Tenant refuses to leave from property I was sold as vacant possession!

Tenant refuses to leave from property I was sold as vacant possession!

11:51 AM, 1st February 2023, About A year ago 39

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Hello everyone, I’m looking for advice as to what to do in a very difficult situation I’ve landed in.

I bought a property at auction with the seller stating the tenant had been served a section 21 notice and would be gone prior to completion, (I made a mistake of not getting that in writing in the MoS).

But during the sale process, the seller didn’t divulge that the tenant was refusing to leave (she’s on housing benefits and needs to be evicted to get help) and signed all documents as being sold with vacant possession and didn’t produce any documentation about the tenant/rental agreement/documentation/deposit information/inventory.

Which, possibly naively, gave me the belief she had left as they said she would, prior to the completion.

Upon completion I went to collect the keys when I was abruptly told were still with the tenant – shock horror.

After lots of back and forths, I managed to piece together the tenancy but not all documentation was issued correctly prior to the current tenancy (epc – right to rent – gas certs).

I have eventually been granted a court hearing for an accelerated possession order, but I’m concerned it will be thrown out on these indiscrepancies?

How likely will that be?

Also, do I have any recourse against the seller who clearly lied about the vacancy but sending all documentation as being sold as vacant possession?

Thank you,

Tk


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Comments

Frank Jennings

14:44 PM, 1st February 2023, About A year ago

Well my first thoughts are, its a fraudulent sale, miselling or misrepresentation, and the auctioneers may be able to help, as this tarnishes their reputation somewhat, and I'm sure they have rules about the sales information and fraudulent statements.
Maybe you can claim against them for damages, or the seller or both. Trouble is, it's not written in the sale about being vacant possession, is it?
I think a section 21 will be no good, because of the errors of the previous owner/LL. Therefore issuing a section 8 is possible if you wish to move there, or do major improvements necessitating the Tennant to move, or they are not paying the rent as agreed on the AST contract agreement. Maybe someone here with more knowledge than me can help more. Good luck anyhow. Maybe the best advice is to get professional legal advice from a property specialist solicitors. They should know how to deal with this effectively.

DPT

16:06 PM, 1st February 2023, About A year ago

"...the seller stating the tenant had been served a section 21 notice and would be gone prior to completion"

Those two things don't go together. A s21 notice doesn't end the tenancy so the seller was never able to guarantee that the tenant would be gone by the time of completion. Was this said to you through their solicitor or just from the seller directly? If it was the latter then you can't rely on it. Did your own solicitor not advise you to wait until the tenant was out before completing?

You should get back in touch with your solicitor straight away and ask them what you can do about it.

You now have landlord obligations that you may already be in breach of. I suggest you get some separate advice on this.

Ingrid Bacsa

18:14 PM, 1st February 2023, About A year ago

Oh my gosh. If I just bought it, then i would call a locksmith, just so I have access.

Give her a key as you move in, - If it's not a buy to let, it's YOUR home now. I would move in any way. Let her have a bedroom, even if there is only one. Spend a lot of time there.

Get council tax and bills in your name. She will like that!

As she has then become a lodger, she will have very few rights to stay.

The conveyancers have not done their job, legal ombudsman may be needed too. You need a refund Good luck

Christine Davies

18:37 PM, 1st February 2023, About A year ago

Not the best idea to change the locks and move in. You have a date for a hearing for accelerated possession proceedings. That in itself should concern you. There is no hearing for accelerated possession proceedings unless the court finds errors in the application OR the tenant issues a defence. Have you discussed this with your solicitor. Have you sued her with change of landlord paperwork. Are you in Wales, if so then I hope you are registered and licenced . I would get legal advice before any hearing date . Did you solicitor tell you not to complete with out vacant possession and you ignored them. If they me er mentioned it I would be making a complaint . Good luck

Reluctant Landlord

21:31 PM, 1st February 2023, About A year ago

1. go back to auctioneer - if their sales info pitched it as 'vacant possession' at the POINT OF SALE then clearly in breach of advertising it wrongly and should have removed this term before the gavel dropped.
2. IF the sellers pack did NOT have all the legal info then you are at fault for not checking this over BEFORE you bid. If the info was not there/missing/ambigious then you should have asked the auctioneer to go back to the sellers solicitor who prepared the legal pack and they ultimately should have contacted the seller to clarify it too if this was not enclosed/disclosed.
3. The sellers solicitor COULD be negligent if they asked for this info but did not receive it from the seller - BUT the seller themselves could be negligent if they failed to give this info to their solicitor in the first instance (or also lied about the existence of anything)
4. Without any evidence from the seller that said that VP would be guaranteed then you have no evidence - the liability rests with YOU to check and double check that you are fully happy with what you bid on BEFORE the sale.
5. The issue you really need to focus on is the tenant first. If you want her out then you need by the sound of it to emply someone to look over what has been issued to see if it will stand up in court before you bank on it. It could be thrown out as something may be missing. Perhaps better to take advice, start afresh with the docs you do have and determine a way forward. At the end of the day she owes you no rent yet so the quicker you start from a solid foundation the quicker you have of sorting this out and getting VP.
6. Only when you have definately got the possession underway then focus on the sales side of the issue. Getting help with the eviction part will inevitably see where the missing links are and this might lead you to closer on finding out who is to blame (if there is any) regarding HOW it was sold to you.

Smiffy

7:22 AM, 2nd February 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Ingrid Bacsa at 01/02/2023 - 18:14
That is about the worst advice I have ever read!

Smiffy

7:30 AM, 2nd February 2023, About A year ago

I'm guessing the original poster was not a landlord or developer prior to this purchase? I can't see how an existing landlord would walk into an issue like this.

On the above assumption, the buyer has relied on, and paid, professionals in this purchase, in both the auctioneers and their own conveyancing solicitor. It needs to be thrown straight back at them to resolve.

Kate Mellor

10:19 AM, 2nd February 2023, About A year ago

Let your solicitor deal with this in the first instance. If vacant possession hasn’t been given then you’ve paid for something you don’t have. Your solicitor has given over your money under false pretences and I strongly suspect this sale has not actually completed. You definitely have recourse against this vendor. They acted in bad faith and withheld vital information from their solicitor and yours. Your solicitor would never have sent funds had they been aware that vacant possession wasn’t possible. I suspect the seller will be subject to financial if not criminal penalties.
It is NOT your responsibility to evict this tenant, it is the responsibility of the vendor. Push this back into the vendor’s solicitors court via your solicitor. Do it immediately.

Susan Bradley

13:01 PM, 2nd February 2023, About A year ago

I had something similar but mine worked out ok in the end. My mother-in-law died and my husband inherited her flat in London. We let it for a couple of years and then decided to sell it. We used the same agent for the sale as for the letting and in spite of sitting about 5 feet from each other they failed to communicate! As a result when the buyer collected the keys and went in it was clear that the place was occupied and the tenant knew nothing about the sale. Luckily for all of us the buyer shrugged and simply carried on living with his parents. Our solicitor served the Section 21 and refused to pay the Agent any commission. You just assume that property professionals know what they are doing.

Judith Wordsworth

13:12 PM, 2nd February 2023, About A year ago

Who did your conveyancing? Your solicitor would have confirmed that the property was sold with vacant possession. Your solicitor is first port of call and should be instructed not to complete the Land Registry transfer until sorted. Either rescind the purchase or reduce the purchase price to reflect a sitting tenant. Do not change any utilities or council tax into your name until sorted. Did you buy cash or with finance? Did your solicitor act for the lender? Does the lender know you haven’t got vacant possession?

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