Are you considering buying a property, or more likely a property that currently either has tenants living in it, or children over the age of 18 years old? If so, you may well have come across the term ‘vacant possession’ and wonder what on earth it means. If so, let us help you.
Vacant Possession Meaning UK
In the UK, the term vacant possession means that when you are buying a house or a flat, any tenant or children of the owners over 18 years of old living in the property will vacate the property on the day of your completion of the purchase and take with them all of their belongings (unless they have been sold to the buyer).
In effect, therefore, vacant possession means that the property you buy will be empty of people when you complete and want to move into it!
You will obtain the keys to the property and can instantly move into it with all of your belongings.
This is the meaning of vacant possession in the UK.
Property Not Sold With Vacant Possesion / Can You Buy A House Without It?
Yes, often, landlords who own a property with tenants living there, will decide to sell the freehold to the property.
If they do, the buyer of that property inherits the lease under which the tenants currently reside in the property and must abide by its terms, or not buy the property if they are not prepared to do so.
If you agree to sell the property with vacant possession, you must ensure that your tenants and their belongings leave the property on or before completion day.
What Is The Benefit Of Vacant Possession?
The benefits of vacant possession are:
- You can move into the property as soon as you complete the purchase
- You can start any repair, maintenance or decoration work as soon as you complete
- You do not inherit any tenants who may be poor payers or not look after the property that you are buying.
How To Get Vacant Possession
The only way to get vacant possession when buying a property is to ensure that it is included in the terms of the contract with the seller of your property.
Then, the seller can only enter into that agreement if they are able to evict any tenants legally and sell the property with vacant possession.
Failure To Give Vacant Possession On Completion
If the seller of the property agrees to give you vacant possession on completion, it is their duty to do so.
Failure to do so can lead to either compensation or voidance of the contract (meaning that you do not complete) or both.