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  • Legal FAQs

    Carry over Section 21 from previous landlord

    Hi everyone.

    If i have purchased a property with a tenant already in situ, and the previous landlord has already issued a section 21 three months ago.

    Can i use his or do I have to serve a new one and wait another 2 months?

    Also a second question:  If i have bought the 5 months arrears that the tenant owes from the previous landlord can i issue a section 8 immediately? so is it considered that the tenant owes me the rent arrears or is it considered as a seperate debt that was purchased unconnected to the property rent with regards to section 8?

    Thank you in advance

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    Why did you not sort this out before buying the property. Just shows the importance of doing full due dilly before buying. The previous landlord saw you coming a mile off and has now left you with his problem to sort out. First question is if there was a deposit was it protected by the previous landlord, if not sort it out before issuing any notice otherwise it will just be thrown out.

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    the deposit was protected with dps.  the estate agents managing it for previous landlord said that they gave the tennant the prescribed information,  although they don't have proof of this.

    Is this needed for a section 8?

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    First thing to do is check that the deposit is protected, just saying it is, means nothing get evidence. If they can't show proof of giving the tenants the prescribed information its pettey poor show and what else have they failed to do. I always get  tenants to sign they have the prescribed information. 

    Also get a copy of the rental agreement ( something you should have seen prior to buying) and read it through so you know terms and conditions etc. You do not want to go off issuing notices before making sure there is nothing detrimental in the agreement. Just remember a section 8 could be invalidated if they suddenly pay off an amount of the arrears and bring the total owed to less than 2 months .

    Also have you complied with all the regulations and responsibilities of the new landlord during the property purchase. transferred the deposit, re-validate all relevant checks and documentsie gas . elect certs.   

    One very important requirement of landlords in situ is to actually notify their tenant of the property purchase. Under Section 3 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, if the landlord’s interest is transferred, the buyer must notify the tenant in writing of the transfer. The notice must include the landlord’s name, address and contact details. This notice must be sent no later than two months after the sale has been completed.

    This sounds alot but is very basic when buying with tenants in situ. You need to make sure everything is correct so the tenants cannot wiggle out of their commitments.

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    thank you for replying. so

    1 there is proof of deposit by dps   but no evidence of prescribed information,  although i can probably get the previous managing agent to be a witness i am not sure if this will invalidate the whole section 21 as one needs proof of sending the prescribed info

    2 i have a copy of the tenancy  (it is just a standard one)

    3 i am not that worried about them paying up arrears as they owe 8 months worth.  what i am worried about is firstly that the debt is not in my name as its in previous landlords name.  i did purchase the debt from previous landlord but i don;t know if solicitor did it correctly as she hasn't got a deed of transfer rather its just scribbled in the contract x amount for property purchase and x amount for purchasing arrears.   second worry is tenant complaining about repairs and causing delays in section 8

    4i havn't yet transferred the deposit to my name as i was worried i would have to do another prescribed info and that would make more complications

    5 there is no gas and electrics don't need cert at moment.  I have not issued epc yet although he should have epc from prev ll

    6 i have sent a section 48 and section 47 and section 3  (i did all of them just in case)


    kind regards

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    When a property is sold with a tenant in situ, the buyer becomes "The Landlord" and takes to the position that existed prior to the purchase.  This therefore gives the new owner the right to pursue arrears (whenever they occurred) and any others failings or breaches.  The converse is that the new owner also has to take to anything done by their predecessor, so failure to provide compliance information will count against the new owner.  It is not possible to say "it wasn't me"; it was The Landlord and that is now you.

    When you purchased the property your solicitor should have insisted on all compliance documentation and evidence being provided or, alternatively advised you of the risk.  Where a property is mortgaged, the lender usually insists on this as well.

    Douglas is right about serving notice of new ownership; this is really something your solicitor should have done when the purchase was completed.  Only once this is done can you then enforce the tenancy agreement.

    Just be careful if pursuing arrears that you have an accurate record of how they are made up.  As you were not personally involved you need to have the vendor provide chapter and verse on them.  You don't want the tenant suggesting he paid the landlord cash in the pub on a Friday night (I once had this where the tenant said that's how he paid the previous agent!!).

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    thank you for your reply and good advice.  just one thing can i use the section 21 that the previous landlord issued 3 months ago.   I have googled this question but cannot find an answer.   does anyone know any legal guidance on this.

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    I'd be very surprised:


    And I doubt you have the evidence that THAT landlord complied with all that is required.


    In your shoes I'd have issued a fresh s21 after the s48, 47 & s3: (S3 did have your actual address??).  Suggest before issuing an s21 you check it against

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


    If you find you don't have the evidence to prove everything sorted (eg GSC served prior to start of original tenancy) then considered offering a new tenancy AT LOWER RENT with all paperwork sorted:  Tenant will sign: THEN you can serve valid s21.


    When does tenant say they 1st moved in? If early enough then s21 won't be valid, yes even if there's a shiny new AST signed and sealed...

    So are you relying on s3 of Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 to justify you being owed the arrears?  I'd think any half-brained solicitor for the tenant could get that debt to you chucked out.

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    If they owed 5 months rent when you bought the property and now owe 8 months rent then they owe 3 months rent from when you bought the property. Assuming rent is paid monthly then this is sufficient to issue a S8G8 notice.


    If the deposit was protected within the 30 day window then you can serve the PI and then serve a section 21 notice. If the deposit wasn't protected within 30 days then you can return the deposit or you can make an application to the court. Have a look at https://www.landlordsguild.com/serving-a-...-or-never/ for more details. You can still be liable for up to 3* deposit if it wasn't protected properly unless the tenant accepts the deposit back.

    The only document that you must serve before the tenancy starts to be able to serve a section 21 notice is the GSC (which is not a problem for you as you say you don't have gas). Any other document that should have been served before the start of the tenancy can be served before you serve the section 21. This is not saying that there won't be other penalties, just that you will be able to serve the section 21 notice. I am assuming that you don't have a gas boiler powering a shared heat system for multiple properties as that does require you to serve a GSC.

    I would recommend you re-serve all the documentation that should be served before the start of the tenancy such as the EPC, deposit PI, How to Rent booklet etc and then serve the S21 and S8 (on as many grounds as you can).

    If you sign a new tenancy agreement then you need to work out how much rent you will lose compared to how much you lose if you get hit with a fine on the deposit. I'm not sure if you can use rent owed from 2 separate tenancies as the grounds for a S8G8.

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