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John, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1895
Experience:  10 years legal experience
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I have rent a flat, signed contract and pay an advance fee.

Customer Question

I have rent a flat, signed contract and pay an advance fee. 3 days before moving in agency said the owner changed his mind and wants to sell property. They said we can't move in. I have to leave current property in 3 days and now we do not have any place to live. We transfer all utilities to the new place and bought furniture from previous tenants. This is a tragedy for us as we going to be homeless. Do we have any rights in this situation?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Stanwell Tw19
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: No steps, we don't know what to do
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No and thank you
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  John replied 12 days ago.

Hello, how are you? Welcome to JustAnswer. My name is***** am a solicitor and I will be assisting you today. Please note there may be delays in responding as I am away helping other customers but I will get back to you as soon as I can.  I may also need to ask you some clarifying questions to determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi John, I'm fine thanks. Please let us know what rights do we have in this case as we have to leave current flat in 3days and have no option where at the moment.
Expert:  John replied 12 days ago.

Thanks for your message, and sorry to hear this occurred.

As you will be homeless, you will need to contact your local council as soon as possible. They may provide you with priority need and give you interim accommodation.

However, in respect of your situation, you have signed a contract which means you have a legal interest in the property. Just because the owner is selling the property then that interest is not destroyed. This means your tenancy will persist through and after the property sale. You still benefit from all your 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. Whoever purchases the property is forced to accept you as a sitting tenant at least until the fixed term is over. The owner can still use eviction procedures against you, but they need to follow the established rules, and the rules on eviction currently state a 4 month notice must be given. And even then a court order is required as well.

If the correct notice is not given, and they are advising you cannot move in because of a change of mind, then it will be an illegal eviction under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 as well as a breach of contract.

If they persist you can take the owner/agency to court and for breach of contract and I would also suggest you report the agency to the redress scheme. Every agency should belong to one of two redress schemes. They are The Property Ombudsman and The Property Redress Scheme To find out which one they belong, please ask them, or check on their website. You will need to first write a letter of complaint directly to the agency. If they do not respond or ignore you, I would suggest you escalate the complaint to the redress scheme above. The redress schemes are free and are designed to resolve disputes like this without the need to go to court.

Expert:  John replied 12 days ago.

I hope this helps. Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer, please let me know if you need me to clarify anything or if you have any additional questions. I am happy to help.

Expert:  John replied 12 days ago.

Hello, just following up on this to ensure you're satisfied with what you need to do. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything or if you have any additional questions. I am happy to help. All the best, John