Vacant possession
Vacant possession

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Vacant possession
  • Vacant of people
  • Vacant of goods
  • Vacant possession, yielding up and break clauses
  • Context

Vacant possession

Vacant possession is a term commonly used in sale contracts which provide for the seller to give vacant possession on completion.

In Dreams v Pavilion Property Trustees, the court decided that the tenant was obliged to give vacant possession, even though this was not expressed to be a condition precedent—it was a ‘quid pro quo’ of the tenant’s entitlement to complete the surrender. This was on the basis that in general, a buyer who has bargained to obtain vacant possession may refuse to complete until such possession is delivered.

In the case of leases, whether a tenant has yielded up, with or without vacant possession, is a question of fact and degree.

Case law has established that the concept of vacant possession means that the property should be empty of:

  1. people—the buyer must be able to assume and enjoy immediate and exclusive possession, occupation and control of it

  2. chattels—however, the test in respect of chattels is only likely to be breached if any chattels left in the property substantially prevent or interfere with the enjoyment of the right of possession of a substantial part of the property

Vacant of people

If the contract states that the property is to be sold with vacant possession, the seller must ensure that any existing tenants or other occupiers (whether or not occupation is authorised) will vacate the property on or before completion. Having the legal right to

Popular documents