House with tenant in situ – what to do?

House with tenant in situ – what to do?

9:24 AM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago 13

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Hi everyone, I recently bought an auction property with a tenant in situ. We have tenancy agreement but it doesn’t give too much info.

We requested tenant details from our solicitor but nothing. Letting agent didn’t give tenant details.

We found tenant details from the buyer’s solicitor. Our solicitor prepared a rent authority – the tenant has 51 non paid days.

Still finding hard to reach tenant. Tenant doesn’t answer phones, send a text but no reply.

We are living in London and bought the property in Newcastle (4.5 hr drive). We haven’t seen the property yet.

What can we do? Can we just go to the property?

If there’s no answer, can we change the locks (As we don’t have any keys)?

Confused … please help!


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David Houghton

9:55 AM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago

You could write to your tenant (recorded delivery)'without prejudice" offer to set up a new tenancy agreement and let him off the 51 days. Or make sure all the correct paperwork is served and serve s21

Possibly with the offer to issue a new tenancy.
With the intended legislation now is the time to get your ducks in a line

Graham Bowcock

10:03 AM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago


Given the fact that you bought the property with the tenant in situ, the tenant's right to occupation trump yours.

How were you proposing to manage the property? Did you just expect the rent to come in to you?

There's a few things I suggest you do.

The key thing is to find a good local agent to help you. If they're good they may be able to help you with the background, perhaps paying a visit or two to the property. Expect to pay properly for this service, it sits outside of normal management.

Get the agent, or your solicitor, to serve notice of new landlord so the tenant has your correct details in a legal format.

As David said you could offer the tenant a new agreement, but they are under no obligation to sign anything. They are entitled to occupy on the terms they agreed, as vague as these may be to you.

You cannot serve a s21 notice unless you have all the pre-commencement documents confirmed.

I hope you didn't pay very much for this property!

Judith Wordsworth

10:44 AM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago

Caveat Emptor

As Graham Bowcock says, do not change the locks. You also have no right to a set of keys.

Unless the tenant has been sent notice of a change of landlord and contact details of you as new landlord or your letting / managing agent you could be anyone trying to contact them.

Who is the tenant now paying their rent to?

Are all safety certificates current? The buck, and liability, will stop with you as “new” landlord.

Who is managing the property for you?


10:54 AM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago

What on earth made you buy a tenanted property without doing due diligence?!! How long has the tenant been there? Could they have a rent act tenancy, (which would make it practically impossible to evict them).

You are going to need specialist help from a housing solicitor to sort this out and if you are intending to re-let it, might I suggest some training.


11:07 AM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago

It would seem, you have little or no experience as a Landlord, '...can we change the locks (As we don’t have any keys)?' would land you in so much legal trouble!
It looks like the existing landlord took a punt that someone inexperienced would buy the problem from him, '...Tenant doesn’t answer phones, send a text but no reply.'
My suggestion, first find someone local to you, experienced in property rental, to guide you! They should be able to help determine if any local agent you contact is any good and point you in the direction of a good solicitor!

Mike Thomas

12:02 PM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago

I would advise you to join iHowz Landlords’ Association for the inexpensive sum of £85 for a year’s’ membership:
Consult their most helpful Help Line, who will advise you on the practical and legal next steps.


14:24 PM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago

Oh dear.
You may be in a world of pain here.
Even if the tenancy is an AST (or has rolled onto periodic), unless you have proof that the tenant has been served with all the correct documents at the correct time you may be looking down the barrel of an RRO as well as zero income for the next few years. Was it an absolute bargain- there are usually reasons for those
Go back to whoever did the conveyancing, ask them for the file.
Try and find out if an agent was managing it, get in touch with them with your chequebook at the ready
And talk to a solicitor.


16:18 PM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago

And the GOV are proposing to get rid of Sec 21's ! !

Reluctant Landlord

17:39 PM, 5th June 2023, About 6 months ago

two words, buyer beware!

Sorry bit it seems you have no idea even of the auction process never mind becoming a landlord. This could be a costly lesson to learn on both fronts.

You dont really have any choice in as far as the tenancy part goes. You are the new LL and if you want the person out, then you are going to have to take specialist advice on how to do this bearing in mind possible lack of paperwork - this sounds like a bit of a nightmare if I'm honest.

In regard to the auction part. You should have checked the legal pack and if something was not included that you expected, you should have asked beforehand to see it. If purchase was sold on the basis of vacant possession then it could be argued you may have been misled...but if you didn't read the info to check WHAT was published, then that's your problem.


7:28 AM, 6th June 2023, About 6 months ago

Hi There,

I do sympathise with you for the situation you are in.
The honest advice I would like to give you is :
just £85 or £70 something.

If you search for coupon code for the membership of NRLA then you will find lots with first time £15 OFF

2)As soon as you sign up with them, start asking for personal advice on the phone with customer service team.
They will guide you with tailor made advice and solution according to your situation.

3) Don't panic, this is good learning curve for you with bit of faffs and hassle but over a period of time you will become eviction expert 🙂

Challenges makes you learn new things which you never came across.

4) Believe me it's simple, fairer and easy. You just need peace of mind and bit of logical thinking with long term prospective for the future.

5) Don't forget to buy one off course half price from NRLA membership while sign up.
I would strongly suggest to attend next seminar in October or contact local reps through NRLA for networking and connections nationwide.

Best of Luck.

Many Thanks,

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