Are you considering buying a property subject to an existing assured shorthold tenancy?
Then bear in mind that before doing so, certain considerations need to be taken into account by your solicitor.
Your solicitor’s duty to you, the client, is (as always) to ensure your position as the buyer is adequately safeguarded, particularly if having purchased the property it is your wish to evict the tenant. The last thing you want is to discover that you cannot evict the tenant unless they are in breach of the terms of that tenancy.
Where the tenant is in breach of the terms of their tenancy, you as the landlord can serve a Section 8 Notice upon the tenant, seeking the eviction of the tenant.
But what if the tenant is not in breach and you simply want the tenant out of the property?
In such circumstances, a Section 21 Notice will have to be served on the tenant, ending that assured shorthold tenancy.
It is important to establish the type of tenancy that the tenant has before attempting to serve a Section 21 Notice, as they only apply to assured shorthold tenancies.
Your solicitor will need to check the following:
1. Has a deposit been paid by the tenant and has that deposit been protected by the seller in compliance with the requisite regulations?
Any deposit paid to either the landlord or the landlords agent must be protected in an approved scheme within 30 days of it being paid, and the tenant must then receive specific information in return, also within that 30 day period.
Hefty fines will be levied on the landlord for failure to comply. As the purchaser, (and as the tenants new landlord) you will also need to comply with the legislation within 30 days of the benefit of the deposit being transferred to you, be that directly by the seller or via the approved scheme.
2. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be given to the tenant at the earliest opportunity.
If the seller has not done this, then it is recommended that the EPC is sent to the tenant THE DAY YOU PURCHASE THE PROPERTY.
3. The law now states that the tenant MUST be given a Gas Safety Certificate before any new tenant occupies the property.
Your solicitor must therefore check that the tenant received this before their tenancy commenced. If they did not receive it, you as the buyer will NOT be able to evict the tenants under a Section 21 Notice.
4. Your solicitor will check if any “Improvement Notice” has been served on the tenant.
If it has, then you as the purchaser (and new landlord) cannot serve a Section 21 Notice for 6 months or until the necessary works have been fully completed.
These are just a few of the checks your solicitor will need to carry out on your behalf if you are to purchase the property subject to an existing tenancy.
Do you have a question regarding Assured Tenancy Shorthold?
If you’d like more information, please contact our experienced Conveyancing Solicitors.