How To Collaborate With Councils When Selling Your Investment Property

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Selling an investment property you’ve let out involves extra steps compared to selling a home. As a landlord, you have duties around informing the council and tenants. Collaborating with the local authority when selling can make the process smoother. This guide explains how best to work with councils regarding tax, tenants and regulations when selling your property.

Inform the council you’re no longer the landlord

Once you sell your rental property, you are no longer the landlord even if tenants remain. Notify the council that you are no longer the owner or manager so they can update their records. This prevents you still being liable for responsibilities like licencing and transferring duties like safety checks to the new owner. Formally confirm in writing the change of ownership and your end date of responsibility.

Provide tenant and property details

To process the end of your tenancy, the council requires key details including the property address, tenant names, your start and end dates as landlord, meter readings on the sale date, and the new owner’s contact information. Having these details on hand helps the council smoothly register the changeover and clearly define when your obligations ended.

Comply with tenant notice periods

By law, you must properly notify tenants before selling a tenanted property, usually with a Section 21 notice providing two months’ notice. Check the exact requirements based on the tenancy agreement and provide evidence to the council that you informed tenants of the sale appropriately within the regulations’ timeframe to show you are acting responsibly.

Agree to tenant deposit transfer

If you hold a tenant deposit, arrangements must be made to transfer it to the new landlord. The council can advise on procedures like directly refunding to the tenant who then repays the new landlord or formally transferring through deposit scheme holders you both have accounts with. Agree on the approach with the buyer early on and keep the council updated to ensure your tenant’s deposit stays protected.

Discuss property licencing

Some areas require rented properties to have council-issued licences proving safety and standards. Confirm if your property needed one and show you complied until the sale by providing a copy. The new buyer must apply for licencing ongoing. Transparency with the council demonstrates you fulfilled your obligations.

Get gas and electrical safety certificates

Landlords must arrange annual gas and 5-year electrical safety checks. When selling with tenants, provide the council updated certificate copies to prove you obtained the required checks and continued meeting obligations until the sale.

Provide an Energy Performance Certificate

Rented properties require valid Energy Performance Certificates showing efficiency ratings. Supply the council with your property’s current certificate confirming you met duties if renting with a tenant. The buyer will need to renew in 10 years.

Agree to council tax billing

Council tax liability transfers on the sale completion date, so agree upon a cut-off for your responsibility, final meter readings to calculate bills, and any tenant direct payment arrangements. Inform the council the buyer assumes council tax responsibility post-sale for a smooth handover.

Comply with Right to Rent checks

Show you performed all required pre-tenancy right-to-rent checks documenting tenants’ UK status, repeated necessary follow-ups, and maintained records according to immigration rules until the sale. This satisfies their oversight.

Conclude tenancy deposit protection

If safeguarding deposits in a government-approved scheme, follow requirements to conclude protection after sale, like returning owed deposits to tenants with receipts, resolving proposed deductions first, and notifying the scheme it is no longer protected. Carefully handling returns avoids disputes. Ask the council for advice.

Remove tenants responsibly

The council may want assurances you gave fair warning to tenants before the sale. Provide documentation like issued Section 21 notices, court orders obtained if needed, allowed adequate move-out timelines, and maintained considerate treatment throughout. This shows responsible conduct in ending tenancies.

Agree to housing benefit transition

If tenants receive housing benefits, collaborate with the council to smoothly transfer it to the new landlord by confirming the aligned end date, sharing arrears or overpayment details, and providing needed tenancy agreement documentation. Handling the transition cooperatively maintains the tenant’s financial support.

Conclusion

When selling a tenanted buy-to-let property, effective communication with the council becomes even more crucial than when selling an empty home. Establishing and maintaining open and honest dialogue is key to demonstrating your role as a responsible landlord. Organising paperwork that substantiates your legal compliance will facilitate the council’s processing of the sale. Additionally, consider exploring the possibility of the landlord selling the house, will the council help? Collaborating with council housing officers throughout the process is essential to assure them that you’ve fulfilled your duties conscientiously until the transfer of ownership. Achieving a smooth handover not only concludes your letting venture amicably but also provides reassurance to the council that tenant welfare and property standards will be upheld under the new owner. Following the required procedures is a demonstration of respect for your tenants as well. Thus, proactively collaborate and invest time in council communications to ensure a satisfying conclusion to your landlord journey, leaving your investment property in good order for capable new ownership.

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