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  • Buy-to-Let

    Can you serve s21 immediately after purchase?

    I want to buy a tenanted property but want to get rid of the tenant as soon as the sale completes. The tenant is on benefits and I don't want to keep them.

    I was under the impression that, as soon as I complete, the tenants by default go on a new tenancy which must last 6 months before s21 expires.

    However, the estate agent is telling me that I can serve s21 on day of completion with it expiring 2 months after completion. When I asked what happens if I need to go to court (most likely), he said I can supply the court with the tenancy agreement the previous owner had. I thought the previous tenancy agreement becomes invalid as soon as ownership changes.

    This doesn't sound right to me. Can someone more knowledgeable please confirm?
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    Firstly you should add this requirement in to what your solicitor is managing for you as part of the purchase.

    Most important is to get a copy of the current AST (via the sellers solicitor to your solicitor so you have recourse if it turns out to be "fake"). You also need details of the deposit (if any) and proof it was correctly protected. A mechanism for this deposit to pass to you has to be worked into the purchase.

    On purchase, you will step into the shoes of the current landlord, taking on the current tenant and all the obligations, subject to the details in the current AST. You will first need to serve formal S48 notice to the tenant, giving your details as the new landlord (again, get your solicitor to do this). You can then legally receive rent from the tenant and also serve other notices, including S21....maybe.

    Whether or not you can serve a S21 on purchase depends on the AST - specifically when it was entered into and what the fixed period is/was. There are also other requirements before a S21 is valid - the list of these depends on when the AST was entered into.

    Also, you need to know that a correctly served and valid S21 merely notifies the tenant that you would like them to leave. If they don't, you will need to apply to the court for possession and possibly go all the way to bailiff eviction. In total this might take 6 months or more from when you complete on the property. Make sure you can weather this potential storm.

    Note that an LHA tenant may well go to the council on receipt of the S21 seeking a council house. The council will advise them to stay put until evicted.....

    Get a copy of the AST before you spend any other fees or commit to buy!
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    The tenant is on a periodic AST. The current landlord is able to serve s21 but he hasn't as he just wants to sell.

    My question is, if I serve s21 upon completion, will it expire 2 months later, or 6 months later?
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    (12-12-2015 08:44 PM)BTL Wrote:  The tenant is on a periodic AST. The current landlord is able to serve s21 but he hasn't as he just wants to sell.

    My question is, if I serve s21 upon completion, will it expire 2 months later, or 6 months later?


    If the seller wants to sell and you want to buy, you can insist and make it a requirement that the property should be purchased with vacant possession (if I say it right), so NO tenant. Otherwise you are not buying it. Simple
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    (12-12-2015 10:30 PM)MNL Wrote:  
    (12-12-2015 08:44 PM)BTL Wrote:  The tenant is on a periodic AST. The current landlord is able to serve s21 but he hasn't as he just wants to sell.

    My question is, if I serve s21 upon completion, will it expire 2 months later, or 6 months later?


    If the seller wants to sell and you want to buy, you can insist and make it a requirement that the property should be purchased with vacant possession (if I say it right), so NO tenant. Otherwise you are not buying it. Simple

    This seems like the best advice - if you are going to kick the tenant out, why tale the risk - tell existing owner to do it so that s21 can be issued asap - I would even tell them that I will exchange as soon as it is vacant quick completion thereafter. Or at the very least insist on vacant possession. Will be easier to get recourse from vendor than the tenant if things should go awry.
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    If you serve it after you have both served the S48 and ensured that there are no issues with deposit protection then 2 months.
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    When the property completes you will take an assignment of the tenancy as it is now. There is no new tenancy and no new six months security. You need to ensure the deposit is protected and serve the appropriate tenancy deposit protection information on the tenant and then you can serve an s21 notice.
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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.