Tenants in situ – Previous landlord does not have Gas/Electric/DPS?

Tenants in situ – Previous landlord does not have Gas/Electric/DPS?

9:54 AM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago 76

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Hi All, Just a bit of advice please. I am in the process of purchasing my first buy to let and was expecting the property empty on completion.

The agent has now come back and stated that the property is tenanted. The tenants want to stay and the seller wants to sell the property with the tenants as he is in a hurry.

I have spoken to the seller who has advised that he was a first time landlord himself and the tenants were friends of a friend and he has not had any issues with them.

He advised that he got them to sign a generic AST in 2019 but did not know about the Gas Certificates/electric certificates or DPS. He does not have these but will get them done. He did take a deposit of them years ago.

Should I still continue and purchase the property?

Is there anything that can be done to rectify the situation or should just walk away?



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David Houghton

12:53 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Tell him vacant possession or nothing. Even if you have to wait until he obtains and executes the possession order.

If not WALK AWAY. Sorry for shouting but its a minefield


12:55 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by RoseD at 23/02/2023 - 10:51
Walk away!


13:03 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

What could possibly go wrong 🤔.

I wouldn't touch this with a very long barg pole ، walk away no matter what the current owner may promise you ," hes in a hurry " ,I bet he is , to get rid of the hassle round his neck, I bet .

Laura Coleman

13:06 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

I asked a not too dissimilar question recently about buying a property with tenants in situ, some of which I am not confident were given all the prescribed information (PI) correctly (still waiting for information from the seller). Worth reading this thread as well:
What I took from this previous thread is that there are two different risks - not being able to give a s21 eviction notice and fines for not doing the right check/proving you provided the right information to the tenant. If the tenant agrees to sign a new AST with you and you provide all the information correctly you will then be able to serve the S21 in future should you wish to as it is a new tenancy, however the tenant can still come after you for fines for the previous landlord not providing the PI as required. If you do everything by the book, hopefully a court would see that and look on you kindly (and fairly), but it's not for certain. This is what I took from the thread but I suggest you read it yourself, some really helpful comments.

Seething Landlord

13:41 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Annabel Blake at 23/02/2023 - 12:45
There is no mechanism for the landlord to regain possession unless he can establish grounds under S8.

That is why everyone is saying walk away while you can.

Kate Mellor

13:42 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Technically a person has 6 years from the failure to protect the deposit and serve the correct deposit documentation to make a claim for financial compensation which amounts to the return of the deposit and a penalty of between one and three times the deposit amount taken, (so some time in 2025). This penalty falls on the landlord whoever that may be at the time. If you purchase and the tenant decides to make a claim, that will be you.

If you really like the property you have the option of asking the seller to deduct the maximum amount claimable from the price for the risk, and you can then offer the tenant an amount to settle out of court should this come about and not be out of pocket, yet avoid the time waste and stress of a court appearance.

You don't mention whether your intention on purchase was to let it out, but I'm assuming it was or you wouldn't still be considering the purchase.

With the above proviso about the deposit, all the other documents can be served late (proof of service needs to be kept), but I would be concerned about the quality of the tenant. It's all very well saying they're fine, but have you got proof of their payment history? Are you happy with the condition the property has been kept in? Have you had a little word with any of the neighbours to see if they are good neighbours? They could potentially be a nightmare, that you then have to deal with. Of course anyone you let to could turn out to be a nightmare, but if the seller was an experienced landlord who vetted and managed their tenancies well, the risk would be lower and this seller is clearly not in the above category.

Ultimately the decision is yours. You should do what homework you can and decide what level of risk and effort you can accept if the tenant turns out to be a bad payer or a terrible tenant for some other reason. You didn't vet them and now you can't.

Personally if I chose to continue with the purchase, I'd ensure the seller showed me proof positive of the regular rent receipts for the past 12 months; I'd insist on a signed declaration stating that they had no issues with the tenant in terms of disputes between themselves or between neighbours, no noise complaints etc. I'd also require a deduction from the sale price for risk associated with the failure to protect the deposit and issue the correct documentation.

On purchase, I'd make an appointment for an inspection to discuss any necessary repairs for them, & offer the tenant a new contractual, periodic tenancy agreement (without a fixed term), and do everything by the book in terms of deposit protection, issuing all documentation with proof of service.

Obviously the tenant has the choice to sign it or not as they wish. You should present it as starting fresh and making sure all the legal obligations to them are properly met. They have no initial fixed term with it so they are not committing to stay, (but better still, you aren't stuck with them for a minimum of 6 months if they turn out to be unsuitable). It's a good opportunity for you to suss the tenant out, build some rapport and good feeling, but most importantly to make sure you are compliant going forward, should anything ever go south.

Also, don't forget to send them details of their new landlord, name, address and contact information in writing as soon as possible.

Kate Mellor

13:48 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Kate Mellor at 23/02/2023 - 13:42
Just re-read and I see that you DID say you intend to buy it as a buy-to-let, sorry.

David Houghton

13:56 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Annabel Blake at 23/02/2023 - 12:16
The problem is the gas safety certificate. At the moment it is unclear if not serving this before a tenancy can be rectified. It probably can, but that's an issue for the higher courts


14:08 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

So you need a Gas Safe Certificate, Have you checked it has a current EICR ?
What is the EPC band ? Hopefully Band C ?
Can you check if the boiler has been serviced ?
I am guessing if there is No current GSC the lazy reckless Landlord has failed in his other legal duties.
You only have to see the TV news of a
" Gas explosion kills family in bed " to realise the deep deep trouble the LL would be in if the LL failed to do a GSC.
Manslaughter charges , Jail and Huge fines


14:16 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Some very interesting variety of advice. But if you were told it was vacant possession you can expect it to be so or priced accordingly. You should investigate what the percentage returns in your area and revise your offer.
I would try and rescue the situation by negotiating new ASTs and complying with the requirements re certificates etc. But it would be best to take legal advice on that suggestion.

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