Q. I am buying a property that is currently tenanted but I plan to live in the property myself following completion. I have asked the agent if the Vendor has been served notice on the tenant yet but she tells me that this will not be served until the survey is booked. I am currently in rented accommodation myself and have already served notice to my landlord in anticipation of moving, do you think the seller is stalling for some reason; surely they should have served notice as soon as the offer was accepted and solicitors were appointed?
A. Vendors that sell Investment properties are always going to be super cautious when it comes to serving notice on tenants too quickly following a sale being agreed on their property. Sales and purchases in the UK as you are probably aware are not legally binding until exchange of contracts, until then both parties can withdraw from the sale/purchase with the only penalty being the solicitors fees they have incurred and the fee for the survey. The Vendor will be extremely sensitive in this regard and you will find that most Vendors will be very unlikely to serve notice on perfectly good tenants until they can see that the sale is well advanced and that the buyer is 100% committed to following the purchase through to completion. The Agent or the seller’s solicitor will normally be the ones that advise the seller when they think it’s a ‘safe’ time to serve notice on the tenants. From your prospective I would also advise that you too have acted a little premature in serving notice on your rented home, as you could also find yourself having to leave your home A. Too early as there has been a delay in the purchase with a legal hold up or B. The vendor could also withdraw from the sale leaving you homeless and losing the property you are buying too. In an ideal world we all have dates that we would like to be moved by and completion dates that we would like to work to but flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to buying as things rarely go according to plan and more often than not third parties can cause unexpected delays even if both yourself and the seller are both committed to pushing things forward as quickly as possible. Investors have a lot to lose if they serve notice too quickly as they could end up with a lengthy void period if they are too premature. From your side of things most Landlords are willing to grant some flexibility if you are transparent with them from the onset and tell them that you are buying, they are more often than not willing to agree a month to month extension where needed.