What is vacant possession under the law?

 

Vacant possession is an expression used in conveyancing law meaning that the property for sale is currently occupied but is sold on the understanding that the present occupants will move out prior to completion and thus the purchaser will be able to move in immediately. It is therefore relevant also in property law and landlord and tenancy law.

Vacant possession refers not only to a requirement for the property to be vacated by the tenants, but also to be in a state fit to be occupied and enjoyed, both physically and legally. This means not only must the occupier have moved out, but they must also remove any fixtures, fittings and furnishings which are not included in the sale together with their personal effects and rubbish.

If a seller fails to comply with the term in the contract specifying vacant possession the buyer may be entitled to claim from the seller the cost of having the unwanted goods and rubbish removed from the property. If the incoming occupier is unable to move into the property it may be possible for them to claim costs incurred, such as wasted or additional removal costs.

The alternative to vacant possession is to sell the property subject to the continuation of an existing tenancy. This may occur when buying and selling an investment property to be rented out in which the tenant will remain.

A good conveyancing solicitor will point out vacant possession terms to the seller and remind the seller of their requirements under the law prior to the completion date.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on vacant possession or other aspects of conveyancing or property law, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist conveyancing solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local conveyancing solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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