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Landlord Legal Issues April 2019

Landlord & tenant lawyer, Tessa Shepperson of www.landlordlawservices.co.uk answers your questions

Q. I signed a six months tenancy agreement with three tenants in 2016. Since then two of the tenants have moved out and new people have moved in. They were sourced by the tenants and have never signed a formal tenancy agreement with me.

I now need to recover possession of the property - what is the status of the tenancy? Was it voided by the two tenants moving out? Do I need to cite the new tenants in the proceedings?

A. It is really not a good idea to allow this to happen. The most likely scenario is that the existing tenancy is still in existence. This means that the current new occupiers are technically lodgers of the remaining tenant. The other two who signed the original tenancy agreement will still be tenants - as a tenancy is not cancelled simply because one or more of the tenants are no longer living there.

The other possible scenario is that when the original tenants moved out, they served a tenant’s Notice to Quit on you. If this was done at any time while the tenancy was a periodic tenancy, then it will have ended the tenancy completely. A new tenancy will then have been created (under section 54(2) of the Law of Property Act 1925) by the fact that persons in occupation paid rent, which you accepted. So, the tenants will (probably) be the occupiers paying rent at that time.

The first thing you need to do therefore, is check back and see if a tenant’s notice to quit has ever been served on you and if so when. Once you know who the tenants are you will then be able to serve a section 21 notice (which must name all the tenants) - provided however that you have complied with all the prerequisites, such as dealing with the deposit properly and correct service of the gas safety certificates, Energy Performance Certificates etc.

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