Vacant Possession11 May 2016
There is always a surge at this time of year of Landlords looking to take vacant possession of their property. Often it coincides with the fact that the sales market is buoyant in Spring and Summer however it can just be the seasonal peak for movement in the housing market.
We are sometimes asked why any notices have to be issued to the tenants, why can’t we simply advise the tenant that they must leave ? The simple answer is that if a landlord wishes vacant possession a notice must be served. There is no other answer. It is very black and white.
There are two ways a lease can come to an end; firstly the tenant advises they are leaving, in which case normally nothing requires to be done. You will be advised when the tenant is moving out, a check out done and then the property will be handed back to the landlord. The other is when the landlord is seeking vacant possession of the property and he or she is advising the tenant that they will have to leave. Under these circumstances, the notice must be served in line with the end lease dates and Fineholm will always advise you of these dates.
The tenant must however be given a minimum of 2 months’ notice (in line with the section 33 notice); this along with a Notice to Quit (minimum of 28 days’ notice). These must be served in one of two ways a) by recorded delivery (although there is still some dubiety as to whether a sheriff would be 100% happy with this should there be a problem) or by sheriff officers. The problem with a recorded delivery is the reliance on the tenant being in to sign for it and/or collecting it from the post office. They must also collect it by a certain date for the notice to be valid and none of this can therefore be guaranteed. If the tenant collects it even day late then the process must be started from the beginning and it can therefore be delayed for a further 2 months With the sheriff officer however, there is no need for the tenant to be in, one officer will witness the other delivering the notices, this will be recorded and the certificate sent to Fineholm confirming the action taken.
Should the tenant then dispute anything or not wish to leave there is no ambiguity on the correct procedure of issuing the notices. Nor is there any problem with the timings and receipt of the notice.