Landlord wants to sell

I’m a 60 year old man caring for my 89 year old mum. She has COPD, severe arthritis and suspected Lyme disease. I’ve been renting at the present address from a private landlord for 5 years now. He has decided he wants to sell, and we’ve been given two months notice to leave. Looking at the market in East London, there is very little choice and the rents are astronomical. I’ve looked at sheltered accommodation, but they are all one bedroom properties and I want to continue to look after her. We are both getting very worried about the situation.

Can the council help in such a short time? I’ve heard of waiting lists being years long. Would my mum get any priority? Is there any other help for people in my situation?

Any advice would be very appreciated.

Talk to Shelter.
Talk to the council housing officer as well, as soon as possible. Are you already on the Housing Waiting List?

Thanks for the reply.

No, I’m going to register today. Not sure they will be able to help. Will check out Shelter though.

Hi Brian … sorry to learn of your predicament … not unusual in 2019.

Let us know how matters progress.

Definately SHELTER … AGE UK might also take a strong interest.

I am in contact with two fellow Leyton Orient fans off this forum … met though the fans forum … both situations similar to yours … Waltham Forest and Newham the two London boroughs involved.

( Almost the last of the " Local " fans … most , like me , got out years / generations ago ! )

In particular , a possible solution to be offered by your LA … another area being both " Offers " received in respect of my two contacts.

Waiting lists ?

Under a decade if you are lucky , possible to fast track your application … then a classic " Who has the MOST need ? " basis.

Even being technically homeless cuts no real ice … too many are !

( Apologies if I sound pessimistic but … this is The Smoke we are talking about ! )

Outside of London , most readers will not appreciate the level of rents down in the Smoke , nor lack of suitable housing at a rent anywhere near one’s ability to pay without a massive subsidy in the form of Housing Benefit … to cap it all , with the Housing Allowance being frozen … ???

Very good series on Channel 4 on " How to get a Council house " :

How to Get a Council House | All 4

Even then , tower blocks … nothing to stop the LAs / Housing Associations housing disabled people above the ground floor … those not privatised and sold off at anything upto a £ 1 miilion quid per rabbit hutch … the bane of city life !

To say that the Smoke is like the wild west is doing a disfavour to … the wild west !

Brian - it’s pretty hard to get a tenant out who doesn’t want to leave! Time is probably more on your side than you fear.

Also, would you be prepared to move out of London? If you aren’t working (sorry if you are and I’ve misunderstood) maybe there is no reason not to be in a nicer and cheaper part of the UK???

I hope the council look kindly on you, but of course they will be busy assigning available housing to people with huge numbers of children, and foreigners. (Sorry, bit cynical, but there you go…)


it’s pretty hard to get a tenant out who doesn’t want to leave!

A Section 21 job … ALL BTL tenants potentially face receiving one of those before the current tenancy expires … me included.
In essence , it is your home UNTIL the 6 / 12 month tenancy agreement ends … main HOUSING thread for the full sp and a whole lot more on BTL tenancies.

No doubt , Shelter will spell out the basics … which are as follows :


Tenants’ rights in case of property sale

A lease is a legal interest in a property. If the ownership of the property changes, that interest is not destroyed. This means your tenancy will persist through and after the property sale. Tenants still benefit from all their tenancy rights as described by the law. None of them are limited, altered or restricted by the change of ownership.

You have a right to remain in the property for the entire fixed term period. The landlord, who purchases the property is forced to accept the sitting tenant at least until the fixed term is over. The landlord can still use eviction procedures against you, but they need to follow the established rules. You can read more on eviction below.

As a tenant, you also have a right to peaceful enjoyment of your rented property. Renters are free to close the door to everyone they don’t want in their home. You’re not obliged to let in estate agents, prospecting buyers or other persons for viewing purposes. The landlord can send you a 24 hour notice for a personal inspection of the premises. However, you’re still able to deny them entry. In fact, without a court order, you can even close the door to the police. Landlords are allowed to enter in cases of emergencies like fires or gas leaks.

Renters have a right to live in a safe and protected environment. Any repair problems must be reported to the landlord or managing agent. In turn, they (the landlord or managing agent) must cater to the repairs in due time. Regardless of selling the property, they must take responsibility for the repair and maintenance. This is enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Act from 1985 describe. Landlords can be held accountable before the courts if they allow for the property to become unsafe or hazardous to tenants.

So, the same rights apply regardless of the property’s ownership status.


To terminate a fixed term tenancy, landlords need to use one of the common mechanisms, if any of them applies:

Serve a section 21 eviction notice with a date taking effect on the last day of the fixed term and a minimum of two months between the date it is served and the date it takes effect.

Serve a section 8 eviction notice if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement (e.g. has entered into rent arrears).

Obtain a possession from the court and have the county bailiffs to enforce it upon the evicted tenants.

Make use of a special “break clause” in the tenancy agreement that allows them to end the contract early.

End the tenancy with the agreement of the tenant / surrender of the rented property.

When the fixed term expires, the tenancy, unless otherwise agreed, continues into a periodic tenancy. Periodic tenancies run from one month to the other and offer more flexibility to both landlords and tenants. If you rent the property using a periodic AST, landlords can use the standard eviction procedures.

To terminate a periodic tenancy, landlords need to use one of the common mechanisms, if any of them applies:

Serve a section 21 eviction notice with two months of time available between the date served and the date it takes effect.

Serve a section 8 eviction notice in cases where the terms of the tenancy agreement has been broken (e.g. tenant engages in anti-social behaviour).

Obtain a possession from the court and have the county bailiffs to enforce it upon the evicted tenants.

End the tenancy with the agreement of the tenant.

The tenant has served a notice to end the tenancy.

You cannot be evicted simply because the property is about to be sold. This is neither a reason to be evicted or a reason for the eviction to take an accelerated route. If the landlord wants you to leave the property, they must act within the boundaries of the law.

Otherwise, they might be engaging in an illegal eviction, which is a criminal offence and will be harshly punished by the courts.

Lots of information there for you to digest.
All I can add is to make sure you keep paying your rent, whatever happens, because if you fail to do so, you might be unintentionally making yourself homeless.

My son works for the council, recently called out after hours to fence part of a road off because a window was about to fall off it’s hinges. The tenant wasn’t paying because the landlord wasn’t mending the place, and he wasn’t doing any repairs as the tenant wasn’t paying any rent!!

definitely keep paying rent. do not ‘agree’ to leave, etc. This is not to be horrible to the landlord, who may, after all, be a ‘good’ landlord (many are!) (as in, they are fair and law abiding etc), but simply to protect yourself.

You say he wants to sell, but is the property likely to be sold to another Buy to let landlord, in which case they could be very happy to have good tenants already in place!

If he wants to sell with vacant possession to a non-landlord, then in a way you are in a pretty powerful negotiating position. The longer you stay (as I say, it’s hard and lengthy to get unwilling-to-go tenants out of a property!), the longer you are ‘holding him to ransom’ as he can’t sell for a good price with you as sitting tenants.

does he have other properties by the way, as he may offer you alternative accommodation which IF suitable, might be good for you and your mum?

do consider moving out of London if you don’t ‘need’ to be there - many councils are so desparae to ease their housing crisis they do deals with councils in ‘less popular’ areas to take their residents and house them out of London. this might be a real possibility for you. (Who wants to live in stinky dirty crowded expensive London anyway! No one with any sense! :slight_smile: )

A BTL tenancy is like borrowing any item from someone … returnable when that someone wants it back.

In the case of the actual borrowing period , prescribed by the AST … usually for 6 or 12 months.

Main HOUSING thread … moves afoot to give more rights to BTL tenants … one of the more interesting ones is longer tenancies … 3 - 5 years muted … be interesting to see IF most landlords put a rent escalator in those … on par with modern commercial leases.

As a BTL tenant myself , since 1 November 2010 , I consider this eyrie of mine as my abode … somewhere to work / eat / sleep … but NOT as my home … no traditional furniture here.

It would only be my home if I owned the freehold.

My personal view on BTL tenancies.

Back to thread.

I agree - a rented ‘home’ is NOT ‘home’. It can’t be.

As a matter of political principle I believe every citizen of the UK should have an ‘owned home’…ie, at the very least they should have a share of a freehold property in which they have perpetual title to live if they so wish.

Everyone has a ‘right’ to a freehold property - a ‘secure’ place to live, so they can NEVER be ‘homeless’.

How one achieves such a home-owning society is a different - and difficult! - issue.

Curiously, I know that on the continent it’s far more common for folk to be perpetual renters - but what do they do in their old age I wonder??

Knowing I own the house I live in is my greatest peace of mind. In a way, though, I only ‘rent’ it from my council - if I don’t pay council tax I have to sell up (as in, I would, I assume, be jailed eventually, or the non-payment fines accumulate such that some kind of ‘seizure’ is made of my property???)(ie, after all my moveable goods have been seized!)

Freehold ?

Even today … main HOUSING thread again … whole estates full of leasehold properties for sale … best to read the main thread rather than me polluting this thread even more !!!

Section 21 notices ?

No better example than an article just posted on the main HOUSING thread :

Brian, is the property furnished or unfurnished? If unfurnished (landlord does not provide furnishings; you do) then it is very difficult for the landlord to evict you provided you are up to date with the rent.

Regardless, I would advise seeking alternative accommodation along the lines that others have advised. It is not comfortable to live where you are not wanted. Just don’t feel panicked that you will be forced out soon.

Yep … hence the Section 21 route as detailed in the Shelter part of the thread.

Turn the clock back a couple of decades , furnished / unfurnished did matter … as did the level of rents
applied to each !

( Unfurnished ? Couple of crates / tin foil over lights etc… furnished … and less security of tenure ! )

One offered a higher level of security of tenure … certain during my banking days when " Winkling " was
the name of the game … emptying properties of tenants to secure vacant possession … and rents were
contolled by local rent officers … my next seat neighbour at Leyton Orient for six years did precisely
that for the London Borough of Hackney.

… and the stories we used to exchange about landlords / tenants … late 70s / early 80s !

The game changed … and the new system of AST and BTL.

The new system still has faults but … less cowboys / gunslingers and a few more sheriffs in the Wild West now.

Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. I’ve been really busy since just after I made the post as my mum went down with a bad stomach bug which was a bit of a nightmare scenario on top of her other problems. Trying to look for somewhere to move to with that lot going on has been very stressful.

One question: If I don’t leave after the tenancy expires, will I get a bad reputation, making it even harder to rent somewhere?

A sitting tenant refusing to budge … assuming no Section 21 notice ???

Depends on your landlord … and numerous reports over the years as to " Methods " used to " Help " you budge … some now even lawful if one considers paper is more more potent than the " Old " way !

Did I mention WINKLING … no , I didn’t … can be a remunerative way … did I say that ?

( Old term for it … Mexican stand off … who flinches first ! … bearing in mind your landlord is the only one with a gun !
" £ 300 to go the legal route and four months with / without the rent or … say £ 500 cash in hand …Mmmmm ? " )

References … particular " Character " ones … letting agents thrive on these with the amount they charge prospective tenants for them ( I have seen £ 150 charged for a standard template enquiry letter ! ).

Difficult … and a very grey area in law … if seeking a new btl and paying cash upfront , the cash tends to do the talking … a character refence takes second spot.

If seeking one locally , word tends to get around … I’m pretty close to the letting agents in Worksop ( Swopping information from time to time ) and they do tend to share " Information " under the counter … contrary to what the Data Protection Act says for itself.

So , if there is a " Rogue " tenant out there , " Wanted : Dead or Alive " posters will be around on that manor inside the letting agents … all girls together ?

A case of " By the book " or … in the real world ?

If an O’s fan , plenty going cheap up 'ere in Worksop ( Noworksop ) , and I could do with a fellow supporter locally …
or should that be sufferer from the same infliction … no know cure ?

They even charge for a reference? My God, they really do take the mick these days.

My landlord isn’t a professional one, he inherited the house and the other beneficiaries are pressuring him to sell. I don’t really feel bad towards him, he has to do what he has to do, but it has put me in a very bad situation. I take it ‘winkling’ is a euphemism for Rachmanism.

Check your rights with the local Housing Officer. When my neighbour was in a similar situation, they sold the house with a sitting tenant.

Did the sitting tenant just stay after his assured shorthold tenancy ran out? I didn’t think I really had any rights when it ran out.

Winkling ?

Regretably , yes … Dear Peter does come into the equation but … take away the Profumo connection … merely the pubic face of a very large " Under the counter " industry.

Rent Act 1957 … almost my choice for a specialist subject on Mastermind …the real starting gun … the new nane of the game ? … vacant possession … winkling a nature consequence of a badly thought out remedey to the ( Then ) housing crisis in London … exasperated by the arrival of the Windrush generation !

Friendly landlord ?

Handy but , at the same time , limited as to what he could do for you ?

My own suggestion … NOT recommendation … is to seek fresh pastures unless you have the means and resources to acquire a tenancy in a btl locally … what usually costs in excess of £ 800 per month down there , £ 300 up 'ere !

Costs ?

Usually 3 months rent in advance + this month’s rent + moving costs + anything from £ 100 to £ 1,000 in letting agents fees.

Say … £ 600 per month … that’s £ 3,000+ needed upfront before you the get the key !

( I faced virtually the same when moving to Worksop in 2010 … very painfull , for years ! )

That’s the cold heart reality of the btl market in 2019.

Read the press and more btl landlords are getting out … not in.

Oh , should add … on benefits ? Many btl landlords do NOT accept benefit claimants as tenants … fact !

Difficult situation , Brian.

I’ll do what i can to help but … it won’t be much as there is not much that can be done ?

Shelter … any advice beyond … " Make yourself homeless and then we can help ? "