of theft or damage to their property. Usually, these are the ones that are home at the most inconvenient times. One tenant restricted showings to 6:00PM to 8:00PM Thurdays nights, and while I had many people interested in seeing it, it was convenient for only two people that didn’t show up for the appointments.

  • On the other extreme, had another tenant who allowed me to come by while he’s not in, watch his cable TV, even the pay channels, and made sure he had my favorite beer in the fridge. I repaid him by stocking his fridge with his favorite beer.

  • Had another tenant whose place was such a mess that realtors gave up after FOUR MONTHS of trying, and told me to call after he moved. After he moved, had the place painted and cleaned, place one ad in the local paper on Father’s day, had a dozen applicants, and rented it out in ONE day.

  • A landlord next door tried to sell his rental a number of years back with tenants in them, and had no luck. Later he found out from the realtor that his tenant told every buyer the place is a “money pit”. When he told me this, about five years ago, he tried selling the place in the late 1970’s for 70K, after buying it for 35K in 1965. Five years ago, the rental is worth 500K, and quite a bit more now. I told him he should start sending his tenant, still there, a Xmas present every year.

You’ll have to make your own call on whether it’s a good idea.

I would ask you the obvious question…“What does your leasing document say?”…

If it doesn’t say anythig about showing the house to possible tenants, tradesmen, Realtors, appraisers, etc…oops!


Legally all the leases that I have seen have a clause in them that indicates the tenant agrees to allow for sale and for rent signs to be placed on the property and to show the property to prospective tenants and purchasers.

Practically what Frank Chin said is true. You may be better off not showing with the wrong tenant in the place.