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Serving notice to tenants

(13 Posts)
MrsY Mon 17-Apr-17 09:33:35

My husband and I rent out a house, which we are now selling to fund work on our own home.
The current tenants have been their for almost two years - initially with 12 month contract, which was not renewed.
When we put the house on the market, we were advised to serve a section 21 straight away, in case the house sold quickly, which we did (we have now gone past the two month notice period) however, we told them they could stay in the house until the property sold.
The house has now sold and we need to serve notice, but I can't find any guidance as to how long a notice period we need to give.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the house was rented by a family (parents and two teenage girls). The parents have since moved abroad to work, leaving the girls in the care of his uncle and aunt (who do not speak any English). We direct all post to the father, as the tenancy agreement is with him, and any other communication is via a family friend who acts as an interpreter.

specialsubject Mon 17-Apr-17 10:11:34

If the tenancy started before Oct 2015, the section 21 has not expired. If they won't go, which is of course perfectly legal, you need to start enforcement .

This will eventually remove everyone there. Assuming you are 100% on all your other obligations.

You have taken a big risk as the current occupiers are not your original tenants. Any insurers will love this.

fedupoffeckingschool Mon 17-Apr-17 11:09:17

If the house has sold then wouldn't it be up to the new owners to evict the tenants? You have no contract with the existing occupiers

daisygirlmac Mon 17-Apr-17 11:17:25

Was your notice served correctly? This is an absolute MUST if you need to start eviction proceedings.

I actually think you might need to speak to a solicitor ( one who specialises in evictions) as I think you might have unintentionally created a tenancy with the girls (assuming they are over 18). There's quite a lot of potential for this to be very hard work. How old are the girls and do the aunt and uncle live at the house?

specialsubject Mon 17-Apr-17 11:39:24

Unless the new owners are happy to buy it with tenants, there will be neither exchange nor completion until it is vacant. Guessing op means 'offer accepted'.

And daisy raises some other possible problems.

MrsY Mon 17-Apr-17 17:36:28

The girls are under 18.
Sadly, we were not aware that the parents had moved out until the house went on the market.
Yep, can't exchange until they go.
What I want to do is say 'you need to move, you have x day's but I guess as we served the section 21 and then said you can stay it's a bit more complicated than that.

Forgetting about the section 21 for a moment, if a contract has not been renewed, and it's just on a rolling basis, is it a month's notice? Less?

specialsubject Mon 17-Apr-17 19:00:44

No. From you it is two months. And still needs a section 21. And they don't have to go at the end.

I think you need to get some expert advice very soon.

specialsubject Mon 17-Apr-17 19:41:56

Let me try to clarify - the section 21 still applies so it is up to you when you start enforcement. There are no legal guidelines for that because it is assumed that you would begin enforcement when the s21 expired.

The house hasn't sold and won't until completion, which won't happen if they dont go.

I kept extending a sec 21 but there was a dialogue with the tenant so they knew when that would stop. And then the fun really began...

daisygirlmac Mon 17-Apr-17 21:03:16

Are the girls living there unaccompanied then? You do need specialist advice because this is a really sticky wicket, you certainly can't evict minors as they aren't technically tenants or occupiers - they have no legal standing.

user1487194234 Mon 17-Apr-17 21:11:18

Evicting tenants in normal circumstances is tricky enough Any small error in the papers can lead to the application being rejected
So in these very complex circumstances I advise you to rake legal advice asap

tribpot Mon 17-Apr-17 21:23:03

I agree. Legal advice. I think it could have been argued that the tenants had breached the contract by moving away but I think you probably shouldn't muddy the water with that now.

As per the Shelter website you would now be looking at court as the tenants (or at least some occupants) have overstayed the notice period, but as you invited them to do so, I think they could reasonably claim the S21 was not served validly.

I'm surprised someone has put an offer in with the tenants still in situ. What does your buyer think the situation is, that they're in the S21 notice period?

LastMangoInPeckham Tue 18-Apr-17 03:41:58

When we sold our house, our tenants were advised by the local authority not to leave, as to do so would render them intentionally homeless. They were to stay in residence until served an order by the bailiffs.

We therefore had to apply via the local magistrates for an order and then return to court to get bailiff order.

We were lucky as our buyers were keen and prepared to wait.

On a positive, we did all the whole process ourselves and did not need to use lawyers, we were super careful filling out forms and ensuring we followed procedures. You hear horror stories of courts rejecting applications because a landlord has not used correct wording on the initial letter giving notice, so double check that you have done.,

To get the bailiffs in, we used an accelerated service, which was a little expensive as it goes via the high court not the county one, but it meant the final stage was only a matter of days, not weeks.

It was a stressful experience as we had naively assumed our tenants would leave at the end of their notice period. I recommend you start the court process ASAP.

For us, the whole process from applying to court to tenants leaving was all done within under 2 months. I believe this in part depends on your local county court, some process court orders more quickly than others.

HTH and good luck.

specialsubject Tue 18-Apr-17 11:53:57

Worth noting that you can only have the high court bailiffs if the county court judge agrees. With almost no council houses they have a strong incentive to refuse.

Mine was a quick four months notice expiry to bailiff. In London you can be waiting up to a year. This timescale does not change if the rent is unpaid, the property trashed, the place a drug den or all three.

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