Mortgage rates remain high. “No-fault” evictions may be abolished. These are just two reasons why so many landlords are considering selling their rental properties.  

Do you want to stop being a landlord? You wouldn’t be the only one. But of course, it’s a huge decision. The financial and tax implications are complicated enough – and then there are the legal questions.  

When it comes to the law and selling rental properties, things can become very complex indeed. Our aim is to make life easier. With that in mind, we’re highlighting some of the key legal questions to ask if you’ve decided to sell.  

Do you have your paperwork in order? 

First things first, there’s a lot of paperwork involved in selling any property. These documents include:  

  1. A copy of the assured shorthold tenant agreement  
  2. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – this rates the property’s energy efficiency and is required by law.  
  3. The property’s management information pack.  
  4. Service charge accounts or budgets for the next year, for leasehold properties 
  5. Confirmation of any indemnity insurance policies in place  
  6. Any freeholder/leaseholder information.   

This list is far from exhaustive, and each step can throw up complications. It goes without saying that this is a lot to gather and check. This is why we would strongly recommend seeking quality, professional legal support with the process.  

These are standard requirements for any sale. When it comes to rental properties, there’s more. For instance, if you took a deposit from the tenant, you will need to prove compliance with deposit protection law. That’s one example of many. Which brings us to … 

Will you end the tenancy? And if so, how? 

This is one of the biggest considerations of all. After all, somebody lives in your rental property. The relationship between landlord and tenant is under strict regulation, as you’re no doubt aware!  

First off, you can end the tenancy under current law by serving a section 21 notice. Although the Government plans to abolish these, under current law “no-fault” evictions are still on the table.  

Another option is for the tenant to remain in situ – in other words, to continue renting the property after you’ve sold. While it allows you to continue to receive rent throughout, this does limit your market to buy-to-let buyers (i.e., other landlords).   

Whatever you do, your tenant does retain legal rights. For example, if they still occupy the property, you will need them to agree to any viewings. You will also need their agreement if you plan on decorating while they still live there.  

As ever, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer except this: you need legal advice on the specifics of your situation. A quality legal team will be able to ensure that you meet all your obligations and reach your desired outcome as smoothly as possible. 

Understanding the Requirements of a Remediation Order

The Remediation Order itself is surprisingly straightforward. The freeholder is obliged to rectify the identified defects, without the FTT providing explicit guidance on how to do so or instituting continuous monitoring. The FTT’s confidence in this approach rests on the requirement that any works performed must comply with the Building Regulations at the time of execution and maintain a standard high enough that an External Wall System 1 (EWS1) Certificate would not be denied.

What about the lease?  

This is a tricky issue that’s easily overlooked. But it will also have a critical impact on your readiness to sell. It’s simply essential to establish whether the lease is in a fit state to be sold. What is the duration? Does it need extending? Are there any issues with ground rent? Is there a missing freeholder?  

These are just some of the questions you need to be clear on when you start the process. If there are any issues with the lease or freehold, it could affect the value and desirability of the property. Similarly, if you wanted to extend the lease before selling, this in itself is not straightforward.  

This goes back to our first point about getting your paperwork in order. This is where we can help you establish all the relevant leaseholder and freeholder information. It’s also why we’d recommend retaining a solicitor the moment you decide to sell. This isn’t just about spotting pitfalls – it’s also about peace of mind. If the lease presents no barriers, you want to know that as soon as possible so you can breathe easy!  

Final thoughts  

You could be forgiven for having more questions than answers at this stage. That’s normal! Unfortunately, it’s not a simple process. This is why it’s so important to have a trusted legal advisor on your side.  

At Bate & Albon, our friendly, experienced team has helped countless landlords sell rental properties. Our goal is always the same: to make a complicated process as simple for you as it could possibly be.  

It’s not just about doing the work in the best and most efficient way possible, though we pride ourselves on that. It’s also about taking that work off your hands. Selling a property is complicated enough without having to do your own legal work!   

We can help wherever you are in the process, from the moment you decide to sell right up to completion. You can find out more about our conveyancing process here, or use the contact form to get in touch right away

Ricky Coleman
- Post author

Ricky Coleman

Ricky has been advising on landlord and tenant issues for nine years, and now heads up the Landlord and Tenant team at Bate & Albon Solicitors.  He has been advised on numerous complex, high value and technical leasehold disputes for properties in Brighton and London.