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  • Buy-to-Let

    Advice! Tenant hasn't given notice

    I've hit a bit of an obstacle and hope that someone has been here before...

    I've purchased a tenanted property, completed on 05/04. After several calls to the letting agent, who promised but failed to get back to me, I visited the office in person on 15/04 with the intention of sorting out the necessary change of landlord/contract etc.

    The agent informed me that as the tenant was aware that I intended to move into the property they would not be continuing with the contract past 24/04 when the fixed term ends.

    I have spoken with the agent today regarding the check out process and collection of the keys only to be informed that the tenant hasn't given notice. This has been attributed to a computer error! Although the reason for the tenant giving notice was quite specific I am informed that they haven't withdrawn their notice and the information I was given was incorrect.

    The agent is issuing a S21. I have trades booked for next week (for quotes) which can be delayed if the tenant won't allow access. I'm not sure how the tenant will react or exactly what has been discussed.

    Any advice on how best to proceed would be appreciated.

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    Hi,

    Personally I would go and visit ther tenant.   You may be uneasy especially as you are the person asking them to leave but at the end of the day you need to know the truth to base your next step on.   If ever court action needed to be taken, which is unlikely but possible, then you can't do that on false information.

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    I'm very happy to discuss options directly with the tenant and if this is considered a reasonable course of action I would prefer it to going through a third party.

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    Gary

    This sounds a bit odd and I wonder what your solicitor has done in all of this.  Your question begs several more questions.  Were you buying with VP or an investment?  What did the selling agent say in marketing it?  What were everyone's intentions? If you are after VP, why did you solicitor not secure this before completion?  Were any warranties given by the vendor?  Can s21 actually be served (i.e. is there full compliance?)?  Has your solicitor served notice on the tenant for change of ownership?

    Even if the tenant had given notice (or the landlord for that matter) VP could not be guaranteed until the tenant has actually left.

    I also wonder why you are left dealing with the former letting agent, who would appear to be inept.  I think you need to have a chat with your solicitor and get them to resolve these issues for you pdq, including confirming what compliance documents they obtained for you.  I'd also get them to serve the notice in this case.

    It is possible that somewhere in this lies a mighty cock up, or to be polite a big misunderstanding.

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    The property was purchased via auction as an investment and I was aware that there was a residential tenancy until 24/04. During the viewing I discussed with the tenant my intentions to live in the property in the near future but was happy to work with them on timescales. When I was informed that the tenant had decided to vacate it simplified matters considerably.

    My solicitor is in the process of changing the details for the commercial tenant, but based on the information I received hasn't served notice on the residential tenant for change of ownership. This is something I now need to address.

    As far as I am aware S21 can be issued. I will also discuss this with my solicitor.

    Update - I've discussed the S21 with my solicitor and he has recommended that the agent issues it and the S3.

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    When does tenant state they 1st moved in?  If early enough - before 27 February 1997 - it will be an AT or even earlier - before 15 January 1989 - a "rent act" tenancy so not AST so no s21. Yes, even of there's a shiny new signed AST...

    Even if they moved in after 27th February 1997 unless you have ALL relevant paperwork - including proof of service for much of that - then any s21 will be invalid anyway. Check agent's s21 against -

    https://nearlylegal.co.uk/section-21-flowchart/

    Have you served s48 & s3 notice(s)?  If not you ain't yet fully landlord: No s48 then no rent due, no s3 possible criminal offence & fines.

    I'd get that lot sorted before exploring if a tenant has or has not served any notice...

    NB If they  did move in after 1997 but paperwork a mess or uncertain then offer them a new 6-month AST & all paperwork at a reduced rent (yes,, bear with me..).  That way paperwork sorted and s21 becomes an option after 6 months.  Otherwise you are ****ed.

    Thinks: Why did vendor sell without vacant possession: What on earth would make him do that..... hhhmmmnnnnnnnn.....

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    S3 and S48 issued or being issued today (well within 2 months and not needed until today's change in information) followed by S21. Tenant moved in 1 year ago on a 12 month AST, property vacant prior to this.

    Solicitor advised that LA issuing these documents is adequate (I was happy to pay solicitor if necessary).

    Solicitor is in the process of issuing the necessary documents for the commercial tenant.

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    Sounds good: LA may of course issue documents on your behalf but that s21 may be invalid - check it yourself against documents vendor/LA has given you.  There are rather way too many examples of letting agents getting paperwork wrong: Took me 6 months to get my letting agent to understand about (I was living in Scotland at the time) giving tenant an address in England or Wales (kind basic..) and my son & his two flat-mates were issued with s21 by agent for landlord planning on selling on s21 expiry:  s21 was invalid (3 reasons from memory...) but agent kept swearing blind it was fine: Then pennies dropped. 


    What commercial tenant? Same building or same person, different tenancy?

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    Its a mixed use property. 1 commercial tenant and 1 separate residential tenant. I'm about to start conversion of a third unit into residential.

    I've got copies of all the documents provided by the auction house, AST, Lease, EPCs, etc. but I am not a legal expert.

    To answer your previous question; the property was auctioned last year but failed to sell. I believe the tenancy was set up to make the property more attractive for the auction as it was fully tenanted (almost)

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    Does the AST specify that the tenant needs to give notice if leaving on the last day of the AST?

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    No. The AST just states a start and end date. Once periodic the tenant must give at least 1 full month notice ending on the last day of a period.

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