LAWLINK: Selling up 

Stock photo.

Q: We have been working abroad for a few years and renting out our home in suburban Limerick to the same tenant. We are now planning on moving back to Ireland and are hoping to sell our current home and a smaller property closer to the city. We are not sure what the market will be like and we have heard from family members that it may take some time to have the tenant vacate. Can you advise?

A: The first thing to bear in mind is that you should touch base with your estate agent or auctioneer as regards the state of the market, and whether there are any issues relating to your house generally. Naturally, it will take some time for your auctioneer to market and sell the property.

It should be noted too that, with the best will in the world, your auctioneer cannot guarantee where the market might be in six months or a year’s time.

The market might remain buoyant, but equally might have shifted downwards. This would affect the purchase price of your property and also any purchase of a new property. You should bear this in mind when making your plans.

Regarding the tenant in situ, your family are correct in that there is a fairly inflexible process that must be followed to terminate that tenancy. Notice, together with a statutory declaration in the prescribed form, must be served in good time. You state that you have been abroad for a few years so I am taking it that your tenants have been in the property for two years, as such the notice period that you must afford the tenant is 180 days.

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In addition, you must also serve the relevant documents on the RTB (Residential Tenancies Board). While there is currently a mortarium on evictions, that is due to expire soon, and you should ensure that the formalities regarding the serving of notice are complied with in good time to ensure that the property will be vacant to effect a sale. You can get useful information on this on the RTB’s website (

You should also consider taking tax advice. At the moment, the property may not be classed as your principal residence, and any gain you make over the price you originally paid might well be subject to capital gains tax (CGT).  You should take tax advice on this point, as CGT might well be substantial depending on your circumstances.

Lastly, there will be certain other logistics that you and your solicitor will need to attend to. You should ensure that your solicitor is instructed to take up your title deeds (from your bank if you have a mortgage). Your solicitor will tell you what further documentation, if any, is required, which may include local property tax documents, planning documents, energy certs etc.