AST in previous landlords name – can we issue Section 8/21?

by Readers Question

9:41 AM, 4th December 2015
About 3 years ago

AST in previous landlords name – can we issue Section 8/21?

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AST in previous landlords name – can we issue Section 8/21?

We bought a flat with a sitting tenant on an AST. We did not need to occupy it ourselves at the time, so allowed the existing tenant to stay, notifying the tenant that we were the new landlords, paying us rent instead of the prior landlord. not in my name

We now need the flat back, partly due to the tenant’s bad behaviour. The landlord named on the AST now a SPT is not us of course.

Will that be a problem for us issuing a section 8/section 21 or are we simply ‘successors in title’ to the old landlord?

Many thanks

Connie



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:44 AM, 4th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Connie,

Are you absolutely sure there is not an AST in your name? I would be very surprised if this was not done by your solicitor or advised to when you purchased.

Did you tell your solicitor and do you have a mortgage on the property?

I would go back your solicitor and ask what happened.

Renovate To let

11:19 AM, 4th December 2015
About 3 years ago

If you notified the tenant correctly using a S48 notice that you are the new landlord then all is well and you have stepped into the shoes of the old landlord, with all that entails.

If you didn't, you have committed an offence by taking rent from them (fine up to £2,500 I think).

You actually have no right at all to make the tenant to sign a new AST - that's their choice.

Mark Lynham

11:56 AM, 4th December 2015
About 3 years ago

my understanding is as long as you served a section 48 notice when you took ownership you will be fine..

Cherry Picked Properties Lettings and Management

13:03 PM, 4th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Connie,

It's not ideal but don't stress to much about the above comments and talk to a qualified solicitor. 9 out of 10 solicitors would not transfer the AST into your name as legally it is still enforceable and it transfers to the new owner.
I've never heard of it being an offence of collecting rent without an AST and in fact there's plenty of people that let properties out that don't even have ASTs or have lost them over the years. Even in this case it becomes assumed that there is an agreement, again to protect the tenant... so you can't simply evict them if they've lost their agreement..
Seek advice from someone qualified. We always check details like this with our solicitor. Worst case scenario, you simply serve the correct notice now for the change of landlord and wait until it take affect before issuing any other notices.
Dan

Steve From Leicester

13:45 PM, 4th December 2015
About 3 years ago

A new tenancy wasn't required, but a Section 48 should have been issued.

A Section 48 tells the tenant who his landlord is, where to contact him / her and to whom future rent payments should be made.

There is no prescribed format for a Section 48 so as long as there is evidence the tenant knows this information you should have no problems (because he must by definition have been given the very information required by the document).

You'd only have problems if, for example, he hadn't paid a penny rent since you bought the property and claimed it was because no-one told him he had to pay you (as opposed to the previous landlord). But even in a case like that, as soon as he's notified the rent becomes due.

In short, probably no need to worry.

Connie Fletcher

16:38 PM, 4th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve From Leicester" at "04/12/2015 - 13:45":

It was actually the solicitor we purchased through who said we didn't need to ask the tenant to sign a new AST, but this was only verbal advice and she has since left the practice. She didn't say we must issue a Section 48, but as Dan of Cherry Picked and Steve from Leicester say, we did of course write to the tenants (the flat was one of a pair in a converted house, and we bought the house) to say we had purchased the flat, and give our names and address, and bank details for payment of rent.

We also at that time notified the council we were the new landlords, as this tenant was on HB, which we were a little annoyed to find out after purchase, as we were led to believe by reading the AST supplied by the previous landlord that the tenant would be paying monthly. In fact, it is a 4 weekly HB payment from the council. We also registered the deposit (transferred from the previous landlord after a bit or hassling as he was owed money by this tenant) into one of the registered deposit holding schemes, and gave the tenant full paperwork on this, and also the 'how the scheme works' blurb. The HB doesn't quite pay the rent, but we have been unable to persuade the tenant to make up the shortfall, and as it is minimal we have let it roll on. Now though, a 'partner' has appeared on the scene (the AST says one person only), and noisy arguments and reported 'fights' are upsetting neighbours, who of course are now complaining to us. Rather than get a bad name in the street, we felt the tenant should be 'asked' to leave, also before damage is done to the flat. Hence the question whether we could serve the S8/21.

In short (you gather I'm not good at that...) you have set my mind at rest that we did issue a S48 notice in appropriate format (although we didn't head the letter S48 as such) and should have no problems with either an S8/21. A great relief! Thanks, Connie.

Cherry Picked Properties Lettings and Management

17:47 PM, 4th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Connie Fletcher" at "04/12/2015 - 16:38":

Hi Connie,
I would not list the noise issues etc as a reason for outing them as they sound like the higher risk type of tenant that might put up a fight. That means either damaging the property or simply not moving out if they take it personally.
I would tell them that you'd like to take possession back as you may sell it or move back in etc.
Dan Sawyer

Cherry Picked Properties

Connie Fletcher

15:57 PM, 5th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Selling the flat(s) is a real possibility, as we bought the house to get two 'adjacent' flats, so my elderly mum could live in one and us in the other. Life has a habit of spoiling plans, sadly, so that now can't happen, and we will stay in our house of many years. The change of plan is why the tenants got to stay on in the first place!

Good advice, Dan, we've no need to alienate anyone more than necessary, so will simply give intention to sell as the reason. Thank you again, Connie.


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