Call of the Week: Gaining possession to sell property



Landlords may require possession of the property for a number of reasons. One such reason could be if the landlord wishes to sell the property. 


If a landlord has chosen to sell their property they face the choice of selling it with tenants present in the property, or selling with vacant possession. Selling with sitting tenants means the market is generally limited to other landlords looking for new properties to take on. 


As a result, many landlords choose to regain vacant possession of their property before putting it on the market, and open themselves up to a wider market of potential buyers.


In order to gain possession back of the property where there is no fault on the part of the tenant, the best way to do this is to use a section 21 notice.


We had a call like this from one of our members this week, who was looking to sell one of their properties with vacant possession and wanted our advice on how best to go about this.


We suggested using section 21 to regain possession, and clarified for our member that currently there have been no changes made to section 21 following the consultation which was announced by the government. They are still able to use section 21 as normal. 


One of the proposed changes for section 21 in the future is to include a ground under the section 8 process where the reason for using section 8 is that the landlord wishes to sell the property. At present however, the best route is to use section 21.


We then checked through all of the relevant questions relating to section 21 to ensure our member was okay to go ahead and serve the notice. There was no issue with any of the documents required by the deregulation act, these are the gas safety certificate, the EPC and the How to Rent booklet. The deposit had also been protected in a scheme within 30 days and the relevant prescribed information given, and the property was not one which needed a license.


Our member was therefore able to serve the notice. We did make clear however that as the tenancy was a joint tenancy, that in order to avoid the tenant’s potentially claiming they never received the notice, to serve two copies with each copy addressed to both tenants; and obtain the usual evidence that we would advise by attending with a witness and taking photographic evidence of the notice being served. 


Rupinder Aujla, LAT Team Manager, said “Landlords may need to gain possession back of their properties for a number of reasons, and the advice team are always ready and available to help our members choose their preferred way to go through this process.”


Learn more

  • Have your say on planned housing reforms. On 15th April this year, the Government announced plans to consult on abolishing Section 21. Soon after the announcement, the RLA launched a major survey, collecting the views of landlords on possession reform. More than 6000 landlords have had their say-to share your views take the survey here.

  • The Housing Minister Heather Wheeler has recently written exclusively for the RLA’s magazine, Residential Property Investor, on the Government’s announcement on Section 21. Read the article online here.

  • Interested in learning more about the Section 21 or the Section 8 process? Read the RLA’s guidance on this here.


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