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Offer accepted - keep tenant or not?

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I've had an offer accepted on a property that has a tenant in it already.  We haven't exchanged contracts yet, but the estate agent keeps asking me if I want to keep the tenant or not.  I don't know - this is my first buy to let property, and I have no idea if the tenant is a good tenant or not.  The agent selling the property also manages it so I have asked them if they could give me more information on the tenant such as a report on her payments but they can't because of privacy laws.  I asked for the vendor's details so I could ask the vendor if they recommended the tenant but the agent didn't reply (and I found out later this is against privacy laws as well).

I'm trying to find a letting agency to use to manage the property (I don't want to use this agency that is currently managing it).  My plan was to find a good letting agency to use, and when I exchange contracts to get the letting agency to contact the current tenant and do credit checks etc on her and if she passes then give her a new tenancy agreement.  But the estate agents keep asking me now whether they should serve her notice or not.  If I was managing it on my own, how would I do my own checks on her to make sure she passes seeing I'm not allowed to get this information?

Should I just tell them to serve the tenant notice and buy it with vacant possession?  It all seems a bit strange - surely only the vendor should be able to give the tenant notice anyway.





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Hi Cathie

If you buy a property with a tenant in situ your solicitor should ensure that the tenancy passes to you on completion.

Solicitors have a standard set of questions about the tenancy that the vendor should complete (via their solicitor) as part of the legal process. 

Formally raise any queries you have via your solicitor. That way you may have recourse should the answers turn out to be untrue. 

Perhaps popping into have a chat with the lettings manager would help you find answers to the more day to day questions you have? If they want your business they should be very helpful!

They are unlikely to divulge tenancy information in writing for fear of repercussions, but a look at a screen in their office may be ok if you know what I mean?

It sounds like the estate agent is just trying to progress the sale as efficiently as possible. Should you not want the tenant in situ it'll take at least 2 months to remove them (if they are compliant).

If you agree to take over the tenancy then insist this is subject to satisfactory responses to your solicitors queries. There's no limit to the number of questions you can ask via your solicitor so saying this should cover you well. 

Hope this helps 


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I've finally got a copy of the tenancy agreement from my solicitor (2 months after offer accepted!) and it appears that the estate agent is the tenant!!!  So now of course I want to give notice - I don't want this estate agent as my tenant.  If they had told me this two months ago I would have given them notice then.

Has anybody encountered this before - the estate agent has entered a tenancy agreement with the landlord and uses this to sub-let the property?

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