Tenants want to stay on after section 21 notice as house for sale

About 3 weeks ago, I served a section 21 notice (giving 2 months notice) to my tenants as my house is on the market. They are currently in a month to month periodic AST tenancy. I told them they could possibly extend past the 2 months notice if the house hadn’t sold, and they needed more time to move elsewhere. As it is about 5 weeks prior to their S21 departure date, I was going to ask them what their plans are in terms of leaving. If they wish to stay on until I find a buyer, what kind of new contract can I offer? I don’t wish to be bound to a 2 month notice period again as I may need flexibility for the sale. Thank you for your advice.

Firstly, I think you’re taking a bit of risk as you could find you lose buyers because the tenants haven’t left. Your s21 notice won’t end the tenancy and if they dig their heels in it will take the best part of a year to evict them.

If they do remain then there is nothing to do. The periodic tenancy hasn’t ended so it just continues until either you apply for a possession order and bailiffs or they agree to leave.

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Thanks David. Could I propose a one month rolling short let contract instead, that they have to sign if they want to stay on?

I would suggest you do nothing and let it continue as the current periodic tenancy. Issueing a new contract adds nothing except paperwork and expense and runs the risk of guaranteeing them a minimum of 6 months even if you agree a shorter tenancy.

Bear in mind that some buyers wont even look at it if its currently tenanted. They will know that in the current climate it is very hard for tenants to find anything else and that there is a strong possibility that they wont be able to leave to order.

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Thanks for your advice, much appreciated

By all means ask what their plans are, but personally I wouldn’t be offering extensions etc.

Obviously if they do not leave on their departure date that is beyond your control, or if they ask for a bit longer, cross this bridge when it happens.

They may take offers of extensions to mean there is a lot of flexibility in when (or if) they choose to leave.

Are you thinking that by offering extra time you could potentially boost your rental returns for a bit longer until the sale takes place?

If so, that’s dodgy ground for you and really not worth the risk.

Thank you, I appreciate your feedback.