Here is a question to the blog clinic from Steven (not his real name) who is a tenant.
We are buying a leasehold flat with a tenant family in situ. The current owner has been lax (or kind) and never put the rent up since they moved in in June 2007, and the family are paying around £1000 per month.
The market rent is now £1700 per month. The current owner could not face evicting the tenants and so we had to say we would purchase the property as seen.
We have reason to believe that the current tenant cannot afford any more rent. We would like to evict them so that we can get a new tenant who will pay market rent.
Do we have the right to serve them notice as soon as we complete on the property? What are our rights and what are theirs?
A bit of an emotive issue this, but landlord phobes need to take on board that a landlord is a private individual and cannot really be expected to subsidise their tenants.
When you buy a property with a tenant ‘in situ’ basically you are just substituted for the existing landlord – the phrase generally used is that you ‘stand in the shoes’ of the original landlord.
There are a few exceptions. For example a landlord by purchase cannot use the mandatory ground 6 (based on major building works) to evict tenants. But on the whole, your rights are those of the previous landlord.
The tenants’ rights also remain the same – the only difference is that the identity of their landlord has changed.
As these tenants moved into the property in 2007 they will have an assured shorthold tenancy – I assume there is no dispute over this.
In which case, you will be able to serve your section 21 notice and then evict the tenants in the normal way after the notice period has expired.
Note that the only time I was ever in this situation when I did eviction work, the Judge set the case down for a hearing after seeing that the landlords had changed, but we got our order for possession at the hearing.
First though you will need to serve a notice on the tenants notifying them of the change of landlord and giving any new instructions for the payment of rent. Then get your section 21 notice served afterwards.