Selling property, short notice to quit from tenants.

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    Selling property, short notice to quit from tenants.

    Hi, hoping we can get a bit of advice on how to handle what is turning out to be a dispute with our otherwise quite friendly tenants. We are somewhat 'accidental' landlords and let our flat on a 12 month AST starting 12th July 2013 with the following special break clause:
    Special Tenancy Conditions – Break Clause

    The landlord or tenant may bring the tenancy to an end at any time before the expiry of the term (but not earlier than six months from the commencement date or the date of this agreement whichever shall be the later) by serving upon the other party not less than two months written notice, stating that they wish to terminate the agreement

    On the 21st Jan 2014 we informed the tenants that due to a change in circumstances we'd be selling the flat, at the time I stated:
    This email is not notice of us terminating the tenancy agreement but it is only fair that you know what is going on, and we will need access to the flat for our agent.

    There is always the chance that the eventual purchaser is an investor who wishes to retain you as tenants, and conveyancing can of course take time, so we do not plan to serve notice on you until a sale is agreed at which point you will have at least 8 weeks notice.

    The flat went under offer yesterday, and today our tenants emailed us to say they're serving us 1 month's notice and will be leaving around 17th March.

    We're not particularly happy with this as it's unlikely we'd be able to complete the sale in 1 month and we'll be left with an empty flat for maybe a month or more. As a compromise we'd offered to reduce the notice period to 6 weeks, therefor expecting the rent to be paid until 1st April.

    They have come back with various legalese stating it would be "unduly prejudicial" to insist the pay up until the end of March as they "have been inconvenienced" and finally stating "We consider your email on 21 January 2014 as written notice of termination of the lease (the break clause) and we would therefore vacate the property by latest 20th March 2014."

    The deposit is held in a tenancy deposit scheme so I am inclined to suggest they agree to our offer of a reduced notice period or we will raise a dispute for rent for the full notice period (8 weeks from yesterday).

    Are we a) missing something and actually informing them we'd be selling was an implied notice b) being unreasonable c) likely to succeed with our dispute.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, they have been very understanding with regards viewings but we're talking a not insignificant amount of money (£1400 pcm) and we'd rather not be left that out of pocket.

    Thanks.

    #2
    Compared to sale price the rent is tiny. Just be relieved & grateful tenants did not decide to dig their heels in, force you to go to court, refuse access for viewings, surveys, visits & mean you took months&months&months to evict them & you likely lose your sale.

    Smile, say thank you, move on.

    Cheers!
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      Definitely a case of having your cake and eating it.
      I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

      Comment


        #4
        Agreed. Managing to sell a hitherto tenanted property with vacant possession, with no repo issues and achieving only a month without rent, is a RESULT!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by djlevackio View Post
          Special Tenancy Conditions – Break Clause

          The landlord or tenant may bring the tenancy to an end at any time before the expiry of the term
          So what exactly is your problem with them exercising their right? Maybe you should have not included such a clause if you felt they shouldn't have the right to use that clause.

          I agree - be grateful that they move out by the time the place is sold and move on thinking about how to spend your millions that you earned from the property

          Comment


            #6
            Completely agreed, but reinforcing this for you... please think yourself lucky that the Tenants have agreed to leave and they haven't decided to stay on in the circumstances where your buyer wants vacant possession. That could be much more troublesome. If you are feeling hard done by, then please do consider the distasteful alternative (as described rather well by theartfullodger).

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
              Compared to sale price the rent is tiny. Just be relieved & grateful tenants did not decide to dig their heels in, force you to go to court, refuse access for viewings, surveys, visits & mean you took months&months&months to evict them & you likely lose your sale.

              Smile, say thank you, move on.

              Cheers!
              Totally agree with this.
              "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

              What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

              Comment


                #8
                I would suggest T NTQ did not activate the break clausw but your letter of 21 Jan does when it expires ~21 Mar. On that date the fixed term is replace with SPT and Ts are entitled to leave on last day of fixed term without notice, but they have given you 1 months warning of departure.
                Actually Ts cannot serve a lawful NTQ during fixed term.
                I would accept teir leaving date on/around 17 Mar as the last day of fixed term and end of T and use the time gained to optimise the vacant possession sale potential of the property. Celibrate your luck by buying a lottery ticket this w/e.

                Comment


                  #9
                  They have to find somewhere to live and if it is inconvenient for you that they don't pay right up to the last minute that is too bad. I am a Landlord myself and I would not expect a tenant to be paying up to the last minute if they have found somewhere to go to enable you to sell. Think of the inconvenience to them that you decided to sell with them in it and as someone has said be grateful they were kind enough to put up with people coming around to see the flat and estate agents coming in and in general a complete disruption to their lives. Gosh what more do you want!!

                  Comment

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