Unmotivated tenants can be difficult
When I was looking to buy my duplex, I encountered tenants who were visibly upset that they had to show their place to prospective buyers, and who were obviously unmotivated to move. They looked sullen and impatient. And when I looked at the lower unit, I could hear them stomping upstairs where they lived.
When I talked with them, they tried two tactics: first they tried to scare me by saying someone committed suicide in the attic; and then they tried to appeal to me by saying they really love their home and would like to stay.
I asked them if they would move downstairs (because I want to live upstairs). And their response : "What? And downgrade our lifestyle?" Ahhh.....so it wouldn't be okay for them to downgrade, but they would expect me as the owner to downgrade?
As a result, I wanted them out of there by the time I close escrow!
Deliver the property vacant by close of escrow
Today, my clients and I went to a group showing of a duplex. There were at least six groups all waiting to view the property. In spite of the listing agent making the appointment with the owner who informed the tenants, both tenants refused to let us in and became argumentative with the listing agent, accusing her of having a bad attitude.
I couldn't understand why tenants who would want to stay as they indicated they do, wouldn't be on their best behavior and try to impress the prospective buyers, in the hopes that the next landlord would want to keep them.
The argumentative and uncooperative tenants --- and especially those who make their place look even more trashy in an effort to discourage buyers --- are making a convincing argument NOT to keep them.
To a person, every single prospective buyer said that if they are successful in buying this duplex, their first condition would be to have the property delivered vacant by close of escrow, and after the requisite 30 or 60 days notice depending on how long the tenants have lived there.
"Are there any protected tenants?"
This is one of the first questions we ask, especially in rent-controlled cities like Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco.
The article about the many faces of protected tenant status provides several examples of protected tenant status that can make it extremely difficult if not impossible to get tenants to leave. The elderly, sick and disabled are in that group.
Investors, including those who plan to live in the property, are less willing to deal with protectted tenants in place.
I know of a case where on the day the buyer closed escrow and tenants were supposed to vacate, the tenants filed suit claiming protected tenant status because someone in the household became ill. Months of negotiation, suit/countersuit, and tenants demand of $80,000 to leave, the buyers settled at $40,000 cash for keys.
Don't close escrow unless conditions are met, including delivering property vacant! Best that the new owner find their own tenants than live with the ones who were problematic from the beginning.