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Posted on November 12th 2014 by admin-movingin

Buying a property with sitting tenants and need to know the facts…

Sitting tenancies are a common occurrence in the UK property market and there are some im-portant things to bear in mind if you’re considering buying or selling a property with a tenancy of this type.

In order to benefit from the rights of sitting tenancies, created under the Rent Act of 1977, a ten-ant has to have occupied a property since before 15 January 1989. Sitting tenants have the secure tenure of a property and the legal right to the property for life. On death, this right can be inherit-ed by another family member. Rent is often fixed under market value and can only be reviewed once every two years.

It’s difficult to evict a sitting tenant, unless the tenancy agreement is broken. You’re not able to simply evict tenants when you decide on selling the property. You either have to sell the property with tenants in, or wait until you’re able to evict.

The same eviction rules apply when purchasing a property with sitting tenants. Certain grounds of possession are also lost. It can, for instance, be impossible to substantially redevelop the property if this requires the tenant to vacate.

Tenancy agreements remain valid even if the name of the landlord changes. Any new landlord would be advised to have a new tenancy agreement drawn up as soon as possible, but the security of tenure of a sitting tenant gives them the right to refuse to sign. In this scenario, both the old and the new landlord should write a formal letter to the tenant explaining the situation and providing new payment details for rent.

Clear communication with the tenants is always key. Sitting tenants have been in the property for many years, making it very hard to find accurate tenancy start dates and original agreements. This, in turn, can create further problems when trying to prove the breaking of a tenancy agreement later on. If possible ensure all communication is done in writing and in special circumstances, seen by an independent party.

When the tenancy has come to an end, sitting tenants still have to be given the same rights as normal tenants. If you’re looking to buy or sell a property, you must therefore still adhere to the 24-hour notice for viewings.

Even though sitting tenancies remain a big consideration when purchasing a new property, they can make it possible to secure a property at a good rate while enjoying the security of your house being constantly occupied albeit at a lower rent.