With an increasing number of landlords selling their properties, an appeal is going out to prevent tenants being put at risk of homelessness.
Published: Monday, 13th December 2021
Cherwell District Council is seeing increasing demand for social housing, with evictions due to property sales being a contributing factor. The council is reminding landlords that they must follow strict procedures if they want to evict tenants, and is calling on them to consider possible alternatives. Cherwell is also raising awareness of vacant possession, a legal concept which can have a big impact on renters.
Councillor Lucinda Wing, Lead Member for Housing, said: “Landlords have reported that they are selling up for a variety of reasons, including no longer wanting to manage tenancies, or needing money for their retirement.
“Vacant possession is a common condition of many house sales, but many landlords don’t know that it means there can be no-one living there at the point of exchange. This causes avoidable distress to renters and pressure on social housing.
“There is a range of alternatives we want landlords to consider. They include selling with the tenants in situ, selling to your tenant, or seeking council support to improve the quality of the property.”
If they are selling with vacant possession, many landlords don’t realise that they need to get a court order and bailiff warrant before a sale can proceed.
The need to go through the courts can often lead to loss of potential buyers and can cause conflict with tenants. It is important therefore that landlords and agents are aware of their responsibilities and seek appropriate legal advice before a property is advertised for sale.
Landlords may want to consider selling with their tenant in situ. This would reduce costs and provide an attractive offer to the incoming landlord, who would not need to find a new tenant.
Selling to the tenant is another good alternative to eviction. It can also cut costs, as agency fees may be avoided and rent will continue to be paid until the sale has been completed.
The council is reminding landlords that grant support is available to improve the quality of rented homes. Protecting and enhancing an asset in this way may be an alternative to selling it. More information is available at cherwell.gov.uk/landlordgrants
Landlords can read more about eviction procedures at gov.uk/evicting-tenants