Landlord Selling - Tenant/s don't want to stay - tenant rights?

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    Landlord Selling - Tenant/s don't want to stay - tenant rights?

    Hi there

    I’m in a shared flat of 3, each with individual ASTs. Our AST agreements are two pages long and simply confirm the start and end date of the tenancy (Sept ’12 – Aug ’13), the amount of rent, the landlords’ contact details, our guarantor details, and that the tenants will split the cost of electricity. It also confirms that £xxx has been received as a deposit. There is no break clause, inventory, or any other detail included. Incidentally, I don’t think any of us returned the 2012-2013 tenancy agreements, which were emailed to us in August (so I think we’re on rolling tenancies, but she won’t know what these are).

    Our landlords have decided to put the flat on the market for the third time since we’ve moved in (just over a year ago), this time – we think - without telling us (we found out as the estate agent called asking to arrange a viewing). (I asked on 20 July if the flat was still on the market as we hadn’t heard from the estate agent for a couple of weeks, and got no response from her. We got the message from the estate agent on Tuesday 16 October.) They have advised previously that they will make sitting tenants a condition of sale, which I understand is legally meaningless once the house sale is complete as a new owner can give us two months’ notice to leave.

    On two occasions prior to the 2011-2012 agreements’ expiry date, I asked that if they were still selling I would like the option to make an informed decision as to whether I stayed, and first got told about making the sitting tenants a condition of sale, then that she didn’t like the estate agent as he’d tried to push her into accepting a low offer on the flat, and then just the 2012-2013 agreement on email.

    Is there any way that one or all of us can legitimately ask to end the tenancy now, without penalty (but giving say, one to two months’ notice)? I am at the end of my tether with the to-ing and fro-ing, with the neighbours (a whole separate issue!) and would rather move on my own terms if at all. Oh, and she’s never produced evidence of the deposits being secured, just a glib email saying ‘your deposits are safe, please don’t worry.’ She is – as far as I can tell – a first time landlord who’s not experienced, and is a friend of a friend’s mother.

    Thanks for any input! Much appreciated. Went to Citizens Advice but they couldn't help

    TL; DR. House of 3 with individual ASTs. Landlords are selling. Some tenants don’t want to remain as sitting tenants and wonder if they can leave (AST agreements scant in information and have no break clause, although none of the tenants have returned 2012-2013 agreements). As a side issue, (very inexperienced) landlord also hasn’t protected deposits.

    When you say individual tenancy agreements, you mean that your copy has no reference to the other tenants, the rent mentioned is just your part and you are renting a room but have no exclusive occupation of the rest of the house?

    If so and you havent agreed a renewal, it sounds like you are on a periodic tenancy. Give 1 month's notice at least and notice to expire on the last day of a period. If you rent is due monthly, periods are months and start from the day after the end of the last fixed term.

    If you signed the extension, then this contract would be binding to the new owners and they couldnt get rid of you when they got the place.

    (If your tenancies are indeed separate, then what the others do with their renewals, is irrelevant)
    All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.


      You say you have individual AST tenancies; if that is the case, then there are three separate tenancies, each of you responsible for ending your own tenancy (if you wish to).

      But are you sure you have individual ASTs? Does each of the contracts signed last year give one name as 'the Tenant', and specify the amount of rent each individual pays (as opposed to a total rent for the whole property)?

      The fact that you were emailed a renewal tenancy contract does not, in itself, mean that you agreed to a new fixed term. You say you don't think you signed and returned the contract, but surely you remember whether you did or didn't?


        Originally posted by acidinthetea View Post
        They have advised previously that they will make sitting tenants a condition of sale, which I understand is legally meaningless once the house sale is complete as a new owner can give us two months’ notice to leave.
        If you had a new fixed term contract for a year, then the new owners couldn't give you a valid notice to leave before it ended.
        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong


          Thanks for the replies everyone :-)

          Yes, we each have individual tenancy agreements which are headed 'For a furnished Room in a Furnished Flat on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy' and then specifies the individual tenant for that room (so not joint). And my apologies, when I said I didn't think any of us had returned the new fixed term contracts I meant I knew I hadn't, but I wasn't sure about the other guys - that wasn't very clear!

          Good to know that if the other guys have signed the new agreements and the flat gets sold, that they're safe. I'm not sure what they want to do in terms of staying but I'm sure that will reassure them. I had that completely wrong!

          In the meantime I shall try and draft a nice letter of notice in my capacity as a periodic tenant and hope it all goes smoothly. Thanks very much again for your advice.


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