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Want to sell, what notice, ethically, should we give longterm tenants?

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Author Topic: Want to sell, what notice, ethically, should we give longterm tenants?  (Read 175 times)
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« on: October 25, 2021, 12:33:00 PM »

We moved out 9 years ago and, as 'accidental' landlords, rented that property through an agent to a family. They've been there ever since. We have no other rental properties. We now need to sell that property.
The contract allows for either side to give a month's notice. I know I could ask our letting agent these questions but although they're ok on a day to day rental basis, I don't feel entirely confident in their knowledge, advice or reaction to more major issues  :(
So, my questions are, please :
a) what our legal notice period is (a month seems, legally, awfully short for such longterm tenants);
b) what do you think is an acceptable notice period from a moral point of view for a longterm tenant family with 2 children;
c) what happens, legally, if they haven't moved out at the end of whatever notice period we've given?
Thank you very much!
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2021, 01:53:41 PM »

The contract allows for either side to give a month's notice.

No, you can't do that... that much is certainly a term in your contract that's overridden by statute. They can give you 1 month, but you can't do that to them.

As you said yourself in a). If they are in a statutory periodic tenancy (rolling, month-to-month) then you must give at least 2 months notice (until recently it was a lot longer, due to Covid).

Morals and ethics.. it's surprising to hear this kind of question, but I like it... I would give them as much notice as possible... likely not in the form of Notice (if that makes sense)... make them aware of your plans, make them aware of what you're trying to do - make them aware you won't be looking to sell them on to another Landlord as a "job lot"... then give them time to prepare and maybe serve your notice when the time is right for you... I mean... isn't winter known as not the best time to be selling anyway? Maybe you could advise them now but say you'll not look to actually do anything until early 2022 or something/

And then c) is going to be your real trouble... if they stay on after the Notice period then you'll need to proceed with an eviction. By this time the relationship is likely to have broken-down, if they are looking for social housing then the Council will advise them to stay put... if you've sold the house with vacant possession then your troubles will only mount and the sale could easily fall-through. So... lesson 1... if you are not selling to a like-minded Landlord... then ensure you get vacant possession before agreeing a sale / Completion date.

It situations like this it's always a pity the Tenants cannot buy themselves in... they might not want to, of course... but you certainly do realise, and appreciate, that 9 years is excellent, beating the UK average by a long way.
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2021, 01:56:10 PM »

I am assuming any Deposit taken at the commencement of the tenancy has been protected throughout?
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2021, 02:45:12 PM »

I am assuming any Deposit taken at the commencement of the tenancy has been protected throughout?
I believe so....but will try to check :-\
Thank you for your very helpful reply.
The tenants get a very good deal and are in a very sought after location so may have problems finding anywhere that ticks all their boxes...which may make them bolshy about leaving at all. I feel we're slightly stuck between a rock and a hard place - i.e. if we give them too much notice, informal or otherwise, they might get to the point where they decide just to dig their heels in.
The annual review of the monthly rent is due soon so maybe we should be tougher so that there won't be such a gap between their rent and similar other properties. The agency usually suggests a very low increase (weirdly) which we've gone along with as, up to now, we haven't wanted the tenants to move, or demand new carpets etc!
I think when we sell it would probably sell to a professional landlord or developer as it is in need of refurbishment/remodelling but is in a very specific and desirable place.
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2021, 02:56:47 PM »

Selling to a professional Landlord or Developer would usually mean under market price... as these people like to haggle. But if you could sell to another Landlord who was willing to "step into your shoes" then the issue just evaporates.

I would check the Deposit angle ASAP as you admit you don't know the lay of the land (this will obviously alert the Agent to your plans if they're unaware today)... it's only when Tenants are served notice that they start to Google themselves... and if the answer is "no, it wasn't protected" then that could be rather challenging (especially if the Agent has been renewing fixed term tenancies annually - you aren't specific on this aspect).
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2021, 08:31:14 AM »

I would check the Deposit angle ASAP as you admit you don't know the lay of the land (this will obviously alert the Agent to your plans if they're unaware today)... it's only when Tenants are served notice that they start to Google themselves... and if the answer is "no, it wasn't protected" then that could be rather challenging (especially if the Agent has been renewing fixed term tenancies annually - you aren't specific on this aspect).
Thank you - I'll look into that. Until now, I thought Deposit Protection was just a thing to protect tenants to make sure their Landlord didn't spend it and then be unable to pay it back but I didn't know about the 30 days bit 😬
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2021, 09:27:29 AM »

Just make sure you're covered and understand all eventualities... obviously your Tenants of 9 years aren't likely to go investigating the situation now. That could certainly happen when they're served notice and Google - "what happens at the end of a tenancy" or something like that, or (as often happens) a conversation with someone down the pub who has a passing familiarity - "oh, I heard they have to give you 3x the Deposit amount, it's easy". I'm not even saying anything has been done wrong, or not done at all... I'm just saying you should find out, because the consequences can be hard-hitting and you don't want to be caught by surprise.

I'm sure all is fine.
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2021, 09:28:54 AM »

Has your Agent been signing them up to a new fixed term tenancy each year?

Or 9 years ago did they sign an initial fixed term and when that finished have they been on a periodic tenancy for the last 8 / 8.5 years?
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2021, 07:00:56 PM »

Where are you located? And how much is the house worth with tennant in situ?
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