LL Given me 13 Days to Move Out Due to Sale of Flat

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  • LL Given me 13 Days to Move Out Due to Sale of Flat

    Hi there, I am a tenant with a problem - my LL has had the flat on the market for about a year and in the last month or two has found a buyer, she's now phoned me on the 30th of October informing me that I need to be out by the 12th of November.

    That is the short story - there are however additional factors that make this problem less straightforward. Are you ready?! Here we go..

    I took over a previous tenants place on the AST when I moved in and I signed a document saying that I was taking over from them, that was it - I have never signed a full contract with either the other tenants names (it's a three bed flat with three tenants including me) on or the LL's and when I moved in this contract was never made available to me to read (this was quite possibly a naive mistake on my part as I was told there was no other paperwork to see by the tenant moving out and i stupidly accepted that.)

    I moved in and took over the AST beginning of June and on 12th September the Fixed Term ended. At this point the contract states it turns into a rolling month by month agreement where each party must give a months notice. One of the tenants gave a months notice at this point and moved out on October 12th. I too was looking to move and because of this the remaining flatmate emailed the LL enquiring as to whether he would be expected to cover the entire flats rent, or just his share (because the flat was on the market it was not possible to find replacement tenants as there was no guarantee how long they would be able to stay - if the flat had not been sold by Dec the LL's were planning on taking it off the market and issuing a new AST and then new tenants would be found to move in). The LL replied by email that he would only need to pay his share of the rent.

    After not finding anywhere suitable to move to I decided to stay on at the flat. Shortly afterwards (beginning of October) we woke one morning to find a 'Sold" sign displayed outside the flat and I phoned my LL to find out what the story was. She said they had found a buyer but they didn't know how long it would take for the sale to be completed and assured me we would have at least one months notice to vacate the flat. On the 19th October I texted my LL 'Any news yet?' she replied 'You'll know as soon as I do, I think 12th December is a pretty safe bet for you to be out but it could be Jan the 12th'.

    On the 30th October, after receiving a voicemail from the LL asking to call, I rang the LL and was informed that I would need to be out of the flat by the 12th November due to 'complications' and 'mis-communications' with the lawyers. When I challenged this I was informed that my flatmate owed rent and because we were jointly liable for the TOTAL rent on the flat it meant they were only required to give us 2 weeks notice. However in contradiction to this and as mentioned above the LL had emailed the tenant in September saying he would only have to pay his share of the rent. Additionally I have since found out from the tenant who owes the rent that I took over the AST with him owing rent which I was not informed of when I moved in. The first I heard of him owing any rent at all was when the decided they wanted us out in less that 2 weeks!
    Currently I owe 1 months rent and I believe the other tenant owes 2 months. However a whole room has been empty with no-one paying the rent since 12th October. I am now reluctant to pay this month that I owe as I'm worried I will have a problem getting my deposit back (it might also be worth mentioning that the reason I am a month behind is because when I was planning on moving out in September my LL said she would take my final months rent from my deposit - she also changed her bank details and didn't inform me of the new ones. I emailed her on tShe 25th Oct asking if I owed any rent and requesting the new bank details. he replyed with just the details and no answer to my question regarding rent arrears).

    I was informed by the LL today that they will be issuing us with a Section 8 Notice tomorrow.

    It is very unlikely that I will be able to find somewhere to move to, pack all my belongings, clean the flat and be out by the 12th of Nov as I work 55+ hours a week.

    This may be irrelevant but I have actually spoken to the Buyer of the flat and she says that it is my LL that is rushing the process as she is in great financial difficulty (which I was informed of by the LL shortly after I moved in) and contrary to what my LL is telling me it is not the buyer but my LL who wants to complete the sale quickly. The Buyer is quite happy for the property to be vacated nearer the beginning of December as her tenants do not need to move in until mid-Dec. She also seems to think that we have a right to a months notice.

    Please does anyone have any advice? I would be grateful if anyone could tell me where I stand.. Thank you.

  • #2
    To begin with, don't panic. Even if you and your flatmates jointly owe at least two full months' rent (assuming it is a joint AST), then your LL cannot just force you out by 12th November. Even if she serves a written section 8 notice tomorrow and applies for a court order immediately, it is going to take her several weeks, not days, to get legal permission to re-possess her property. If you refuse to go when she has the court order, then she will have to instruct bailiffs to attend (best avoided if possible!); that will take even longer. Sit tight. If you can make the rent up to less than two months' owing, then her application will probably fail anyway. If this happens she will have to serve a section 21 notice if she wants you to go and that gives you two full months' notice at least.

    I would send her a stiff email/letter pointing out that her demands are beginning to look very much like harassment and that unless she follows the due legal process you will not be going anywhere. Change the locks if you feel happier - save and reinstate the old ones when you leave, though.

    Good luck.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


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