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Should You Worry if the Landlord Sells the Property You Rent ?

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last updated: 26 May 2016 report a problem

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Many tenants get confronted with news that their landlord wants to sell the property they live in. Sometimes, you might just receive a notification that this has already been done and you have a new landlord you know nothing about. As frighting this might seem, you don’t need to worry about it too much.

Typically, the person purchasing your landlord’s property is likely to keep renting it out. People who buy properties with tenants living in are likely landlords on their own or want to become one. It’s a great investment plan since the property is already occupied and income is available instantly. This also saves costs for marketing and letting agent fees, as well as cosmetic repairs and improvements. In this case, you, the tenant, don’t have anything to worry about.

However, your new landlord might have entirely different plans for the property and that might mean you will get evicted. It may be stressful at the time, but it’s important to stay collected. Regardless of what anyone might try to say, you still have your tenant rights.

Tenants’ rights in case of property sale

A lease is a legal interest in a property. If the ownership of the property changes, that interest is not destroyed. This means your tenancy will persist through and after the property sale. Tenants still benefit from all their tenancy rights as described by the law. None of them are limited, altered or restricted by the change of ownership.

You have a right to remain in the property for the entire fixed term period. The landlord, who purchases the property is forced to accept the sitting tenant at least until the fixed term is over. The landlord can still use eviction procedures against you, but they need to follow the established rules. You can read more on eviction below.

As a tenant, you also have a right to peaceful enjoyment of your rented property. Renters are free to close the door to everyone they don’t want in their home. You’re not obliged to let in estate agents, prospecting buyers or other persons for viewing purposes. The landlord can send you a 24 hour notice for a personal inspection of the premises. However, you’re still able to deny them entry. In fact, without a court order, you can even close the door to the police. Landlords are allowed to enter in cases of emergencies like fires or gas leaks.

Renters have a right to live in a safe and protected environment. Any repair problems must be reported to the landlord or managing agent. In turn, they (the landlord or managing agent) must cater to the repairs in due time. Regardless of selling the property, they must take responsibility for the repair and maintenance. This is enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Act from 1985 describe. Landlords can be held accountable before the courts if they allow for the property to become unsafe or hazardous to tenants.

So, the same rights apply regardless of the property’s ownership status.

How can you get evicted

Eviction procedures do not change through the sale of the property. The old or new landlord need to use the already defined eviction processes in the law. The law ensures landlords to always have a way to return in possession of the property. It is not an instant process, but landlords can successfully evict their tenants if they follow the appropriate legal path. But, it also allows for tenants to find alternative accommodation before that happens.

If you’re on a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy, while the property sale takes place, you have a right to remain in the property until the fixed term has ended.

To terminate a fixed term tenancy, landlords need to use one of the common mechanisms, if any of them applies:

  • Serve a section 21 eviction notice with a date taking effect on the last day of the fixed term and a minimum of two months between the date it is served and the date it takes effect
  • Serve a section 8 eviction notice if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement (e.g. has entered into rent arrears)
  • Obtain a possession from the court and have the county bailiffs to enforce it upon the evicted tenants
  • Make use of a special “break clause” in the tenancy agreement that allows them to end the contract early
  • End the tenancy with the agreement of the tenant / surrender of the rented property

When the fixed term expires, the tenancy, unless otherwise agreed, continues into a periodic tenancy. Periodic tenancies run from one month to the other and offer more flexibility to both landlords and tenants. If you rent the property using a periodic AST, landlords can use the standard eviction procedures.

To terminate a periodic tenancy, landlords need to use one of the common mechanisms, if any of them applies:

  • Serve a section 21 eviction notice with two months of time available between the date served and the date it takes effect
  • Serve a section 8 eviction notice in cases where the terms of the tenancy agreement has been broken (e.g. tenant engages in anti-social behaviour)
  • Obtain a possession from the court and have the county bailiffs to enforce it upon the evicted tenants
  • End the tenancy with the agreement of the tenant
  • The tenant has served a notice to end the tenancy

You cannot be evicted simply because the property is about to be sold. This is neither a reason to be evicted or a reason for the eviction to take an accelerated route. If the landlord wants you to leave the property, they must act within the boundaries of the law.

Otherwise, they might be engaging in an illegal eviction, which is a criminal offence and will be harshly punished by the courts.

Responsibilities of the landlord during the property purchase

Your new landlord doesn’t get any additional rights that the past one did not. The same regulations apply to them, as a landlord and you, as a tenant. If anything, they do get additional responsibilities during the transfer period.

Needless to say, landlords must secure their tenants’ rights as described by the law. The summary above does not exhaust the entirety of tenants rights.

The new landlord, or their solicitors, must check that the property and the tenant comply with the legal requirements for renting in the UK.

The tenancy deposit must be transferred to the new landlord. It must also be protected into a tenancy deposit scheme. If it wasn’t previously, then a new protection procedure must be made. Afterwards, prescribed information must be served to the tenant.

The landlord needs to check if all the safety inspections are in order. The gas safety check must be made annually and if it’s expired a new one must be performed by a gas safe registered engineer. Electrical safety checks must be made every five years. If there was a long time running tenant, the electrical safety check is likely to be expired. Energy performance certificate is valid for 10 years and must be re-assessed after that time has expired. The new landlord has to re-validate all relevant checks and documents and make improvements when necessary.

One very important requirement of landlords in situ is to actually notify their tenant of the property purchase. Under Section 3 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, if the landlord’s interest is transferred, the buyer must notify the tenant in writing of the transfer. The notice must include the landlord’s name, address and contact details. This notice must be sent no later than two months after the sale has been completed.


To summarise this article:

  • Tenants still have all their rights during a property sale
  • Landlords cannot just kick their tenants out because they want to sell the property
  • New landlords are obligated to perform an audit at the property’s safety checks, documents and transfer the deposit
  • New landlords need to notify the tenants that the property’s ownership has changed