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Letting agent just told me the flat we are moving in to on Saturday has been sold...

(31 Posts)
elliott Thu 16-Aug-07 17:11:54

Briefly - we are in the middle of a house move; the house we have bought is still a building site, and we are committed to movign out of our current house on Saturday. At short notice, we realised we were going to need to rent a place while the building work is finished. I signed the tenancy agreement yesterday - huge sigh of relief that we had somewhere to move to!
Today, letting agent calls to say that the landlord has just informed him that he has sold the property (well, intends to complete on the 31st). Clearly someone has made an almight cock up - but what is our legal position?
LA keen to get us to agree to move somewhere else, for the same (or less) money. But, our rental is on the same street as house we are moving to, so we would rather stick with what we have - but will they make our lives hell?

BetsyBoop Thu 16-Aug-07 20:31:34

check the terms of the tenancy agreement to be sure where you stand (eg were there any clauses about what happens if the house is sold? What notice do they have to give you to quit? - if it's only a month say, they could give you notice straight away & you'd be in a worse position in a couple of weeks)

If they don't have any "get out" clauses in there, then legally they have to fulfil the contract.

However that said, they could become a PITA as you said - it might be better to use your currently VERY strong negotiating position to get yourselves an excellent deal on somewhere else.

whomovedmychocolate Thu 16-Aug-07 20:36:08

Get a friend to call up posing as you 'legal representative' to ask them what the LA proposes to do to resolve the matter. Shoot for a very favourable rent - the LA gets at least 10% of the money anyway so they can bloody sort it out.

elliott Thu 16-Aug-07 21:07:47

Its an assured shorthold tenancy and they made us sign for the full six months (we really wanted less). So we have said we would be prepared to accept a 3 month tenancy - I suspect the LA is trying to either pursuade the landlord to take this or is trying very hard to find another property for us (thing is, we don't really want anywhere else - this was the perfect location). I'd really just love to know how this has happened - seems inconceivable to me that they didn't know landlord was trying to sell, or that the landlord didn't tell them he had an offer!
I'll check if it says anything about the house being sold in the contract.

whomovedmychocolate Thu 16-Aug-07 21:12:48

Sounds like the landlord didn't tell the LA. But that's his silly fault not yours. I don't suppose the LA has something else in that street (preferably for twice as much rent but which they will do for you at the same rent?)

QueenofBleach Thu 16-Aug-07 21:16:42

YOu have signed a legally binding contract, if the owner was looking for tenants while trying to sell this should have been made clear to any prospwctive buyers, you are ina a very strong position.

BigGitDad Thu 16-Aug-07 21:57:31

I'd get some legal advice here as you have signed a legally binding contract. If it was the other way round you'd be out of pocket.

Kaz33 Thu 16-Aug-07 22:07:04

If the house has been sold then the new owner is legally obliged to honour the contract. All that has happended is that you have a new landlord.

It is not unusual for buy to let properties to be sold with sitting tenants.

elliott Thu 16-Aug-07 22:41:21

OK, so I can just sit tight then? And hope that this will actually play to our advantage in that they will be keen to see us out in 3 months?
No idea whether the buyer is a landlord or wants to live in the property btw. But if it was a landlord, surely there would be no prob with us being there and the LA wouldn't be desperately trying to get us out?

QueenofBleach Thu 16-Aug-07 22:51:46

The property would have been sold with either tenants in situ or tenants in waiting, is illegal to sell preperty in either case without warning prospective tenant/current tenant or buyer.

Lorayn Thu 16-Aug-07 23:10:08

You have to legally be given two months notice to quit to leave any home you have a tenancy agreement with, no matter how long you have been there. I think legally you are entitled to stay for at least this long but I would check it out.

whomovedmychocolate Thu 16-Aug-07 23:23:53

I just looked up the answer here

The salient lines would be:
As an assured shorthold tenant you have the right to stay in the accommodation until the fixed term ends unless your landlord can convince the court there are reasons for eviction, for example, rent arrears, damage to property, or that one of the other terms of the agreement has been broken. You can stay on after the end of the fixed term, even if the agreement is not renewed, until your landlord gives you notice.

elliott Fri 17-Aug-07 10:18:02

Well presumably the landlord didn't tell the buyer or there wouldn't be the fuss about trying to get us out.
Its all gone very quiet now (not heard from LA since about 4pm yesterday) so I wonder if this 'sale' has vanished as quickly as it appeared. Landlord sounds very flakey (and that's the charitable interpretation). suspect now we will be landed with the full six months tenancy anyway.

CountessDracula Fri 17-Aug-07 10:19:41

Why not offer to find somewhere else if they buy you out of the contract (ie give you 6 months rent!)

elliott Fri 17-Aug-07 10:22:30

Because then we'll have nowhere to live! We have to be out tomorrow, we want to go to this flat because it is literally about 50m from the house we're doing up, but we don't really need somewhere for the whole 6 months (3 would be ideal). I can't get my head around going somewhere else at this stage....but I have a feeling they are going to make the whole tenancy awkward for us and somehow extract 6 months rent for 3 months occupancy....
blardy estate agents.

Lorayn Fri 17-Aug-07 10:32:36

I'm not sure what your legal rights are on ending a tenancy early, I know a landlord has to give two months notice, but I'm not sure about the tenant, maybe that is something you should look into. Take you tenancy agreement to the local citizens advice, they should be able to help.

whomovedmychocolate Fri 17-Aug-07 10:34:36

Look it's going to cost the landlord a lot more to go to court for breach of contract for the sale and then to get you out than it six months rent. Is your stuff going into storage? Make him pay for that too and stay in a hotel for a week while you sort it out.

hadthebuildersin Fri 17-Aug-07 10:34:58

SOunds like your best bet it to stay put. The new owners have to honour your tenancy agreement.

In any event, if your current landlord has just accepted the offer, he hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of completing before the 31st!

whomovedmychocolate Fri 17-Aug-07 10:36:51

Elliot they can't extract rent if they can't fulfill the contract. GO to the LA, state you are moving in tomorrow, any interference will be considered harassment and that you will call the police if the landlord gives you any hassle. You are within your rights to do this!

elliott Fri 17-Aug-07 10:36:56

We have no legal right to end the tenancy early - I have signed a 6 month lease and legally both sides are obliged to fulfill that. So that is good in that we can ultimately stick to that and decide we are moving into this place, but IF this story about a buyer is true, perhaps we can use it to shorten the tenancy and make everyone happy.
Its just making an already stressful situation much more stressful. I had planned to go and clean the flat this morning, but I don't know whether its worth it. I don't know whether to phone BT to organise the telephone line. I could just do without the conflict and stress really.

elliott Fri 17-Aug-07 10:40:34

Yes hadthebuildersin, I have been thinking that too. I don't know, lots about this story doesn't add up. I just hate having to deal with smarmy people I don't trust.
I have decided just to get on with the process of moving - I mean, if the guy hasn't even got the courtesy to phone this mornign to let me know what is going on, then what is he playing at really?
Desperately want to get into the new house now.

Ladymuck Fri 17-Aug-07 10:46:06

Sorry to ask the obvious, but the landlord had signed the tenancy agreement too hadn't he?

elliott Fri 17-Aug-07 10:49:30

The agent had signed the agreement, not the landlord. I think he lives a long way away - I've had no contact with him and know the agent was having trouble contacting him about the tenancy last week. the problem is clearly between the landlord and the letting agent - I don't know who is at fault as I'm clearly not party to the information. But I am slightly concerned that if the agent was in the wrong, the tenancy may not be legally viable.

Lorayn Fri 17-Aug-07 10:55:19

If the agent has signed your tenancy agreement, and the landlord had previously singed an agreement with the LA, I should think it stands. I am currently letting a house and my landlord has never signed my tenancy agreement.

elliott Fri 17-Aug-07 10:57:15

Yes, but I just worry that perhaps the agreement between the LA and the landlord isn't robust - still, as long as I haven't heard anything, I guess that must be good news. I'm going round now to clean it up and get it ready...

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