Buying with tenant but want vacant possession

by Readers Question

3 years ago

Buying with tenant but want vacant possession

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Buying with tenant but want vacant possession

I’m currently in the middle of purchasing a property but the current tenant is refusing to move till they have found a place. Buying with tenant but want vacant possession

They’ve had months of warning, is there anything I can do?





Mark Alexander

3 years ago

Hi Terry

It it up to the vendor to ensure that he is able to diliver vacant possession. Until he is able to do that, and assuming vacant possession is vital to you, then exchange of contracts and completions cannot happen.

The vendor should have served a section 21 notice to his tenant. After 2 months have expired this would entitle him to seek a possession order. However, that is only guaranteed IF he complied with the tenancy deposit protection legislation. If he did not then his section 21 notice will not be valid and the only way around this for him would be to refund the tenants deposit and then start the whole process again.

From start to finish it can typically take 5 months to remove a tenant who refuses to budge and it's not a cheap process either.

Sam Addison

3 years ago

Depends on your buying situation - you can refuse to buy until seller gives you vacant possession, or you can buy and then start eviction proceedings. In the latter case I would recommend legal advice regarding assignment of lease.

3 years ago

Hi Terry, if the sale goes through, you will automatically take over the tenancy as it stands. So if the current tenant is in a fixed term with 6 months left you will be the person who would need to serve notice at the correct time
You would also need to deal with the deposit before hand

If the current owner has served S21. The sale cant complete until he has regained possession, if the sale does go through the S21 will be invalid as a person who no longer has legal possession of a property cant apply to the court for its possession

Your options are to wait for the current landlord to do his bit
Or, buy the property and become the landlord yourself

Just bear in mind, a S21 is nothing more than a notice of intention a tenant has every legal right to remain in the property until a judge/bailiff repossesses the property

Romain Garcin

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Julie Ford" at "16/03/2015 - 18:24":

"If the current owner has served S21. The sale cant complete until he has regained possession, if the sale does go through the S21 will be invalid as a person who no longer has legal possession of a property cant apply to the court for its possession"

I would think that if the new owner/landlord provides evidence that he has taken over the tenancy then possession should be granted on the basis of the existing s.21 notice.

However, and in any case, of course Terry should not even exchange until the tenant has left if then want to buy with vacant possession.

Colin Dartnell

3 years ago

I wouldn't take on this tenant, if they are difficult before the sale then they will be difficult after. Let the current owner sort it or walk away from it.

Your solicitor shouldn't let you exchange anyway unless it is sorted.

Mark Epps

3 years ago

Presumably the fact that there is a tenant in situ who doesn't want to go is reflected in the purchase price? If he wasn't there then the vendor would be able to ask more. So you're taking on a risk for a certain reward.

I think this is how that vile Nicolas van Hoogstraten fellow made his money, no? Buying houses with awkward sitting tenants cheap then sending in the boys to dislodge them and selling on at open market value.

Whether or not the sale can complete - this would depend on the type of mortgage you are buying with. A resi mortgage would require vacant possession for exchange of contracts, whereas a BTL would not.


Tony Lilleystone

3 years ago

If the seller agreed to sell with vacant possession and the price was agreed on that basis then it is up to the seller to make sure that the tenant leaves before completion. For all practical purposes that means that you should not exchange contracts until you know the tenant has actually vacated the property.
One rather obvious question - do you really want this particular property? It looks as if you could be hnging on for months, so why not look for somewhere else without this problem? If the sale was negotiated through estate agents tell them that you're not happy to keep waiting, I'm sure they won't want to loose their commission and will sort something out.

Michael Barnes

3 years ago

How about negotiating a reduction in price for each day beyond a certain date that you have to wait for completion with vacant possession?

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