Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

Tenant's rights when a landlord sells

What happens to a tenancy when a landlord sells and what rights a tenant has to stay in the property.

This content applies to England

What happens when a landlord sells

A private landlord can sell a property that has tenants living in it. The new owner becomes the tenant’s new landlord.

The buyer takes over the landlord’s part of the tenancy agreement. This happens whether the previous landlord has told the new owner about the tenancy or not.

The tenancy continues as normal. No new tenancy or written agreement is required. A tenant should carefully check the terms of any new agreement they are asked to sign.

Notification of the new landlord's details

A tenant has the right to know the name and address of their landlord.[1]

A landlord who sells their property should inform the tenants about the sale and give the details of the new landlord.

The new landlord must inform the tenant of their name and address no later than two months after they have bought the property.[2] If rent is not payable during that period, the landlord must inform the tenant of their name and address no later than the next date that rent is due.

There is no specified prescribed form for the notice of assignment, but the notice must be in writing and provide:

  • the date of sale

  • the new landlord's name and address

When the new landlord's details are not provided

If the new landlord does not provide the tenant with their name and address, the old landlord remains liable for any breach of the tenancy agreement until it is provided.[3] For example, if the new landlord does not deal with repairs, the old landlord could also be liable.

The new landlord could be prosecuted by the local authority if this information is not provided.

Rent is not lawfully due from the tenant until the landlord provides an address in England or Wales.[4] Once the name and address have been provided, the rent becomes due immediately, so a tenant should keep the money to one side.

A tenant who has not been provided with the details of their new landlord could search on the Land Registry. It might take some time for the Land Registry records to be updated. A tenant can check Land Registry details via

When a landlord wants to arrange viewings

A landlord who is selling their property might want to arrange viewings while the tenants are resident.

A landlord normally must give at least 24 hours written notice if they want to inspect the property.[5] For example, to check the condition of the property. This would not include viewings for prospective tenants or purchasers.

A tenancy agreement might include a clause stating that the tenant should allow access for viewings at the end of the tenancy. Some clauses might only specify that the tenant must allow access for viewings for prospective new tenants, not prospective buyers.

A tenant who refuses to allow viewings should consider the risk of an impact on references from the landlord. The landlord could serve a section 21 notice if the tenant is an assured shorthold tenant.

A tenant can ask the landlord to rearrange if the proposed time is not convenient for them.

What happens to rent and deposits after sale

A tenancy continues on the same terms when the landlord sells. A landlord who wants to change the terms, for example to increase the rent, must follow the correct process.

Rent increases

The rent can only be increased during a fixed term tenancy if there is a rent review clause or if the tenant agrees.

Assured shorthold tenancies

The landlord must follow specific rules to increase the rent if there is no rent review clause and the tenant does not agree to an increase.[6]

Find out more about rent increases for private tenants on Shelter Legal.

Regulated tenancies

Regulated tenants have the right to have a fair rent registered. Find out more about regulated tenancies and how fair rents are determined on Shelter Legal.

Tenancy deposits

Where the tenant paid a tenancy deposit, the deposit must remain protected after the landlord sells.

The landlord who is selling should inform the deposit protection scheme they are registered with. The new landlord should ensure that the deposit remains protected.

A tenancy deposit must be protected throughout the tenancy. A tenant can claim compensation if their deposit is not protected at any stage.

Find out more about tenancy deposit protection when a landlord changes on Shelter Legal.

Rent arrears and possession proceedings

When a landlord sells and a tenant owes rent arrears, the money is then owed to the new landlord.

The new landlord has the same options to deal with the arrears as the former landlord. For example, the landlord of an assured shorthold tenant could serve a section 8 notice or a section 21 notice.

Find out how a landlord can end an assured shorthold tenancy and how a landlord can end a regulated tenancy on Shelter Legal.

How a landlord can end the tenancy

Some landlords who want to sell might serve their tenants with notice to end the tenancy with the intention of selling the property when it is vacant. A new landlord might wish to evict the tenants once they have bought the property.

Their options for evicting the tenant depend on the tenancy type.

Assured shorthold tenancies

A landlord can end an assured shorthold tenancy by serving a section 21 notice.

A section 21 notice is a ‘no fault’ notice and requires the landlord to give two months' notice.

A landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice in the first four months of a tenancy. A landlord can serve a section 21 notice during a fixed-term tenancy, but cannot start possession proceedings until either:

  • the date the fixed term ends

  • the date the tenancy can be ended by any break clause in the agreement

The notice must be valid. For example, the deposit must be protected and the landlord must have provided the tenant with certain documentation.

Find out more about section 21 notices on Shelter Legal.

A landlord can also serve a section 8 notice if they have grounds. For example, rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.

Find out more about section 8 notices on Shelter Legal.

Regulated tenancies

A regulated tenant has strong rights that are retained if the property is sold. A landlord can only end a regulated tenancy where they have grounds. Grounds can be mandatory or discretionary.

Find out more about mandatory grounds to end a regulated tenancy and discretionary grounds to end a regulated tenancy on Shelter Legal.

Last updated: 12 December 2023


  • [1]

    s.1 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

  • [2]

    s.3 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

  • [3]

    s.3(3A) Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

  • [4]

    s.48 Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.

  • [5]

    s.11(6) Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

  • [6]

    s.13 Housing Act 1988.