Landlord selling house will council help

When a landlord decides to sell the property you are renting, it can be a stressful and uncertain time. Understanding your rights and the support available from your local council is crucial in navigating this period. This comprehensive guide, informed by Citizens Advice and other authoritative sources, explores your rights, the responsibilities of your landlord, and the assistance you can expect from your local council in the UK.


The private rental sector is a significant part of the housing market in the UK. When a landlord decides to sell their property, tenants may face challenges and uncertainties. However, tenants have rights and there are mechanisms in place to support them. This guide will delve into the legal framework, your rights as a tenant, and how the local council can assist you during this transition.

Understanding Your Rights

Types of Tenancy Agreements

Your rights largely depend on the type of tenancy agreement you have. The most common types include:

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST): The most common type of tenancy. Typically lasts six to twelve months and can be renewed or roll over into a periodic tenancy.
  • Assured Tenancy: Offers more security than an AST, with greater protection against eviction.
  • Regulated Tenancy: Applies to tenancies that started before 15 January 1989, providing significant security of tenure and rent control.

Fixed-Term vs. Periodic Tenancies

  • Fixed-Term Tenancy: If you have a fixed-term tenancy, you have the right to stay in the property until the end of the term, even if the landlord sells the property.
  • Periodic Tenancy: If your tenancy has become periodic (rolling from month to month), the landlord must give you proper notice (usually two months under a Section 21 notice) to end the tenancy.

Landlord Responsibilities

When selling a property, landlords must adhere to certain responsibilities:

  • Proper Notice: For periodic tenancies, landlords must serve a Section 21 notice, giving at least two months’ notice.
  • Respect for Quiet Enjoyment: Landlords must respect your right to quiet enjoyment, meaning they cannot harass you or enter the property without proper notice.
  • Viewings: The landlord must give you at least 24 hours’ notice before arranging viewings, and these should be at reasonable times.

Council Assistance for Tenants

When Can the Council Help?

Local councils can assist in various situations when a landlord decides to sell the property:

  1. Preventing Homelessness: Councils have a duty to prevent homelessness and may assist if you are at risk of becoming homeless.
  2. Housing Advice: Providing advice on your rights and options, including finding alternative accommodation.
  3. Financial Assistance: Offering financial support in some cases to help with deposits or rent in advance for new accommodation.
  4. Enforcement of Tenant Rights: Assisting in cases of illegal eviction or harassment by the landlord.

Homelessness Prevention

Under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, councils have a duty to help prevent homelessness. This includes:

  • Prevention Duty: If you are at risk of homelessness within the next 56 days, the council must take steps to prevent you from losing your home.
  • Relief Duty: If you become homeless, the council must help you find alternative accommodation.

How to Access Help

To access help from your local council, follow these steps:

  1. Contact the Housing Department: Get in touch with your local council’s housing department as soon as you receive notice from your landlord.
  2. Provide Documentation: Be ready to provide documents such as your tenancy agreement, the notice from your landlord, and any correspondence related to the sale of the property.
  3. Assessment: The council will assess your situation to determine the level of assistance you require.

Practical Steps for Tenants

Communicate with Your Landlord

Open communication with your landlord can help manage the situation. Discuss the timeline for the sale and any arrangements for viewings.

Seek Legal Advice

If you are unsure about your rights or the notice you have received, seek advice from organizations such as Citizens Advice or Shelter. They can provide legal guidance and support.

Prepare for Viewings

While the property is on the market, prepare for viewings by:

  • Agreeing on a Schedule: Work with your landlord to agree on convenient times for viewings.
  • Securing Personal Belongings: Ensure your personal belongings are safe during viewings.

Explore Housing Options

Start exploring alternative housing options early. This may include:

  • Private Rentals: Look for other rental properties in your area.
  • Social Housing: Apply for social housing through your local council if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Housing Associations: Contact housing associations for potential rental opportunities.

Financial Assistance

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)

If you are struggling with housing costs, you may be eligible for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) from your local council. DHPs can help cover:

  • Rent Shortfalls: Gaps between your housing benefit and your rent.
  • Deposit and Rent in Advance: Costs associated with moving to a new home.

Rent Deposit Scheme

Some councils offer rent deposit schemes to help tenants secure a new rental property. These schemes can provide:

  • Deposit Guarantees: Guaranteeing the deposit to the landlord.
  • Loans for Deposits: Providing loans to cover the deposit and first month’s rent.

Legal Protections

Illegal Eviction and Harassment

If you face illegal eviction or harassment from your landlord, the council can take enforcement action. Illegal eviction includes:

  • Changing Locks: Without a court order.
  • Harassment: Such as threatening behavior or cutting off utilities.

Court Orders for Possession

If you do not leave the property after the notice period, the landlord must apply to the court for a possession order. You have the right to:

  • Defend the Case: Present your case in court.
  • Seek Adjournments: Request more time to find alternative accommodation.

Case Studies

Case Study 1: Tenant at Risk of Homelessness

Background: Jane, a single mother, receives a Section 21 notice from her landlord, who is selling the property. Jane has a periodic tenancy and is worried about becoming homeless.

Action: Jane contacts her local council’s housing department for assistance. The council assesses her situation and offers advice on her rights. They help her apply for a DHP to cover a deposit for a new rental property and provide support in finding alternative accommodation.

Outcome: With the council’s help, Jane secures a new home before the notice period ends, avoiding homelessness.

Case Study 2: Tenant Facing Illegal Eviction

Background: John, a tenant with a fixed-term tenancy, learns that his landlord plans to sell the property. The landlord begins pressuring John to leave early, even changing the locks while John is at work.

Action: John contacts Citizens Advice and the local council. The council intervenes, warning the landlord about the legal repercussions of illegal eviction. They also assist John in seeking a court order to regain access to the property.

Outcome: The landlord reinstates John’s access to the property, and John is able to stay until the end of his fixed-term tenancy while finding a new home.

Long-Term Housing Solutions

Applying for Social Housing

Social housing provides affordable rental options for those in need. To apply:

  1. Register with the Council: Complete an application form with your local council.
  2. Provide Documentation: Submit required documents such as proof of identity, income, and current tenancy agreement.
  3. Wait for Allocation: The council will assess your need and place you on a waiting list based on priority.

Housing Associations

Housing associations offer additional options for affordable housing. You can apply directly to these organizations for rental properties.


When a landlord decides to sell the property you are renting, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the support available to you. Key points include:

  • Tenancy Agreements: Your rights depend on whether you have a fixed-term or periodic tenancy.
  • Notice Requirements: Landlords must provide proper notice, especially for ending periodic tenancies.
  • Council Assistance: Local councils can help prevent homelessness, provide housing advice, and offer financial assistance.
  • Legal Protections: There are legal protections against illegal eviction and harassment.
  • Practical Steps: Communicate with your landlord, seek legal advice, prepare for viewings, and explore housing options early.

By being informed and proactive, you can navigate the challenges of a landlord selling the property and secure alternative housing with the support of your local council.


  1. Citizens Advice: Provides free, confidential advice on housing and other issues.
  2. Shelter: A housing charity offering advice and support for housing-related issues.
  3. Local Council Housing Departments: Contact your local council for assistance with housing and homelessness prevention.
  4. The official UK government website with information on housing schemes and benefits.

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