Landlords should ensure any outstanding issues with tenants are resolved before they exchange contracts on the sale of a property.
Mark Sarnowski, a property specialist with Charles Lucas & Marshall, says tenants in dispute with the landlord, can jeopardise the sale by registering a notice against the title of the property.
In a recent case where he was acting for the landlord, the tenant had been in dispute with his client who was withholding the tenant’s deposit because of damage to the property and subsequent repairs which needed carrying out.
The property was put on the market and a sale agreed but days before contracts were due to be exchanged, the tenant registered a notice against the property with the Land Registry.
“Once that happens, a process begins automatically, even if there is no legal justification and the notice is a spurious one,” says Mark Sarnowski. “Obviously these notices can be challenged but that takes time – and that can be critical when you are selling a property.”
Mark Sarnowski advised his client to take a firm line with the tenant and warn him that if the sale of the property was delayed or fell through, the tenant would be liable for all the losses incurred to date.
“In the end an agreement was reached,” he added. “My advice though would be for landlord and tenant to resolve any outstanding issues before getting close to the exchange of contracts.
“There are procedures tenants can use against landlords which gives them a strong hand, irrespective of whether they are legitimate or not.”
For further information contact Mark Sarnowski on 01488 682506 or firstname.lastname@example.org