If a Landlord who has purchases a property with a sitting tenant it is essential that, as soon as possible after the purchase has completed, two Notices are served on the Tenant.
The first Notice is a Section 3 Landlord and Tenant 1985 Notice. Under Section 3 there is a duty incumbent on the new Landlord to tell the Tenant that they are in fact the new Landlord, having taken over from the old one, more often than not through the purchase of the property.
The requirements of Section 3 are that a Landlord has two months to inform the tenant that they are the new Landlord and must provide their name and address.
Note however that, unlike Section 48 (discussed below) the address of the Landlord must be the Landlord’s actual address, not just an address for the service of documents.
This is important because the failure to observe this requirement is a criminal offence capable of prosecution in the Magistrates Court which could result in a fine of up to £2,500.
In addition to the Section 3 Notice, new Landlord’s must serve a Section 48 Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 Notice.
Section 48 requires that a Tenant is provided with an address where Notices may be served on the Landlord. Often this is dealt within the initial Tenancy Agreement however where a Landlord has purchased a property with the Tenant is situ the new Landlord will of course not be a party to that Tenancy Agreement. It is essential therefore that this information is updated. A Section 48 Notice should be served as quickly as possible because a Landlord cannot demand rent from a Tenant if that Landlord has failed to issue them with notice of their address under Section 48.
Note however that the Tenant’s obligation to pay rent is not permanently suspended. Once the Section 48 Notice has been served all rent up to the date of service of that Notice becomes lawfully due immediately. As such the Landlord can then require the backdated rent arrears in full.
For more information or advice please contact Will Oakes on 01206 239764.