A potentially tricky tenant in a place we might buy

(26 Posts)
kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 10:01:37

We have been house hunting for nearly 6 months and have been outbid on about 10 occasions. We've lowered our expectations and criteria and we are now at a point where we will pretty much buy anything to stop looking. The London market is still hectic at our end of budget (top end £450k) so we int have a huge number of options available to us. We currently spend the best part of £2k a month on rent so buying would mean reducing our outgoing a quite considerably.

Anyway, we saw a flat yesterday. It's in the right location and pretty cheap. We could see from the pictures that it was a bit of a state but we are quite open minded about doing work as we have lots of tradesman in the family.

We went along yesterday and I can honestly say I've never seen such a grim flat. We will have to see it again because there was so much crap and dirt everywhere we don't really know the size of rooms, condition of Windows / what is a supporting wall etc.

It's currently tenanted and I can only assume he's a hoarder. We met him and he spent the entire time highlighting past problems with the flat. It became clear that he isn't happy that the flat is being sold.

There's an issue in that the EA isn't sure what section of the garden is owned by the flat so that needs to be resolved but subject to the garden size being reasonable we will probably make an offer.

My main concern is getting the tenant out. He's hostile anyway (not aggressive but clearly not happy) and I think his hoarding of bizarre crap (doors, commercial carpet tiles, electric boxes hmm)suggests he might have a mental illness. Can you insist that the vendor gives the tenant notice as a condition of the offer I've read on here about people having to deal with evicting a tenant and I don't want that to be our issue.

I also feel guilty as the guy is clearly not going to be able to afford to rent a flat given the prices in the area - I would assume his rent is cheap given the condition of the flat - and as a long term tenant I know how it feels to be kicked out so the landlord can sell. But I don't want him to turn the entire buying process into a nightmare we'll regret. Does anyone know how it works?

Thanks.

Lighteningirll Thu 28-Apr-16 10:07:26

Make an offer but do not proceed until the flat is vacant and keep looking. I would make vacant tenancy a condition of offer AND a professional clean, say that as soon as vacancy is confirmed you will instruct your solicitor to proceed but not before. It could easily take three months so I am a little shocked that they have started viewings with a tenant in situ.

specialsubject Thu 28-Apr-16 10:13:32

You can't exchange until he has physically gone and that's the vendors problem. Could take six months and he may cause a lot more damage if he isn't happy.

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 10:18:45

Thank you. I'd imagine the landlord doesn't necessarily play by the rules if the state of the place is anything to go by.

I'm glad to hear we can make it a condition of the offer. The place needs a skip rather than a professional clean! We'd probably stay in our flat for a month post completion so we have time to make the place habitable.

I kind of hope the condition of the flat is down to the tenant because otherwise the vendor is a terrible landlord.

Pootles2010 Thu 28-Apr-16 10:20:17

I would view again once he is out, before you exchange. God knows what he will do to the place.

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 10:20:20

Oh I didn't realise you can't exchange until he's gone. But I guess if he's gone before we exchange and does cause more damage we could push for a reduction in sale price?

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 10:21:33

We are asking the EA if we can view without the tenant but the tenant was difficult about letting us view with him there so not sure how far we'll get with that.

TheLesserSpottedBee Thu 28-Apr-16 11:32:23

I would want the tenant out and the professional clean before I exchanged to be honest.

You need to see the state of the flat after he has left.

specialsubject Thu 28-Apr-16 11:32:25

you said the tenant is a hoarder, the mess sounds down to him. While it is terribly MN to blame the landlord, it isn't always the case.

you've no rights at all to view the place, the tenant has every right to refuse all viewings and certainly does not have to vacate for you. It is his HOME.

what you need to ask is : has the section 21 been issued? When does it expire? At that point the landlord can start the expensive and slow legals to evict.

(BTW as a tenant surprised you don't know all this!)

VimFuego101 Thu 28-Apr-16 11:37:01

This could drag on for a year or more - I had a family member in a similar position and the tenant made things very difficult. If the tenant is unable to afford another private rental, he will be advised to stay put in order to be eligible for a council/ LHA property. If he leaves the flat voluntarily he will be considered to have made himself homeless and they won't assist.

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 11:47:57

He's a hoarder special but that doesn't necessarily mean he's responsible for the state of the electrics / flooring / walls / state of the bay window etc.

I also don't know about the eviction process as I've never been evicted and haven't ever had a section. 21 notice served on me. I was conscious that there are processes hence my post. Every time one of my LL has sold, I've moved.

Sounds like we need to find out a lot possibly before we even offer. As I said, I feel sorry for the guy because he doesn't seem to be very well at all.

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 11:49:08

Oh and I did know he doesn't have to let us view it which is why I said I doubted we'd get to see it without him there.

specialsubject Thu 28-Apr-16 11:52:53

you gave the impression you didn't know about access rights.

so it is a poorly maintained dump with a tenant who is going to take a long time to evict and may well cause further damage. No wonder it is cheap.

There's desperate and there's insane. Keep looking!

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 11:56:59

I think we will definitely keep looking. I can't see the flat selling quickly if the tenant is always around offering his opinion on the place.

I'm still feeling wheezy from the lingering cigarette smoke I accidentally inhaled whilst viewing it.

314pDream Thu 28-Apr-16 12:02:13

Id go back with a lower offer!!

specialsubject Thu 28-Apr-16 12:02:49

it gets worse!

good call. You could be stuck waiting for this for ages. Tell the agent to let you know when the tenant has gone.

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 12:06:08

We've not made an offer yet and thanks to some of the comments here (especially about the eviction process) I think we are a long way away from doing it now.

The EA asked us what we thought of the property out of 10 and helpfully volunteered a 1 before we spoke. I was too afraid to look in the bathroom. It all does sound totally hideous now I'm writing it down!

Kidnapped Thu 28-Apr-16 12:11:27

"Can you insist that the vendor gives the tenant notice as a condition of the offer I've read on here about people having to deal with evicting a tenant and I don't want that to be our issue".

Yes, you can ask. But the tenant might decide to take no notice of it. The landlord would then have to start court proceedings. If the tenant is a vulnerable adult (and it sounds like he is) then that fact will complicate and delay things even further. He could still be there this time next year.

How long has the tenant been there? If he has been there since 1989 or before then he has a regulated tenancy and the landlord is unlikely to be able to get him out at all.

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 12:15:22

He's only been there a year. I think the EA is going to need to go on a fact finding mission as they seemed to know very little.

I could be wrong about his mental health be he just likes to collect weird shit but I just felt that the way he lives suggests that isn't the case.

Ah well, we are seeing more flats next week.

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 12:16:57

Here's the link to the flat. The pictures do not show the flat in its current state! It's super cheap for the road though. We lost out on a flat on the same road that went for over £420k.

Kings Grove, Peckham, SE15
http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-53927914.html

Kidnapped Thu 28-Apr-16 12:19:30

I'd strike this one off to be honest. And keep looking. Your idea of a doer-upper is a good one though.

And no to forking out £450K for a 1/10 flat where you daren't even look in the bathroom. Just no.

London prices are craaaaaazzzzzy.

Kidnapped Thu 28-Apr-16 12:23:36

That's it in its good state? grin

It does look lovely from the outside though.

kirinm Thu 28-Apr-16 12:27:00

I don't know how they managed to get those photographs because it doesn't look too bad (relatively speaking) but in real life you can see the wires and random pipes.

It is a shame because I'd love to make the flat as lovely as I know they can be.

EssentialHummus Thu 28-Apr-16 12:44:48

I'm not sure I'd be put off (yet) on account of the tenant, though I can't speak for the wiring etc.

If the chap moved in last year, and assuming the LL has done what he/she should have re registering deposit etc, and if the tenant was on a standard 6 month AST, then if you like it I'd be minded to put in an offer subject to vacant possession. But - S21 will take at least two months’ notice, possibly more as the notice must end on the last day of a ‘period of the tenancy’. If T. stays put, the vendor can get a solicitor to apply for accelerated possession. Round my way, that's another month. If T. still stays put, solicitor to arrange for bailiffs. You obviously can continue to look elsewhere in the interim to hedge your bets.

I'd probably go for it. But assume that nothing in the flat will work, that you will need to extend your own rental by months, and that your first job will be to get a skip into the front garden. From there it's a personal decision as to whether this is still a good deal for you.

Notyetthere Thu 28-Apr-16 12:54:16

Further up OP you asked whether you can't exchange contracts if tenant is still in occupation. The answer is yes you can exchange contracts but then you become the landlord and the eviction process becomes your problem. Whatever you do, don't exchange contracts until tenant is out.

I rather like the flat and I can see the potential.

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