Are there “Tenants in Situ” when you are buying a Property?
Tenants in situ are far more common than most would assume. It can be a real benefit for landlords when they are considering a property to know it has tenants already present and more importantly settled and paying rent.
So, what exactly is a sitting tenant?
Simply put, a sitting tenant is already in the property and will remain there during the changeover in ownership from the previous owner to the new buyer.
This is usually the case when there is a good tenant in place or a landlord may need to move quickly and leave the rental entirely as an example.
The positives and negatives…
- Tenants in situ properties are usually cheaper on the market as investments
- No need to find tenants, you are ready to go!
- Little to no remedial needed as already let
- Potential issues with mortgage lenders with finance applications where there is a tenant in-situ.
- The tenant profile may not fit the model of operation
- Fees and costs involved where an eviction may be needed/appropriate
Now, with all these to think about it is worth keeping a note of the following:
- Licensing – especially on HMOs
- Restrictions – property usage types can be limited in certain parts of the country
- Compliance – gas safety, electrical and EICR certificates
- Appliances – standards and safety checks are vital
- Property Inventory – make sure you know what is in place and what is owed by the tenant
- Deposits – Is there an approved scheme in place?
- Rent – is this reflective of the market and condition of the property?
- Tenant Conduct – Rent and general conduct of tenants is key to a successful tenancy.
This can be made easier by working closely with a solicitor to carry out certain due diligence and visiting the property before final commitment to purchase should not be taken for granted!
By doing this you can get a real feel for the current condition of the property, especially if there are small issues that may grow to hurt your income such as damp.
You will also get to meet the tenant in situ and understand their timelines as the rent received with tenants in situ tends to be less than the going rate!
Most of the finer details can be found in the tenancy agreement, but you will usually get more information by speaking directly to the tenant who will tend to fill in any missing gaps or worse, show you issues that have never been resolved – like a dodgy or old boiler (yikes!)
The Big day!
Once the dust has settled and you can see the finishing line here are some handy tips to keep you on top form with your new tenant and property:
- Contact the Tenant in good time – communication is key!
- Regulation – make sure you are aware of your responsibilities as a landlord with in situ tenants!
- Prepare a Welcome Pack – this will reduce time wasted in the comms back and forth with in-situ tenants
If you can manage all of that you will be in a much better position than hoping for the best and assuming a handover will be perfectly smooth!
Good Luck, from Lofti