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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Andrina Powell

20:33 PM, 23rd February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Vacant possession or run as fast as you can!

Seething Landlord

0:06 AM, 24th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Kate Mellor at 23/02/2023 - 16:41Further to my previous reply, it was recently confirmed that if there was no gas safety certificate in existence prior to commencement of the tenancy, S21 cannot be used. The case in question is Byrne v Harwood - Delgado, 21/6/2022. It was heard in Luton County Court on appeal from the Deputy District Judge and does not therefore create a binding precedent but will be of persuasive authority in any subsequent cases and likely to be followed by District Judges and DDJs everywhere.

Lee Jones

8:18 AM, 25th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

I recently had to evict a sitting tenant from a property I purchased several years ago. Even though I had done everything by the book and issued a new tenancy agreement on purchase, I had to prove the previous landlord had lodged the deposit correctly some 8 years earlier! Luckily, I could do this, but sounds like your vendor didn’t. Be careful, as the previous comment says, words are cheap, but the eviction process isn’t!

Mike Thomas

11:05 AM, 25th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

The issues in respect of the EPC and EICR can be resolved retrospectively. They must be served upon the tenant/s before serving a section 21 notice.

The issue in respect of the Gas Safety Certificate (“GSC”) can be resolved if there was a valid GSC at the time the Property was let but not provided at the time of letting. In this scenario, late service of the GSC is permitted prior to serving a section 21 notice.

The position is not clear if there was no valid GSC at the time of letting. The authoritative case is Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield [2020] EWCA Civ.

The Court of Appeal did not say that failing to have a valid GSC before the commencement of the tenancy is capable of remedy.

If there was a valid GSC you are safe, but should seek a good discount on the purchase price in light of the seller’s failings.

Finally, I would strongly recommend that if you are new to Lettings, you join iHowz Landlord Association: only £85 per year, which is tax deductible. Originally formed in 1974, they have an excellent Free Landlord Advice Line.

Included in the £85 membership fee is Free Tax Investigation Insurance too.

Kate Mellor

14:27 PM, 25th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 24/02/2023 - 00:06
Thanks for the update, I wasn’t aware of this case.

Obviously this issue is highly significant in this case because you wouldn’t knowingly walk into this blind alley if you needed to remove a tenant.

In most instances though a current gsc having been served prior to the S21 will serve the purpose as under normal scrutiny it will appear perfectly valid & I would certainly use it in the first instance if I were unfortunate enough to be in the position.

When notice appears valid tenants tend to leave and are advised to leave when they consult their local CAB. Even if they stay put and wait for bailiffs they rarely actively challenge the validity with competent representation. Don’t get me wrong, I would never advise someone to rely on this as their go-to strategy, because if you’re one of the unlucky ones it’s going to kick you square in the bank balance, but in 30 years I’ve never had a s21 defended in court.

Out of interest if you claim you had valid gsc but have misplaced the paper copies (which must happen all the time) only the landlord can know if one wasn’t in existence at the time of tenancy commencement. I’m not aware of a central register of gsc, but I’d like to know if it exists. If you can’t produce it I suppose there is a high risk that the case will be judged as though one wasn’t done.

David Houghton

14:52 PM, 25th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Kate Mellor at 25/02/2023 - 14:27
Yes if you can't produce a gas safety for when the tenancy commenced it will get rejected.

Working tenants tend not to challenge an S21 notice. Benefit tenants will usually go to the council. Even vandalise the property to create an offset for rent arrears. I had one bloke pull bricks out of the wall.


15:07 PM, 25th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Thank you everyone for your comments.

The landlord states that the Tenants are willing to sign a new AST and start afresh. If the current tenants sign a deed of surrender and then sign a new AST on exchange of contracts, would I essentially be getting a new tenant?


15:13 PM, 25th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Further information

The current landlord has also stated that he has returned the deposit?

Mike T

15:17 PM, 25th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Hi Maz,
Being a landlord is difficult enough now days. For a first time landlord you would be best advised to get yourself informed on ALL the legal requirements BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.
I agree with some of the other members who say 'WALK AWAY'
The situation is problematic to say the least - borne out by the many suggestions on how to get around the various issues involved.
IF however the seller can give vacant possession, AND it be verified, before signing the cheque/ completion, then fair enough. But do be very, very careful. As has already been pointed out; one mistake at this stage could be very costly and haunt you for years to come. Best wishes.


20:07 PM, 25th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Thank you everyone for your sound advice. I've asked for vacant on completion otherwise I'm walking away.

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