ensuring vacant possession at sale

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Hi. We have two tenants in a flat we own under a 1 year assured shorthold tenancy agreement expiring in late April. We are now selling the flat and want to try and keep the tenants in until the place is sold (to balance the books), but ensure vacant possession. Can I get some advice on getting this right?

Our estate agent advised not giving them notice until we exchange contracts on the sale, in case it falls through. This sounds sensible but we don't want the exchange to completion period to drag on too long. If we exchange before the 1 year AST expires our agreed notice period is 2 months. After the end of the AST do we still have to give 2 months notice? As the tenants have indicated they might be willing to work with a shorter period is there any way we can reliably/legally fix this (they are prone to changing their minds)?

Either way our sellers info pack asks if the tenants have 'agreed to leave prior to completion', 'agreed to sign the sale contract' or if not, what evidence can we supply that the property will be vacant on completion. What can we supply at this stage, if we don't want to give formal notice before exchange? And what is 'the sale contract' referred to?

Sorry for all the questions! First time we've been through this...

Many thanks in advance.

Jamie

26/02/2011 00:00

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