Here is a question to the blog clinic from AB who is a landlord
We had tenants move into our flat November 2013 on a standard 12 month AST. We have just had an offer on the property but the prospective buyer wants to live in it them self.
Where do we stand on giving the tenants notice? Could they simply refuse to move before the end of the tenancy agreement?
We are having financial problems and want to sell the flat ourselves rather than go down the repossession route.
I am afraid there is nothing you can do. legally, to get the tenants to leave before the end of the fixed term if they do not want to go.
One way to think of it, is that you have already ‘sold’ the right to occupy the flat – to your tenants – for 12 months in exchange for the monthly rent.
So you cannot sell the right to occupy the flat again during the period of the tenancy – as it is already sold. All you can sell is what you have at the moment - which is the right to receive rent and get the property back after the end of the fixed term.
Even at the end of the fixed term – if the tenants want to stay on they can. The only way you can force them to leave is by getting a court order for possession.
If the tenants fall into arrears of rent, you may be able to evict them during the fixed term. Otherwise you can only evict them after the fixed term is over by the usual section 21 procedure. You don’t get any special rights because you want to sell the property.
You can always see if the tenants will go if you pay them – although if you are in financial difficulties you may not be able to afford this.
The other alternative is to see if you can sell the property to another landlord as an ‘investment property’ with the tenants in situ. Someone over at the Property Tribes forum may be able to advise you about this.
If you want some free guidance on evicting tenants this site will help.