Buying a property with a sitting tenant

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Here is a question to the blog clinic from Natalie

I would like to buy a flat with a sitting tenant in situ, he has been in the flat for 10 years . If i buy the flat with the tenant, could I evict him in the future so my children can leave in it?

Answer

If the tenant moved in, in 2005 then he will almost certainly be an assured shorthold tenant which means that you would be able to use section 21 to evict.

However you need to be in a position to prove this.

What you don’t want, is to buy the flat, serve the s21 notice, issue proceedings for possession and then have the tenant put in a defence saying that actually he has been there since 1995 and has an assured tenancy not an assured shorthold tenancy (ie one where you cannot use section 21).

How would you be able to prove him wrong?

So you need to get some sort of evidence from the vendor of the date the tenant moved in.  An assured shorthold tenancy agreement dated from 2005 is not sufficient evidence as there could be an earlier agreement – this happened to me once when I was evicting a tenant and my client lied to me about the date the tenant moved in.  Needless to say he lost his case.

I would suggest getting a statutory declaration from the vendor confirming the date that the tenant moved in.  It would also be a good idea to get him to provide you with evidence that before then the property was occupied by someone else.