Q&As

A freeholder has given notice to quit to their tenant, complying with the statutory procedure for assured shorthold tenancies. The property is being sold. If completion takes place before the notice expires, what liability (if any) rests with the seller?

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Published on LexisPSL on 05/06/2018

The following Property Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A freeholder has given notice to quit to their tenant, complying with the statutory procedure for assured shorthold tenancies. The property is being sold. If completion takes place before the notice expires, what liability (if any) rests with the seller?

The seller’s liability will depend on the terms of the contract. If the contract provides for a sale with vacant possession, then the seller will be in breach if the tenant is still in occupation on completion. The obligation to give vacant possession becomes operable on completion and remains actionable after completion (regardless of whether the contract contains a non-merger clause). See Practice Notes: Vacant possession and Liability for breach of property contract after completion.

If there is any uncertainty as to whether the tenant will vacate on expiry of the notice, then the options are to:

  1. wait to exchange and complete until after the tenant has vacated

  2. exchange contracts, but make completion conditional on the tenant vacating

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