News & Views

Buying a Tenanted Property- New Landlord’s Duty

The recent case of Sebastiampillai v Parr acts as a reminder that where there is a change of landlord, the new landlord must serve fresh prescribed information on the tenant.

In this case, the tenant had been in the property since 2007 and had entered into a number of fixed term tenancies with the landlord.  The landlord complied with the deposit protection requirements.  In July 2014, the property was sold subject to the tenancy and the deposit was transferred to the new buyer/landlord.  The fixed term tenancy came to an end in May 2015 and the tenant continued to occupy under a statutory periodic tenancy.

Some three years later, the new landlord served the tenant with a section 21 notice of possession.  The tenant successfully appealed the possession order on the basis that the new landlord did not comply with the deposit protection requirements. The deposit had been transferred to them but was not placed in a deposit protection scheme within the strict 30 day timescale.  The judge held that the legislation is clear and did require the new landlord to serve new prescribed information on the tenant.  Failure to do this meant that the section 21 notice was invalid.

The case serves as a reminder that compliance by the previous landlord does not excuse an incoming landlord from the deposit protection requirements and is also a warning to buyer’s solicitors to remind the buyer of their obligations as a landlord.

Failure to do so means a landlord is prevented from evicting the tenant using the ‘no fault’ section 21 process and furthermore can expose the landlord to a fine.

For more information please contact Asha Ngai or our residential property team.

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