Tenant won't let you in? No problem!

Real Estate Agent with Compass

A house that can be bought but not seenThe case of the Sears kit houses in College Park that couldn't actually be shown (while being offered for sale) does not have to be a lost one after all.The sellers--or their agent--of a listing in DC's Shepherd Park neighborhood show us how to handle the situation:


The house is offered for a stately $975,000. And, at least in the pictures, it looks like a place with lots of potential. So, who cares what that needed "TLC" will cost you. Just write down a number for your offer, and you'll find out later!

Who says there couldn't be an easy solution?

(Picture courtesy of Champion Realty and MRIS.)

Posted by

© 2012, Catarina Bannier 





Comments (46)

Kamal Salim
Lokation Real Estate - Weston, FL
A Superior Level of Service !

I agree with Catarina to some degree. In my leases, I always include that tenant must show the property 60 days to lease expiration, so if they do not, I can force the showing just like Catarina says. If they have a lease however, and it is still current, with more than 60 days to go, than no, we do not have the right to bother the tenants.

Apr 15, 2012 01:53 AM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

We always do our best to work with tenants preference. Sometimes it is very difficult and we encourage the owners to speak with the tenants directly on this.

Apr 15, 2012 02:03 AM
Juli Vosmik
Dominion Fine Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739

This isn't unusual in our area, unfortunately.  I know of quite a few cases where the tenants had to be taken to court to be forced to allow access, even though the lease states only 48 hours notice is required.  Of course, the courts always side with the landlord and the verbage in the lease, but it does cost the landlord a fee just to file to ask for the help.  One of the risks of being a landlord.

In your case, with an REO, usually the tenants are much more cooperative and were pre-screened and coached by the bank ahead of allowing them to move in.  I wonder if this is a case of a tenant who was there prior to the foreclosure with the bank having to honor the lease in place?

Apr 15, 2012 02:13 AM
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Catarina, I hate situations like this where you can't preview/show a property to an offer has been made. I've seen them done more often in houses that are to be down down and have little to no value and the real value is in the land, that's pretty understandable. Thanks for sharing this article. 

Apr 15, 2012 02:13 AM
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

@Rosalind #20 ... paying tenants off to show the property??  Sheesh ... now I've heard everything!

Apr 15, 2012 02:37 AM
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

Lord! We do both rentals and sales, and we have never had a problem with a tenant not allowing showing ON THE FEW OCCASSIONS when we do both together. We tell Owners that they are far better off to PICK ONE- SELL OR RENT rather than try to do both.

There are rental laws everywhere and I woudl imagine that the tenants can't really block all showings IF the agent knew what they were doing.

Apr 15, 2012 02:43 AM
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

We encounter the tenant not giving access in a lot of situations, so I definitely understand not getting into the property. 

Apr 15, 2012 02:46 AM
Andrew Martin
REMAX Accord - San Ramon, CA

We see this in my market. No big deal. Write the offer and wait and see what happens. No different than buying a foreclosure at auction and that's happening every day.

Apr 15, 2012 05:06 AM
LaNita Cates
REMAX of Joliet - Joliet, IL

It's AMAZING the rights tenants have over a homeowner. I would NEVER write an offer and "wait and see what happens". That's ridiculous. Yeah it's being done at auctions which are normally for investors.

Apr 15, 2012 05:17 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Yikes !  Hope the buyers have nerves of steel on this one.  Still, no doubt the marketing will really be a challenge.

Apr 15, 2012 05:43 AM
Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind
KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate - Tucson, AZ

HI CATARINA!  Yikes is right!  For a tenant to be this difficult the landlord must have really done them wrong at some point - in some way!  At that price - I think I would want to see it first though!

Apr 15, 2012 08:02 AM
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Interesting problem.  We handle a lot of high end leases in Atlanta.  Fortunately, none have been foreclosed.  

However, all of our Georgia Association of Realtors leases specify that we can do showings the last two months.  In addition, it states a charge - we fill it in as $75 for each non-showing incident!!!!  

Because our lease is detailed and specific, we just don't have this issue.  Every once in a while, it doesn't make sense to show, - but no more than the average of with our owners.  

All the best, Michelle

Apr 15, 2012 08:31 AM
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio

I like the idea of putting a non-showing charge in the lease upfront...that would be a good solution IF the tenants were actually still paying rent.

Apr 15, 2012 09:14 AM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Catarina, we had a situation with a tenant in a Freddie Mac property. They have 90 days to move out and if they don't cooperate, there's not much the bank can do. This person was difficult but we did finally get in and wrote an offer. Not sure how many are going to want to write when they can't see anything until the offer is accepted, especially at that price. Wow.



Apr 15, 2012 01:46 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Catarina - We have a lot of short sales that aren't shown until after there is an accepted offer.  It's not fun.

Apr 15, 2012 02:02 PM
John F Muscarella
Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast

It's definitely a problem.  And even if they do let you in the home condition is often not conducive to showing - otherwords a mess!  

Apr 15, 2012 08:23 PM
Catarina Bannier
Compass - Chevy Chase, DC
DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way

Wow -- I'm so overwhelmed! I've been away for a day, just to return to all your great comments. I will try and answer as much as I can tomorrow. What an amazing community this is!

Apr 16, 2012 01:41 PM
Catarina Bannier
Compass - Chevy Chase, DC
DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way

Steven--I'l be surprised if it works! I'll watch it unfold.

Marte--Yes, and DC tenant law is very tough on the landlord. The tenants can really hold out, and if they're not cooperating, it can be an expensive legal process getting them out.

Lenn--all the right questions, and the whole thing is very mysterious. Showing instructions are "confidential," and is was on the market a couple of years ago for $1.5M (no Shepherd Park house ever sold for that), even then with tenants. At least it could be shown at the time.

Apr 19, 2012 11:46 PM
Catarina Bannier
Compass - Chevy Chase, DC
DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way

Jared--you're so right. If someone cares less, though, they might take the listing anyway. Not much work involved when you can't do anything until after it's sold...

Dale--well, yes, that would be the approach of reason. Perhaps the bank has no desire to get into any legal fights, though. and i imagine that the rent on an 8,000 sf house might be a nice way to tie them over...

Apr 19, 2012 11:52 PM
Catarina Bannier
Compass - Chevy Chase, DC
DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way

Rob--very true. Why would they care? But the sellers sometimes are afraid of losing the time (i.e., income) and don't see how much it will actually cost them to keep the people in. We have actually lost listings because we suggested they wait.

Brian--None, I bet! And all too often, we have seen a rather sad picture after tenants moved out.

Apr 20, 2012 07:07 AM