Simon Says: Can a sale end a tenancy when a property is sold?

This is the eleventh in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.


This week's areas of Interest: Landlord Tenant Disputes

This week's keywords: Contract, Tenancy, Rights of Existing Tenant


Can a sale end a tenancy when a property is sold?


After winning the lottery of twenty million Yuan, Jack decided that the first thing he would buy was a nice house downtown. He was tired of driving two hours to work every day.


Jack had exactly in mind which flat he wanted, the manager, Bob’s house. He had longed to live in that 200 sq. meters palace for ages.


Off Jack went to the estate agent, who told him that that flat was actually on rent to Bob. So Bob wasn’t actually that rich after all. Jack imagined the manager’s face when he asked him to move out. He never liked that guy anyways.


Two days later, the sale contract was signed and paid in full while vacant procession was pending. It was a Friday night and Jack knew that Bob would be at home, having one of his house parties. How fun would it be to disrupt it! Serves the manager right for not inviting him.


After a pleasurable bashing, he was greeted with a furious Bob. ‘You are not invited, Jack. There is no room for the junior.’ With a smug smile, Jack replied, ‘No, you are not invited, Bob. This flat is now my new home. Get out so I can have fun with the guests.’


‘Hey you know what? You are fired. Get lost or I am calling the cops.’ Bob yelled. ‘Yes, call the cops, I want you out of my house right now.’ Jack said.


So can Jack force Bob out of his new flat right now?




Prof Simon Says:


The answer is no. Although Jack now rightfully owns Bob’s flat, he cannot force Bob out.


To protect tenant’s right and to maintain market order, the sale and purchase of the flat does not break the existing tenancy. Bob can still live in the flat until the lease expires. If Jack really wants Bob out of his new flat right away, the ex-landlord needs to terminate Bob’s tenancy agreement and compensate him for breaching the contract, and that is the decided between the two.


Simon Says - Episode 11: Can a sale end a tenancy when a property is sold?



For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi. 


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"This article was originally written in Chinese by Mr Huanyu Li and rewritten into English by Simon Choi."


Simon Choi

About the Author: Professor Simon Choi

Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at or +86 13823677853.

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10 May 2017

By Simon Choi

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