Tenancy agreements key to auction bid

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, explains what do do before buying properties with tenants at auction
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Question: I am thinking about buying a row of three cottages at auction. One cottage is empty, one has been rented out in the last couple of months and the other has been occupied by someone for over 25 years. How should I proceed?

Answer: Ensure your funding is in place. Obtain the legal pack for the properties and instruct your solicitor to consider the title documents, the searches, replies to enquiries and any tenancy agreements which should all be included in the legal pack.

Register with the auctioneers so that if a bid is made prior to auction you are informed, and therefore have the opportunity to make an offer.

As two of the cottages are tenanted, check out the terms under which the tenants are occupying the properties.

The tenant who has only been in occupation for a few months is likely to have an assured shorthold tenancy. Completion of the purchase of a property sold at auction usually must take place within 28 days. This means that you are likely to take the property at completion with the tenant in occupation under the terms of the assured shorthold tenancy.

This is unlikely to be a problem as you should be able to give the tenant notice to quit under the terms of that tenancy. The tenant who has been there for over 25 years is likely to be a sitting tenant and have security of tenure, so you may not be able to ask them to leave.

The tenant may decide to move voluntarily if offered a premium and acceptable alternative accommodation to do so. However, you must not assume that this will occur.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP www.thrings.com.

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