Sitting tenants’ rights
I had an email from a distressed tenant recently who said that she had a protected tenancy but that the property had recently been sold and her new landlord was trying to make out that her tenancy did not exist anymore.
Far from it. Although it is certainly not unknown for new landlords to have unrealistic ideas about their rights over sitting tenants.
Here are some home truths.
- Selling a flat subject to a tenancy or lease does not end the tenancy or lease. As I have written earlier, a tenancy / lease is a legal interest in the property. It cannot be destroyed by a change of landlord.
- The landlord does not get any new powers to deal with or evict the tenant that the previous landlord did not have. He ‘stands in the shoes’ of the original landlord and is bound by the tenancy in a similar way
- Indeed, not only does he have no extra benefits – your landlord is actually in a WORSE position, as some grounds for possession do not apply to landlords by purchase. In particular ground 6 which is the mandatory ground which allows the original landlord to recover possession if he needs vacant possession in order to do substantial building works.
- So you if your landlord sells the building where you live on to a developer – he will find it difficult to evict you without re-housing you.
- Your landlord may also find it difficult to prove which tenancy type you have or what notices were served on you in the past. As he did not own the property then and may not be able to prove anything.
So what can a new landlord do?
- If the property is an AST, he can serve a s21 notice and evict you under the accelerated procedure (although see the comment below), but
- If you have a protected or assured tenancy he will find it hard to evict you (unless you fall into arrears of rent)
- He can increase your rent provided he follows the proper procedures
Of course he can also try to make your life a misery if he really wants you to go – but if you have a secure tenancy he can’t actually evict you, unless he provides you with suitable alternative accommodation.
So don’t let him bully you!
If you need legal help, here are some places you can try.