This is a question to the blog clinic from Tom who is a tenant.
Me , my partner and 2 our sons have been renting a house from private landlord for nearly 5 years. A, couple of days ago we have been told that house is going for sale, and when the sale happens we will have a month to move out.
Our contract 5 years ago was for 6 months and after we didn’t sign anything else, ,just paid rent every month and lived there happily.
I wanted to ask if we have some rights to stay at home until we will be ready to move out , it may take longer than a month.
This often happens. The short answer is that your landlord has NO right to make you leave against your will, unless he has a court order for possession. He cannot require you to leave on just one month’s notice.
As your original fixed term ended quite a few years ago, you will now have a ‘periodic tenancy’ which will run from month to month (as you pay rent monthly).
To be able to evict you, your landlord would first need to:
Serve a section 21 notice
This must give you not less than two months notice. However it does not actually end your tenancy – the main significance of the notice is that if you don’t move out and your landlord goes to court for a possession order, the Judge (assuming the paperwork is correct) cannot refuse to make the possession order.
Note that if you paid a deposit and if the deposit was not protected properly or the prescribed information was not served on you – your landlord cannot serve a valid section 21 notice until he has complied with the rules (which include in most cases refunding the deposit money to you).
Apply to court for an order for possession
If the section 21 notice has been properly drafted and served, he should be granted his order. This process will take in the region of 2 months.
Arrange for a bailiffs (or sheriffs) appointment
This is the stage where you have to move out, as the bailiffs (or the sheriffs if they are used) have the authority to physically evict you from the property.
It can take between 2 to ten weeks for the bailiff’s appointment to be made. The landlord cannot apply until the date for you to leave in the possession order has passed.
As you can see, you have the legal right to remain in the property for some time to come. If your landlord is trying to make you leave without following the procedure, that is harassment which (under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977) is a criminal offence.
Your rights are not changed in any way simply because the landlord wants to sell the property. If he wants to give the purchaser vacant possession he will have to deal with evicting you first.
If your landlord continues to give you grief, then you can complain to your Local Authority housing advice service and they should write to him for you.
If you need any further help, there is a list of some services you could use here.