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Warning over legal problems with buy to lets bought at auction

An investment company claims some investors who buy at auction lose money because of misrepresentations in the legal pack. 

The Mistoria Group claims many auctioneers do not get involved after contracts are exchanged to resolve disputes.

Mistoria says investment properties going to auction with tenants in situ need to have all obligations met in advance. This includes, for example, the deposit protected with an authorised scheme and the prescribed information served on the tenants as required.

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If an investor buys a property with tenants in situ without this assurance and further down the line, the tenants provide evidence that they have paid a deposit prior to moving in and it has not been registered in a government approved scheme, the new landlord will be penalised and forced to pay up to three times the amount of deposit.

Mish Liyanage, managing director of The Mistoria Group, comments: “Increasingly, we are hearing of investors that have lost significant amounts of money at auctions.  After going through the purchase process, investors are finding that the development or conversion plans they have proposed to carry out are no longer possible as there are sitting tenants, with no evidence that the deposits have been protected with an approved scheme.

“We are aware of a situation, where an investor stands to lose £28,000, comprising the 10 per cent deposit, auctioneer fees, conveyancing, legal and planning application costs.  The intention was to convert the properties to HMOs, but the legal pack/AST failed to disclose the actual position on the rent and deposit. Essentially the vendor misrepresented the legal pack and is in breach of contract” he says. 

 

Liyanage continues: “Not surprisingly, the auctioneer or the selling agent did not want to get involved, citing it as a legal matter. Despite the investor following the legal advice and the law of the country, he stands to lose a significant amount of money, as it was impossible for him to complete on the property without resolving the issues on the legal pack and tenancy.

“This case highlights how costly this game can be if things go wrong, due to major issues with pre ownership. We are urging investors to be ultra-careful when purchasing property at auction.  While vendors and auctioneers gain, buyers stand to lose hard-earned cash.

“My advice to investors who are considering purchasing property with tenants in situ via an auction is to do your homework on the legal pack especially the AST well in advance. Also seek legal advice from the outset and if there is a dispute after the exchange. Ensure from your side as the buyer, you perform all your contractual obligations so that you are not in breach and also keep a log of all correspondence.”

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    If buying a property with a tenant in it buy cheap or walk away, those 2 tenants I got rid of illegally in the 90s were existing none paying tenants in properties I purchased, but they were cheap even by 90s prices, if some consider me to be a disgusting man for breaking the law then so be it .

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    Andrew

    I think it's laudable to send some well built guys to assist outgoing tenants to remove their belongings.

    Giving £1000 to one tenant in financial trouble is almost saintly, but saints often get persecuted by those who hold opposing (often outdated) views!

     
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    Quote 'This includes, for example, the deposit protected with an authorized scheme and the prescribed information served on the tenants as required. unquote. And that planet would be? For example protecting a deposit after thirty days did not satisfy the rules and proves that the tenant is entitled to make a times three deposit claim. It appears that some fault sits with a conveyancing solicitors none existent understanding of the rules in protecting his client. Whereas if it was common practice to show that the deposit had been returned by the vendor landlord prior to exchange or even better before going to auction as a selling point, to whom could a possible three times claim be directed to? Seek your own legal advice.

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