What Should I Do if A Landlord Sells My Home?

Renting a property comes with many advantages; it’s cheaper in the short term, and means you aren’t locked into a long-term commitment. But sometimes a landlord wants to sell the property you’re renting, and you might not be sure what rights and support are available to you. In this article we’ll go through some common scenarios, what rights you have as a tenant, and who you can talk to if you’re worried about your future.

The following advice applies to people renting and letting in England. People renting and letting elsewhere in the UK have slightly different procedures.

Why might a landlord sell a property?

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Typically, landlords sell for the following reasons:

· They’re retiring, and don’t want or need the income from a rental property.

· They don’t want to manage your property (or any property) any longer.

· The property is being foreclosed on. This means that the landlord hasn’t been able to make a mortgage payment (or other cost, like a property tax). The mortgage lender can then sell a property to pay off the debt, and evict you (with proper notice) if you started renting after the mortgage was signed.

Having tenants in a property can make it easier to sell. If a landlord sells to another landlord, for example, a live-in tenant is a guaranteed income for the new owner.

However, it is also common for a landlord to need to move back into a house. This is normally achieved through a Section 21 notice to quit, but if a prior notice was served, tenants may be evicted under a Section 8 notice instead.

Who will buy the property?

In the majority of cases, a new landlord will buy the property and simply step into the role of your previous landlord.

Typically the new buyer takes on the responsibilities of the landlord, which means you can stay in the property. However, they may bring round other people as part of the property-viewing process, which can be disruptive.

A tenant can serve notice straight away if they are told a landlord wishes to sell, so long as they have completed their initial term.

How do property viewings work for me?

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At Quantum, we aim to be as discreet as possible when it comes to property viewings.

We aim for one viewing slot per week, and normally schedule this on a weekend in the afternoon. This allows tenants to vacate the property, knowing the agent will accompany any viewer and their daily life won’t be interrupted.

If a new landlord is coming round to see the property, we’ll give you plenty of warning and try to fit their visit into your schedule.

In any case, landlords in the UK must give 24 hours’ written notice before visiting a property. This covers any reason for the visit, including property viewings. This rule can be waived in emergencies, such as your home needing urgent repairs.

What if the owner wants me to leave?

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If the new buyer doesn’t want to act as your landlord, or the landlord wants the property for his own purposes, they can ask you to leave. The landlord doesn’t have to tell you why they’re taking the property back, but they do have to observe these criteria:

·  Your deposit is in a deposit protection scheme.

·  You’ve received 2 months’ notice and a specific departure date.

·  Your departure date is at least 6 months after when you first moved in.

·  You aren’t being asked to leave before the end of a fixed-term tenancy.

·  You haven’t made any complaints to your local council about your living conditions.

·  The council hasn’t said they’ll make any improvements or emergency works on the property in the last 6 months.

If a landlord can meet all these criteria, they can evict you. The exact process is different depending on your tenancy type and your behaviour.

If you break the terms of your tenancy, e.g. by not paying your rent, a landlord can serve you with a Section 8 notice.

If the landlord just wants you out for another reason, and you haven’t done anything wrong, they can serve you with a Section 21 notice instead.

How does a Section 8 notice work?

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Landlords wishing to serve a Section 8 notice must fill out a form called Form 3 and send it to you.

They must specify what term of the tenancy their tenant has broken; failure to pay rent is one of the most common. Depending on what term you’ve broken, a landlord can give you between two weeks’ and two months’ notice.

How does a Section 21 notice work?

Landlords can use a Section 21 notice to remove a tenant with either a fixed-term or periodic tenancy. They can’t evict you before the end of a fixed-term tenancy, unless there’s a specific clause in your contract that says otherwise. If you have a periodic tenancy (which doesn’t have a fixed end point) you’re permitted to stay for any time covered by your last rent payment. In either case, your landlord must give you two months’ notice of their wishes.

A landlord who wants to issues a Section 21 notice must observe the rules we discussed earlier for evicting someone. They must also make sure they have an HMO licence if they’re running a House in Multiple Occupation, and that they’ve given their tenants all the documents they’re entitled to. This includes the how to rent guide, the building’s Energy Performance Certificate and the latest gas safety record.

If all these conditions are met, the landlord should fill out Form 6A and send it to their tenant. They should write their name and the date on this to prove they sent it to you.

What happens if I don’t leave when asked to?

If a tenant refuses to leave a property, the landlord can use one of two possession orders to make them leave.

Standard possession orders can be used to get a property back from tenants who owe rent. They can’t be used if a tenant has broken the terms of a lease in some other way.

Accelerated possession orders can be used on people who haven’t left after the date in a Section 21 notice. If this happens, the court will send you a copy of the application, and you typically have two weeks to respond to it. After this, the court will either issue an order that says you must leave, or—if you raise an important issue—have a court hearing. Court hearings can still result in orders to leave.

Beyond this, landlords can ask a court for a warrant for possession. If the court agrees, you’ll receive an eviction notice. If you still don’t leave, you can be forcibly removed. Landlords must pay various fees at each stage of the eviction process.

What happens if I’m in a property that’s being foreclosed?

You may have a right to stay in the property if:

· The landlord’s lender agreed to or recognised the tenancy

· The landlord had a buy-to-let mortgage

· You were living there when the mortgage was granted

If this doesn’t apply, the lender will apply for a repossession order. If this happens, the lender can then evict you.

Before granting a repossession order the court will hold a hearing. Tenants can attend this to tell the court about their situation. The lender must tell you about this hearing; they’ll send you a letter within five days of them knowing the hearing date. Look for a letter addressed to the tenant or occupier.

If the court grants a repossession order, you can ask for your eviction to be delayed for up to two months. You won’t be able to do this if you’re a lodger, live in the same building as your landlord (i.e. that isn’t a block of flats) or if you don’t pay rent.

If a lender does decide to become your landlord, and wants to evict you later, they must follow all the same rules for eviction that a standard landlord does.

I’m a tenant that isn’t being treated fairly. Who can I talk to?

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If you’re in a managed let, speak to your estate agent about your concerns. At Quantum, we ensure we have positive relationships with both our landlords and tenants. If a dispute should arise, we listen to both parties to ensure we achieve the most suitable outcome for everyone involved.

Alternatively, you can speak to Citizens Advice. This organisation provides detailed information and support on a variety of problems.  These include rights at work, family matters and housing issues. You can read their Housing section here, or browse this page for their contact details if you want to speak to someone directly.

You can also apply to a tribunal if you’re having a housing dispute. Tribunals are independent of the government, and they’ll listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision. A tribunal can take the form of either a public hearing or a series of written correspondence. In either case you’ll get a response within six weeks, and in some cases you can appeal the decision.

We hope this article helps to set your mind at ease if you’re in a rented property. Remember that in the majority of cases when a rented home is sold, someone who wants to take on a live-in tenant buys it.

If you’re a Quantum tenant and you’re worried about anything mentioned in this article, please do contact our team to discuss. We’re here to help when it comes to all queries surrounding York properties.

If you’re looking for rented properties, you can browse our latest York rental properties here. We handpick all the housing stock we take on, to ensure you’re choosing from the very best properties in the York area. We’re upfront with all of our fees, allowing you to budget accordingly. Our team also works over the weekend, so you can view properties when it’s most convenient to you.

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Crucially, we also work to maintain positive relationships between landlords and their tenants. Our managed service means we can visit tenants frequently, and discuss any problems they might be having. This consistent communication ensures that our tenants are well-informed with what’s going on with the property. It also ensures any next steps are communicated promptly,  should the rented accommodation be sold.

We’re well-acquainted with the procedures around serving notice, collecting rent and much more. So you’ll never be left in the dark.

If you’ve any other questions visit our contact page, or call us on 01904 631631. 

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