Sitting Tenant properties are in decline as tenants mature. Selling a property with a regulated (sitting) tenant still remains a problem.

In the UK, there are 4.1 million are in rental accommodation, a very small percentage of these tenants are sitting tenant. A definition of a ‘Sitting Tenant’ is an individual who has a legal right to remain in a property for the rest of their lives. There is also the issue of succession and the tenancy can be ‘passed’ on to a family member. These tenancies are also known as regulated or protected. Typically this type of tenancy happened before the 15th January 1989, and come under the Rent Act of 1977.

Due to the length of time, ‘Sitting Tenanted’ properties are becoming rarer. On the death of a tenant the property reverts back to the owner.

Landlords of ‘Protected Tenancies’, have very little rights to their properties, and in many cases there are no tenancy or leasing contracts. The landlord cannot evict, nor enter the property without just cause. The structural maintenance of the property is usually the duty and care of the landlord. Rents cannot be put excessively as a tenant will refuse to pay, adding even more burden to the owner.

What to do when you inherit a property with a sitting tenant?

There have been cases either want to vacate, nor want to sign an agreement. In such cases, they may not be very receptive to negotiations. The only way to handle these problem tenants is to a tenancy agreement, where they have to pay rent regularly, at a reduced rent for a considered time – 3 to 5 years.

A situation may arise where you may be forced to sell your house. This can be very problematic when in most cases of ‘Sitting Tenant’ properties there is an acrimonious relationship. This tends to have some pretty severe side effects – namely preventing buyers from buying the property. A tenant may become such as obstacle that the only solution is a company.

Selling a property with a sitting tenant

“When I had to sell house fast and I was stuck with my sitting tenant, I had to give my tenants a notice. When that did not work, I had to head off to my solicitor. The fact that they were not paying their rent on time worked out in my favour and I ended up with one less house, and the property buyers gained one. It was a long process, but at least I wasn’t stuck with a regulated tenant.”

Mark Ingham, Doncaster