Can you transfer a section 21 notice to a new landlord?

by Readers Question

15:40 PM, 24th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Can you transfer a section 21 notice to a new landlord?

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Can you transfer a section 21 notice to a new landlord?

Hi, I am looking at buying a property with a problem tenant that won’t allow any viewings or valuations and I have been informed they have stopped paying the rent. I know we could just walkaway.

However, the current landlord served them with a section 21 notice last November to end in May we want to complete before April and wanted to know if can we use the notice that as been served or would we have to reserve notices?

Many thanks

Chris

Comments

DSR

19:59 PM, 24th February 2021
About 2 months ago

I'd be wise and let the current owner get them out first! If you desperately want the property then perhaps arrange to deposit a Reservation Fee with their solicitors showing your commitment to buy, but only once the tenant is out. That way it might get the current owner to pursue this eviction as quickly as they can to maintain the sale to you. Let's face it, if the buyer thinks that someone is willing to take this MAJOR risk on, he will be wanting to sell to you asap. Any other buyer is probably going to want the owner to shift the tenant first, but if you offer an incentive they might take your offer over someone else's. Believe me there wont be many people willing to take on this purchase in the current situation! If the tenant isn't paying now - do you really think they are going to be paying a new owner??

DSR

20:03 PM, 24th February 2021
About 2 months ago

...oh and no I dont think you can 'take on' an existing S21 as it has to be signed by the official owner, so you would have to serve one yourself.

Of course you have to give them a contract first and then there is a minimum period before you can serve one anyway...plus you will have had to secure their deposit, all the gas cert/elec checks, EPC...it goes on.

Basically DON'T touch the purchase until the existing owner shifts the tenant!

John Mac

11:13 AM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Think your best bet would be to insist on Vacant Possession, even if the current owner has to give a Financial inducement to the current Tenant to leave - not necessarily cash but an agreement to wipe off any current arears.

Even if the current Sec 21 is transferable (which I doubt) you still have at least another 6M or more before you would get Possession - WITHOUT any rent !!

BTW if you do buy you do not have to issue a new contract as stated above, you take on the old one & submit a change of LL notice.

Ian Narbeth

12:08 PM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Chris
It is possible to rely on the previous landlord's s21 notice. However, I strongly advise against it. I agree with RL that you should insist on vacant possession first. There is some Government guidance here.

Even ignoring that the moratorium on evictions may be extended again and that s21 is likely to be abolished (perhaps not retrospectively but who knows? It's only landlords getting shafted) there are numerous ways you can slip up. You will inherit any problems with the seller's notice. It may be invalid for many reasons including:
the property is an unlicensed HMO
the landlord has not complied with the relevant tenant deposit protection legislation
the council has served an improvement notice or an emergency remedial notice in the last 6 months.
the landlord has not given their tenants copies of the EPC, a current Landlord Gas Safety Record (if the property has gas appliances installed) and the Government’s ‘How to rent’ guide.

The s21 notice is also invalid if the landlord breached the Tenant Fees Act including this nonsense which many landlords will be unaware of.

Furthermore if the tenant disputes the validity of the s21 notice you may need the current landlord and his agent to provide information and perhaps to make witness statements. Will they do so? Your sale contract needs to stipulate that they will (and unless the agents are a party you will need the landlord to compel them to do so).

If it turns out that the s21 notice is invalid then you will have to start again. Unless you have a full blown indemnity from the seller (which his solicitor will advise him not to give) you will have to bear the loss and the cost of delay. Bear in mind that the law makes it easy and rewarding for tenants to ambush landlords in court so it may only be when you get to court, perhaps this year or maybe next, that the tenant produces a trump card that defeats the s21 notice.

Kate Mellor

13:02 PM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Firstly, what Ian said.

IF for some reason you are prepared to take on the problem yourself, I would suggest you only do so if you can negotiate a price reduction on the property to reflect a likely loss of 12 -18 months plus in rental income. You are then in a position to use some of that money to try and negotiate a deal with the current tenant, safe in the knowledge that if it doesn’t come off you have at least 12 months to evict before it starts costing you money.
Of course it’s still a potential cash flow problem and it could prove a major headache that I personally wouldn’t be rushing into. I have enough headaches already without buying new ones. 🙂

John

13:31 PM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

My advice to you is to walk away from this deal. Do not take on someone else’s problems. You will regret it.

John

Judith Wordsworth

20:38 PM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

If you are desperate to buy this property only do so with vacant possession and don't exchange till you have viewed it again, as may well be trashed by the current tenant. Otherwise don't walk away, RUN

michaelwgroves

8:54 AM, 27th February 2021
About 2 months ago

I did exactly what you are proposing, everyone says don’t do it, but what do they know........
Turns out a lot more than me, this is a complete disaster, your loses will be counted in the tens of thousands. I’m one year in and have made no progress. You will have so many sleepless nights and feel useless. Everything is against you. Just don’t do it, you have no idea what mess you are taking on, or the costs the other side have already built up which you will inherit.

Walk away, or set a completion date after the bailiffs have evicted.

Anthony Endsor

22:16 PM, 27th February 2021
About 2 months ago

I seriously don't see why you would want to buy a property with a problem tenant already in situ. It is surely a no-brainer to insist on vacant possession contractually with your solicitor, who's job it would be to ensure this is the case before completion.
Looking at this thread, I think it's fair to say my view matches popular opinion. Basically, either the tenant goes, or you should walk away (or even run!!)


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