Obtaining vacant possession after death of tenants

#1
Hi all,

I’m looking for some good advice. My partner owns a flat which she has ‘let’ out to her parents (unfurnished) about 6 years ago. There is no formal agreement/tenancy in place, but they do pay a monthly rent and we have done some work on the flat – such as renovate the bathrooms. About four years ago, her sister came back from overseas to live with them for 6 months. 4 years later she is still there and she refuses to contribute to rent/bills/expenses etc.

My partners father has recently fallen critically ill and her mother is increasingly frail. With this situation, we are concerned with the future after her Mother and Father have passed.

Once both parents have passed we want to ensure that we can obtain control of the property at the earliest opportunity. We anticipate that her sister will be difficult, promise to move out but in reality just procrastinate for months, not pay any rent and think she is entitled to live there forever more! We also are thinking about selling the property so we can pay off a good chunk of our mortgage.

So the questions we have are:
i) Currently there is no formal agreement in place. Would we be in a stronger position to take posession once the parents have passed by putting a tenancy agreement in place now with the parents?
ii) Is the sister entitled to succession of the tenancy?
iii) What are the best options for obtaining possession of the property?
iv) Are there any other solutions we can employ to ensure a quick and efficient return of the property?

Greatly appreciate any suggestions/advice.

Kind regards and thanks in advance,

Mark
 

Jeffrey Shaw

Member
Staff member
#2
1. Although there is no written Letting Agreement, the payment/receipt of rent does establish an oral Letting Agreement.
2. This is a contractual periodic letting, an Assured Shorthold Tenancy governed by the Housing Act 1988.
3. The tenants are the father and mother (F & M) of your partner (P), unless P explicitly- or impliedly?- allowed the sister(S) to join them in occupying.
4. So only F&M are liable- as tenants- for the rent. How could you prove that S is liable too?
5. I'd suggest that P brings the informal AST to an end "while the going's good"- by serving Notice under s.21(4)(a)- and instead grant a new written AST.
6. It could be granted to them only OR (if everyone agrees)to them + S.
7. Of course, P could simply bring the informal AST to an end by serving Notice under s.21(4)(a)- fairly unlikely, given the family relationships!
 
#4
Thanks so much for responding. One question to point 3.
3. The tenants are the father and mother (F & M) of your partner (P), unless P explicitly- or impliedly?- allowed the sister(S) to join them in occupying.
My partner didn't formally object to her S staying, indeed no one expected her not to move out, but it just went on and on. Hence would this count as allowing the S to join them in occupying?
Thanks in advance
 

Jeffrey Shaw

Member
Staff member
#5
Hard to say. If it came to a dispute in Court:
a. S would argue that P accepted her as a joint T; and
b. you'd argue that P didn't.

The point is that S has no rights- and is a squatter, from P's viewpoint- unless S can prove acceptance as a joint T.