worst situation due to landlord!! (any tenants' rights lawyers?)

(175 Posts)
oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 10:21:11

i am in such a bad situation and thought i would come on here for advice and opinions... we are renting our house since last february 2012 and the landlord mentioned it would be a long-term let which was great. as we had the contract for the first year feb 2012 to feb 2013 which was to be renewed annually with 8 weeks notice, we emailed the landlord in october 2012 to let him know we really wanted to stay in the house and avoid any last minute dramas of being given notice. my dd who is 3.5 will be starting reception in Sep 2013 and so I have just submitted her application based on this address.
what did the landlord do after replying in Oct to our email to say yes that would be fine to renew in Feb 2013 for another year? He called us on 20 Dec to say he had a last minute change of mind and needs his house back. (we had a great Christmas... not).
I have applied for my daughter's school based on this address and I am in a bad situation whereby the catchment for the school is extremely small and so we can only basically move along this road or along the road parallel to this one. We have approached the landlord to explain that we need to be here until end of May due to having to send proof of address after the school offers are made on 17 April. he replied to say sorry, he is not being unreasonable in wanting his home back and good luck with our daughter's schooling. How nasty can one person be? It is a crucial time for us as a family and he doesn't give a damn. I am not sure what to do now... He has said we can stay until end of March but this doesn't help. I have worked so hard at trying to get my daughter into a good school and I cannot give up now. Apart from the schooling issue, we are a young family with two children who have been upheaved out of their home. We do not have family in the UK. I am very stressed out as you can imagine.
Opinions appreciated.

HappySunflower Thu 10-Jan-13 10:23:57

He is fully within his rights, I think.
Have you started looking for somewhere else?

marchwillsoonbehere Thu 10-Jan-13 10:27:00

Sympathies to you, but he really is not being unreasonable or acting illegally (if he is saying you can stay until March the he is honouring the 8 weeks notice period) and from what you say he is far from being nasty. Of course he can change his mind, just as you would would have been entitled to, if you were still giving the contractual notice.

Again, I sympathise, but I feel for him too.

Arthurfowlersallotment Thu 10-Jan-13 10:27:24

I think Shelter will be able to advise you on this. I think with fixed term contracts it is two months notice either side. Shitty situation for you. If you have a look at right move you can see what's available in your immediate area. Many properties are available immediately.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 10:27:43

yes we have started the full-on house search but the market is dreadful at the moment... i know he is within his rights but all we are asking is a couple of extra months. he has a big house in the country where he lives at present.

KenLeeeeeee Thu 10-Jan-13 10:27:45

He hasn't done anything wrong or nasty. This is the way things are with renting, I'm afraid.

Pootles2010 Thu 10-Jan-13 10:28:17

Yes he's within his rights, I don't think he's being as bad as you're making out tbh. Start looking for somewhere else asap.

phantomhairpuller Thu 10-Jan-13 10:29:27

It's his house. Circumstances change. Yes it's shit for you but I really dont think he's deliberately out to destroy you. It's the risk you take when you rent a house. Sorry but YABU

FairyJen Thu 10-Jan-13 10:29:36

Don't worry about the school situation for now before calling up the la.
I was in a similar situation once but was told her school place would be based on her address at the time of application. This is too avoid people moving to better areas just to get school they want iyswim.

We ended up moving miles out of the catchment area but still ended up with a place at the school we originally applied for.

Sorry if thats not very clear.

mrssmooth Thu 10-Jan-13 10:29:41

Sorry to hear you are in this situation. However, I'm afraid the landlord is quite within his rights, he's given you enough time to find another property to rent. This is one of the pitfalls of renting ... Hope you manage to find somewhere suitable soon.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 10:30:01

It's crap - but he's within his rights, I'm afraid.

Has he actually served you with notice? You're under no legal obligation to simply move out when the contract runs out in February - he must still give you 2 months notice.

How awful for you sad

He is within his rights though and I very much doubt he is being nasty. He may be in a bad situation himself and there could be any number of reasons that he needs his house back.

Is the catchment area really only 2 streets? I think you should take a look again, that would be the weirdest catchment area ever.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 10-Jan-13 10:30:38

it is unfortunate but that's the way it is when you rent. He is quite within his rights to ask you to leave

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 10-Jan-13 10:31:16

yes I was think that Missy. The school must be tiny

HecatePropolos Thu 10-Jan-13 10:31:38

Sadly, he's perfectly entitled to do this.

I have been in this situation. Looking for a home, find something - we said we were looking for somewhere to live for years, landlord said great, they want someone for years!

less than a year later - booted.

Sadly, the only thing that matters is the contract. doesn't matter what they say to you.

What we did was go to the council and present as statutorily homeless. They checked with the landord that we'd not done anything wrong (eg not paid rent, or been a pest or anything) and we stayed in the home until something came up. The council always tell you to not move out, or they say you've made yourself homeless! They make you wait it out and the landlord has to go to court and all that.

If you can rent privately again - do that. Find somewhere else and move. There's nothing you can do to make him change his mind. He's allowed to do this, as long as he doesn't break the contract you and he signed.

I know. It's shit. But there isn't anything you can do. He wants it back. It's his. He's adhered to the terms of the contract.

But has he given proper notice? written? Cos I'm not sure but I don't think phoning you counts!

HecatePropolos Thu 10-Jan-13 10:33:02

Oh, if it's just a couple of months - stay put. He has to serve you notice. If you don't go, he then has to begin proceedings.

That will buy you the time you need.

However, if you're relying on him to provide you with a reference - it'll probably include that you refused to leave! So get the ref before the time is up!

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 10:33:12

To be clear - you MUST be served with a Section 21 notice giving you two clear months notice. He CANNOT just expect you to move out in February because the contract is up. Some landlords issue a Section 21 at the start of the tenancy to save themselves the hassle of doing it later if they think they'll want the property back. Did he? Check your paperwork.

Yes, he will have to have given you written notice, and I believe the two months starts from that date.

It is not that weird to have such a tiny catchment area, very common where I lived in south London, for the good schools.

I really feel for you, personally I think he's being an arse but he may need the property back for personal reasons and that's his right.

I think you should call the schools people and find out if this actually does impact your application. It must happen to lots of people, they may be used to it.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 10:38:33

we did not get a section 21 notice, we only got a call from the agent... after this when he agreed that we could stay an extra month until end of march, we got a memorandum of agreement but i am wondering this is memorandum is now void f we didn't get a section 21 notice???

ResolutelyCheeky Thu 10-Jan-13 10:39:07

What area are you?

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 10:39:54

oink Notice cannot be verbal. Your notice is invalid & would be thrown out by a judge in court.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 10:40:11

Hecate - good idea re staying and asking for a reference beforehand! thank you

we are not really the type of people to have a bad record - staying on until he begins proceedings sounds scary but may just have to, to secure school

SarahBumBarer Thu 10-Jan-13 10:40:19

Agree LL must give proper written notice etc but if he has done this and is allowing you to stay to the end of march you really need to stop bring such a drama queen! Worst situation ever? Hardly! Do you know what some tenants actually have to put up with from private landlords? Your post has really irritated me.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 10:42:09

Ellie - do you think the memorandum of agreement issued to extend to end of march is invalid as we haven't been served a written section 21 notice?

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 10:46:46

oink The memorandum is entirely irrelevant.

Your landlord must legally serve you with a Section 21 notice - that is the ONLY way they can give notice. If that didn't happen then you haven't actually been given notice at all and they can write all the memorandums they like....they're meaningless.

Are you on a periodic tenancy, oink? What day of the month is your rent due & is your deposit protected with one of the schemes? If you can answer this, I'll tell you what your agent legally should have done/been doing smile

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 10:49:32

Sarah The LL has not actually served notice, so he is breaking the law. You're irritated at the wrong person.

So he told you in December he couldn't renew the contract, but you could stay until March? That seems entirely reasonable to me. He may be in a difficult situation and need to sell, you don't know. Just because he has a big house doesn't mean he is able to be charitable - perhaps he is making a loss on the rent and has to sell.

You'd be the unreasonable one if after being clearly notified that he could not extend the contract you refused to move based on the notice not being on the correct piece of paper. That would be spiteful and mean, and would not help you if you need to find a new place to rent. The rental market is a small world, and no one wants tenants who refuse to move despite ample notice.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 10:53:41

Ellie we are assured short hold tenants, yes deposit protected and rent due on 26th each month. Thanks - may I ask where all your knowledge stems from?
I am wondering if we wait a while, and then put it to them that we weren't served written notice then we may be able to buy some time too?

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 10:54:16

Yes, because landlords breaking the law is entirely reasonable, isn't it, worsester?

marchwillsoonbehere Thu 10-Jan-13 10:54:58

To be fair Ellie I think Sarah was irritated at the hyperbolic tone rather than the legal nuts and bolts. Certain amount of sympathy with her (Sarah) tbh.

Yes LL should get his paperwork act in gear but it sounds like he is not a heartless 'nasty' villain at all and (some may find this hard to believe) there are worse things than not getting your child into the first choice of infants' school. Within months this will be water under the bridge. Not to say I don't sympathise with OP at all, I do, but the tone in the first post was soewaht histrionic.

I definitely think you should double-check with the schools before making any plans to not move out, etc.

It's possible that things aren't as bad as you fear, that the only thing that matters is where you live at the time of application.

Getting into a big showdown with your landlord could impact your renting abilities for years, you don't want to do that unless you absolutely have to.

Mosman Thu 10-Jan-13 11:00:11

I would stay put and I say that as a landlord myself, your daughters education is too important, pay the rent, keep the house nice but I would not be moving before the date that suits your family.

Out of interest, I just looked at the admissions policy for my old council in London, and they decide on applications based on address at time of application.

pluCaChange Thu 10-Jan-13 11:01:12

What Hecate and Ellie said, and this is very important : has he given you written notice? If not, it's not valid.

Even if oral notice were valid (and it's not), I can't see how 20 December to Fe ruary is 2 months (legally should be 2 months unless it's not an Assured Shorthild Tenancy but some illegal creation of his own).

If you are still within your tenancy (until Feb '13?), he can still give you written notice, but it has to be 2 months. The sneaky thing to do would be to wait till his incompetent and invalid " notice" expires and then let him know it's not legal so he has to do it again, giving you 2 months. However, that would probably infuriate him, and although he'd be utterly wrong to harass you, you have a child, so get it sorted beforehand so he doesn't explode. Citizens'Advice, Shelter, and the primary school admissions department of your local educational authority (renember - you haven't dobe anythinv wrobg) should be abke to help. if yiu're in a union, yoi may have subsidused legal cover. Your council may also have soneone in the housing section who covers private rentals and may help

pluCaChange Thu 10-Jan-13 11:04:33

you'd be the unreasonable one if after being clearly notified that he could not extend the contract you refused to move based on the notice not being on the correct piece of paper

Or any piece of paper at all! hmm

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 11:04:48

yes agreed that it is not best course of action to stay past the end of the tenancy...

offers are made on 17 april and then you must accept by 2 May. then you receive a letter from the school requesting proof of address and this is the bit i am concerned about as if we leave end of march we will have diff address

the school info booklet states that "changes of address after 15 Feb will not be used for admissions purposes until after 17 April 2013, but can be used for correspondence" - i am slightly confused by this... 'until after 17 april 2013' - can someone explain?

FairyJen Thu 10-Jan-13 11:06:47

You said agent had called you? Is it private rent or through an agency. If it's the agency it should be them that give written notice etc based on the instruction from the LL.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:08:48

Worked in this area, oink.

Right. Regardless of what people like worcester say, if your landlord has not served you with a Section 21 notice then you have not been given a valid notice. These laws are there for a reason.

The Section 21 can be given at any time during the life of the tenancy, but it must give AT LEAST 2 months clear notice. The notice must be dated very, very specifically to expire on the last day of a rental period & say that possession is required AFTER that date.

So, the only legally valid notice he could give you would say that possession is required AFTER 25th of whatever month at least two months hence.

There is still time for him to give you legal notice for the end of March. If he sent it today it would need to say that possession will be sought AFTER 25th March 2013.

I'm sorry, I have to go to work now but this clarifies things further:


Your tenancy is currently an assured shorthold one. It will automatically (without you or LL needing to do anything) a periodic one after 25th Feb.

Also, for clarification, and because it is very, very important (lots of Section 21s are slung out of court for having the wrong date on them) a rental period runs from the day your rent is due to the day before the next one is. For you this is 26th of the month to 25th of the next.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 11:09:13

Mosman thank you for your understanding comment, much appreciated - we are also landlords (not in UK) and I said to my husband that if we had a young family renting our house in this situation I would let them stay for the extra couple of months, sign the document and be done with any hassle of getting proceedings started if they don't move

for the record I am the least high maintenance woman you have ever met, but my child's education is extremely important to me

FairyJen Thu 10-Jan-13 11:09:56

I think it means that up till 15th feb you school placed will be based on address you reside at during time of application. After this if you are in the process of moving you can use a different address for letters etc.

The appeal process for school places begins around April so if you wanted a school in your new area the time to appeal this is 17th April.

I would call someone at the schools and ask them to clarify. The document I looked at said that you have to inform them of changes of address so that they can send you letters, but decisions are made based on address at time of application. (But other places may be different?)

It definitely sounds like they can't change their mind once offers are made, so is it possible to go back to your landlord and ask him if you can stay until the end of April? That is only one more month, not two, so maybe he would consider it.

BreconBeBuggered Thu 10-Jan-13 11:12:56

Wouldn't you still have proof of address documents even if you had to move out at the end of March? Council tax bill, that sort of thing, or is it a more esoteric system in this kind of situation? Sorry if I'm being thick - I've moved house twice in similar circumstances wrt school applications, but the catchment criteria weren't quite as tight.

he replied to say sorry, he is not being unreasonable in wanting his home back and good luck with our daughter's schooling. How nasty can one person be? It is a crucial time for us as a family and he doesn't give a damn

He isn't being nasty, it is one of the pitfalls of renting. he isn't actually doing anything wrong. Maybe your family staying an extra 2 months just isn't viable for him, nothing to do with him not giving a damn.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 10-Jan-13 11:14:31

Sorry you are in this situation. If you do end up leaving before the deadline have you considered bending the rules slightly and using a post office redirect for 3 months to ensure you still get correspondence at this address?

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:14:36

I do agree, however, oink that reasoned negotiation with your LL should be your first step, rather than barging in with all legal guns blazing. Yes, you have a perfect right to remain in the property until a court bailiff shows up (probably likely to be about 5/6 months from now) but you probably will lose a decent reference & they are worth their weight in gold.

brianhaddock Thu 10-Jan-13 11:20:13

If it were me i would call up and speak to the school admissions people and ascertain exactly what documents you will be required to submit as proof of address (devise a non elaborate story about hearing different things from folk and wanting to get your ducks in a row now). I don't recall having to supply any document that proved we were still living at the address we applied from. I'm fairly sure it was a more general 'recent' or 'within the last 2 months' type request. If they confirm this then you have no reason to be concerned about not being able to accept a place offered, even if you have moved.

I am pleased though that i am not alone in being cross at the advice being given to stay beyond the additional month offered and force your landlord to evict. As the majority of posters have stated, your landlord has done nothing wrong and has in fact allowed you to stay an extra month. To force him to go down the legal route, consulting and appointing a solicitor and paying court fees will amount to several hundred pounds. We had to do it recently for my mother, where the required notices has all been served correctly, it costs plenty and is a complete PITA. I believe though that depending on who the landlord uses to undertake the process, some of these costs can be reclaimed from your deposit (or so we were advised anyway - irrelevant in our case as the place was trashed and the whole deposit was handed to mum) so you should keep this in mind too. He wants his property back for whatever reason and he is completely entitled to request it.

Yes, you have a perfect right to remain in the property until a court bailiff shows up (probably likely to be about 5/6 months from now)

Actually, no she doesnt have the right at all!! The LL has done nothing wrong, he is just not re-newing the tenancy. Why should the OP ignore this, and stay till the bailiffs arrive just because she is worrying about schools etc. if you rent there is always a change the contract will not be re-newed, it's just one of the downsides.

The LL will instruct the bailiffs if the tenants don't move out on the specified day,, it doesnt take that long once the ball is rolling so OP certainly would not have another 6 months anyway.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 11:25:08

thank you all for your comments, it has really helped me (esp with a husband whose head is in the sand on this).

I will check with the school dreaming and see if there is actually an issue re address change then if there is, I will attempt to negotiate with landlord a little longer. If he isn't willing I will see if there is benefit in using the legal side of things as we have not been given a written section 21 notice, we only received a call from the agency (upon his instruction) to say we have to leave at end of tenancy. Very strange considering they are a high profile and apparently professional agency.

Thanks again! If anyone else has any useful comments, please post.

I am sure the agents would have done everything properly if they are a decent one.

If you stay past the date your contract finishes the LL will give you a dreadful reference and no other LL will touch you.

My useful comment would be start looking for somewhere now and stop looking for ways to stay squat in some one elses house.

I think that sounds like a good plan. Good luck!!

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:29:42

Can we be clear here please, because I think some people are being unfair to the OP.

Yes, the LL does have the right to his property back & he doesn't have to explain himself or give any reason. It probably is "nice" of him to give her an extra month.

But he must do it the right way. Any judge would take a very dim view of a landlord showing up to say "A Section 21? Just a bit of paper, innit?"

The OP has abided (I am assuming) by the terms of her tenancy agreement by paying the rent & keeping the place up. It's not unreasonable to expect that the LL also abides by the terms of the agreement by giving her the correct notice in the correct way as demanded both by the law AND the tenancy agreement that her LL signed.

LL is entitled to his property back. OP is entitled to expect this is done legally.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:31:44


Sorry. You're wrong. Please familiarise yourself with the law. Thank you.

LL is entitled to his property back. OP is entitled to expect this is done legally

I totally agree and like I said, if the agency is a well known, big company I would be amazed if they haven't done it legally. I think OP needs to call them up and find out exactly what paperwork has been filed.

What have I said which is wrong?

brianhaddock Thu 10-Jan-13 11:36:41

OK so are we saying that the advice to the OP is that, if the S21 has been properly served (if she's using a half decent agent i really would expect this to have been the case, quite possibly it was in the documents received at the start of the tenancy) she should move out as per the terms of the tenancy agreement she signed? Rather than staying put anyway and forcing him to begin eviction proceedings?

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:38:58

I really wish people who know fuck all about tenancy law would stop giving advice or criticising people who are trying to.

Yes, the LL has done something wrong. He's broken the law. If he compels OP to leave in the way that he's trying to now then he'll be guilty of illegal eviction and risks going to prison & paying a large fine & compensation.

It matters not one whit if you think it's unfair. The law is the law is the law.

Any tenant HAS THE RIGHT UNDER THE LAW to remain in the property until a court appointed bailiff shows up. Is this moral? Is this right? Irrelevant - THAT is the law.

And, Betty

2 months notice takes us to end of March
1 month for the case to go before a judge
OP (probably given 2 weeks to get out)
6-10 weeks for bailiff to show up (yes, it does take that long).

So, you're talking bollocks there too.

OrangeClub Thu 10-Jan-13 11:40:14

It's wrong because the LL has not served the correct notice. He can't just say he isn't renewing the tenancy and give her an extra month. He has to provide the correct paperwork, with the correct dates. If the tenant does not move out then the LL would have to go to court for an Order. Assuming that he has not yet served any notice, except verbally, which means nothing, any Judge would throw it out and make him serve the correct notice before any proceedings for possession can take place.

brianhaddock Thu 10-Jan-13 11:42:33

all fine except the OP isn't certain whether she has actually got a S21 is she?? she doesn't seem keen to check this up. once we know that we'll know whether he is attempting to do something that is against the law.

But do we know for sure the section 21 hasn't been served

when my tenants were evicted I can assure you it did not take 6 months to get them out so from my experience Elie you are in fact the one spouting a load of bollocks!

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:44:48

Brian No. Even when the tenancy is fixed term (as OP's currently is) then 2 months notice is still required if the LL wants to invoke his right to take back possession. The OP could move out at the end of the contract without notice, but the LL MUST still have given notice at some point if he wants her out when the contract ends. Some LLs issue Section 21s at the start of the tenancy so that they can start immediate proceedings if the tenant does not go when the contract ends.

A phone call saying "We're not renewing" is not notice.

HecatePropolos Thu 10-Jan-13 11:44:50

Actually betty, you're wrong. She does have the right to stay until court ordered to leave.

In fact, that is what the local authority tell you to do

I know this because I have been in this situation. They tell you under no circumstances move out until you are physically evicted. Or they will - they told me - consider you made yourself homeless. And they won't help.

We were lucky and offered a HA place. But we acted in accordance with the strict instructions given by the housing dept at the council.

Pigsmummy Thu 10-Jan-13 11:46:13

I think that the landlord is being perfectly reasonable tbh. Start looking ASAP for somewhere new.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:47:23

5/6 months is not unlikely, Betty. It depends on the bailiffs who are busier in some places than others.

But sorry - of course, you having evicted ONE tenant ONE time are clearly an expert hmm

I have been involved in dozens - what do I know?

Work calls. Good luck OP.

Hecate I know this is what the local authority will tell you to do......still doesnt make it the tenants right to stay in the property though. the LA just tell you to stay put because it makes their life easier!

brianhaddock Thu 10-Jan-13 11:48:44

Ellie, that's exactly what i'm saying (See my 11.36 post) she doesn't know if she was given a S21 at the start of her tenancy and doesn't seem keen to check this up. If she was, then the landlord is not doing anything illegal.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:49:30

OP said that no Section 21 has been issued, so any advice is on that basis.

If she's wrong, and it has, then she doesn't have a legal leg to stand on.

I never said I was an expert Ellie to be fair. You said I was talking bollocks and I just said that in my experience it had never taken that long - and I have had to sadly evict more than one tenant.

I do not claim to be an expert by any means, that is why I use a rental agency who are. However, I have been renting my property for over 20 years so I do know a little bit.

we had a similar situation, my dd was in year 1 not reception but there were no school places near any of the (few) suitable houses. We rented a teeny flat for 6 months in the right area and after 6 months we had managed to find a suitable house. We had to overlap the rent for two months and moving twice plus the overlap of rent cost us alot of money which we probably didnt have but at the time the most important thing was the school.

We probably could have stayed put and waited to be evicted but to what end we were getting kicked out and tbhI didnt want to go as far as it going to court etc. That doesnt really sound like the easy way out.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:51:12

X-Post, Brian. Yes, she needs to check. Not many private LLs do this generally, but lots of agents to as a matter of routine to prevent situations like this one.

Check your paperwork, OP, please. And start looking for a new home.

should add we are now in the situation again - but now with 3 to find places for. I think I have just learned to tune out the horror.

HecatePropolos Thu 10-Jan-13 11:52:59

It is the law though. There is a legal procedure for removing a tenant.

Are you saying that you don't have to go through the legal procedure? notice to get the hell out - tenant stays - landlord does what? If they show up with a couple of burly blokes they're breaking the law!

landlord goes to court.

gets the court to say get out

Tenant stays

What happens?

Physically evicted.

This is the legal procedure and it takes time.

At each stage the tenant can appeal.

It is their right to stay until court ordered to leave. This is well established in law.

the law

FairyJen Thu 10-Jan-13 11:54:29

Op you need to do two things today.

1: contact admissions about dd's school place
2: ring your agency and find out of the relevant forms have been filled out etc and what dates are in them if they have.

If you are going to be renting again a good reference is often essential do I would be very cautious about staying past your notice ( unless he has not legally given it ) as you will fin it hard to get anywhere else without one.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 11:54:46

No, you didn't Betty. White flag. I shouldn't have snapped. Apologies.

No, I am saying if the LL has done things correctly then once the contract has expired the tenants should leave.

Of course, if the LL is on the cheap, cutting corners etc etc then the tenant can play on that.

But, say the LL has done things correctly what gives the tenant the right to stay in the LL's property when their legal right has expired?

brianhaddock Thu 10-Jan-13 11:56:59

Also, Ellie as you clearly know plenty about this stuff, am i correct in warning the OP that depending on the agent (solicitor or letting agent) LL might use to undertake eviction process some of the costs of the process are recoverable from her deposit? I think we were advised that using a solicitor would allow us to reclaim some costs, but letting agent not?

I get the impression from OP's earlier posts that when she is talking about not having been served S21 she is talking about now and not that she has checked her tenancy documents etc. to check if it is in there.

No worries Ellie - we are actually agreeing and saying the same thing anyway. If all done legally then tenant should start looking elsewhere.....depends on whether that section 21 has been served and I really think that if the agency are as professional as she says they are then yes it would have been. Massive fuck up on their part if it hasn't that's for sure.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 11:57:14

brian I have stated in several posts now, and I confirm, that NO section 21 notice has been given to us. We got a phone call saying he had changed his mind and wants his house back. It seems to me you are taking in the info you would like to take in so that you can side with the landlord perhaps?

Sorry - I missed a bit of info - he actually said in mid December (via emails from the agency) that all was good to go and that he was offering us a new term (another year) at a small increase in rent. We replied happily to say that was all good but could he do some drought-prrofing as there was a massive gap at the hall door where you can actually see the path outside! Three days later, I got a call from the agency to say he had changed his mind and wanted the house back. He basically didn't want to do any drought-proofing so wanted us out IMO.

Well he needs to serve you that section 21 and he needs to serve in on a certain date. Think it is the day of the month the contract started and then expiry date would be two months from there. That might buy you a bit more time depending on what date your contract started.

HecatePropolos Thu 10-Jan-13 12:00:46

"But, say the LL has done things correctly what gives the tenant the right to stay in the LL's property when their legal right has expired?"

the law.

"Nobody other than a bailiff acting for the county court is allowed to physically remove you from the accommodation. If anyone else attempts to do this they may be guilty of illegal eviction - a serious offence. "

Nobody WANTS to overstay. But who is going to say oh, well, my date to leave is tuesday, haven't found anywhere, but never mind. I'll just put all my stuff on the street and my kids and I will sleep in a bus shelter.

Not going to happen.

Ideally, you will find somewhere else in the two months. But it's not always possible. Like us - couldn't get a private landlord to take us, cos we'd been declared bankrupt when our business went under. Tried and tried and tried. time ticking away. date getting closer. We didn't WANT to still be there! But our choices were stay until we found somewhere else, even if that meant overstaying - or be on the street.

I agree with you that people shouldn't stay if they have any other option at all. I know it's the landlord's property and they can have it back if they want it back. But sometimes you're in a crappy situation and it's not possible to just walk out.

HeCate - to be fair if it was a case of my tenant staying in my property or being on the streets then of course, I would fully expect them to stay and would totally understand.

However, if it just a case of the fact that my tenant could find somewhere else but is being picky over schools etc then that is when it becomes rocky ground.

But don't get me wrong, I do know there are some unscrupulous LL's out there but no, I wouldnt see my tenants on the streets.

brianhaddock Thu 10-Jan-13 12:08:09

in fairness OP i can't find anywhere that you say you have checked your tenancy documents and found no S21. Rather your posts do seem to be talking about not having been served one since December.

HecatePropolos Thu 10-Jan-13 12:08:18

I wish you'd been my landlord! They were horrible about it.

I mean, I agree with you - it's the landlord's house and if they want it back - you have to leave.

but still, there is a procedure to follow and the section 21 is not the end of that process, it's the first step. If the tenant doesn't leave - for whatever reason - it's on to the court, then getting a bailiff and the landlord can't skip any of that. It's certainly morally rocky ground grin if they're playing about because they only want a house with a white door grin but legally there's no rocky ground because the process is very well set out.

milf90 Thu 10-Jan-13 12:09:01

he is well within his rights to do this, its just one of the issues that comes with renting. if you want stability for you and your family then you need to save for a deposit.

I wouldn't sleep if I put someone on the streets!

RyleDup Thu 10-Jan-13 12:09:32

Well, until he hands you your sec 21 and notice to leave I would stay put. He's got to do it legally too.

marchwillsoonbehere Thu 10-Jan-13 12:11:49

brian I have stated in several posts now, and I confirm, that NO section 21 notice has been given to us.

I think you are being terribly unfair and unkind to Brian here OP. The point is, as far as I can make out, not whether you have received it but whether one has been submitted to the agency...have you checked this?

Yes, I bet you the agency have it in their paperwork....will be amazed if they haven't!

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 12:14:28

It depends, brian on what the tenancy agreement says. It usually specifies what the deposit is actually for. If it just says for damage & non paid rent, then no, not automatically.

A judge, when awarding costs, could order it paid from the deposit and LL could raise this with the scheme. If the judge doesn't do this, and the tenancy agreement does not allow for the deposit to be used for court costs, then probably not. Or at least, not without great difficult - the schemes are very biased in favour of the tenants.

OrangeClub Thu 10-Jan-13 12:17:32

It doesn't matter if the notice has been served on the letting agents or not. Until it has been served on the tenant then it hasn't been served.

What is morally right is irrelevant. I have similar conversations with my mother over another area of the law (which I work in). She bangs on about how this isn't fair and that isn't right and blah blah blah.

The fact is the law is the law. You might not like it, you might not agree with it but to honest it doesn't matter what anyone thinks. The LL needs to comply with the law if he wants the tenant to leave. It really is that simple. There are crappy tenants, there are crappy landlords. This is why the law is there, to protect both sides.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 12:19:09

A Section 21 is invalid if it's given to anyone other than the actual tenants. The agents are not the tenants.

But do check you haven't got it, OP. Also check that you were given the prescribed information regarding your deposit and when it was protected. (Has to be within 30 days of the beginning of the tenancy. If it wasn't - even if it was 31 days - then legally they have to repay it to you before they can issue you with a Section 21).

It's a minefield. I wouldn't be a landlord if you paid me, quite frankly.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 12:21:10

Prescribed information = a lot of paperwork probably running into several sheets, btw. A bit of paper with the name of the scheme & your reference number will not do.

OrangeClub Thu 10-Jan-13 12:23:26

Isn't there also some new rules about the tenant being entitled to 3x the deposit back if the letting agent or LL has not put the deposit into a scheme?

I don't work in this particular area of the law but other people in my firm do. We had a case last week where the LL's agents had put their own office address on the Section 21 (as the property they wanted possession of) and the wrong dates. Funnily enough the LL now has to serve another notice with the correct details on, giving a further two months notice. I wouldn't be a LL either to be honest, but it's not much fun being a tenant either sometimes (I am one!).

YesOrange I think there is.

it is a minefield which is why I would never rent my place privately as I don't know enough about the law. I would rather pay my % everymonth to the letting agencies and put my trust in them. I have had some really shitty ones over the years but thankfully my current ones are ace and I don't have any problems.

Hard being LL or tenant I reckon but it's so bloody tough these days getting on the property ladder which is a real shame.

brianhaddock Thu 10-Jan-13 12:27:03

thanks Ellie, possibly the nuances of the deposit scheme ours was held in then. just checked and that is what we were told.

Marchwill thanks for your defence. i think the OP is only really interested in hearing that the LL is a b'stard, hence her request earlier for 'useful' posts? but this is AIBU not 'legal'

OP i have no reason to side with the LL, i know nothing about him but obviously we are only hearing things from your perspective, i am not a LL but have seen eviction from a LL's perspective and it is exceptionally stressful for all concerned, i would avoid this unless no other alternative is available.

FairyJen Thu 10-Jan-13 12:32:45

Op I would check through all your paper work. I'll admit I've been guilty several times in the past of signing and accepting paperwork whilst mentally rearranging furniture etc rather than paying attention to the paperwork and legalities of stuff.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 12:35:30

Yes - if the LL fails to protect the deposit at all, then a judge could order him/her to repay it x3. But the tenant has to sue the LL to get this, and this cost quite a lot. The LL will probably have to pay costs if he loses, but that's no help if the tenant doesn't have the money in the first place.

More seriously, a LL cannot issue Section 21 if he hasn't protected the deposit.

Just to clarify, Brian - yes, a deposit can be used for costs. It can be used for any money that the tenant owes LL but it's considerably more complicated that the usual rent/damage situation & shouldn't be assumed by the LL.

TWvirgin Thu 10-Jan-13 12:35:54

You're not being made homeless, you are refusing to move! You have no idea what your landlord's personal and financial circumstances are but he has told you he needs his house back. To live in!! You are the one who is actually making him homeless. Sorry, I don't believe you really know his financial situation and whether he really does own another house. Maybe it's not his, maybe it's already rented out. All you know is he needs to move back into his home and you think which school your kid attends trumps that. Absolutely selfish and entitled OP!

Pandemoniaa Thu 10-Jan-13 12:39:33

Awful as it is to have to move house again when you expected a longer tenancy, it isn't any good trying to demonise the landlord. He's perfectly within his rights to want his house back and making assumptions about "drought-proofing (sic) or that he has no need for the property because he lives elsewhere is silly and unreasonable. He is within his rights so far as not extending the contract. Also, you can still apply for the school of your choice based on your current address.

However, as others have said, you do need to be served with the correct notice and I'd also advise you checking all your paperwork very carefully indeed. I'd be very surprised if an agent assumed that a telephone call is an adequate means of serving you notice to quit.

brianhaddock Thu 10-Jan-13 12:41:05

Pandemoniaa - 100% agree

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 12:45:58

I do check all my paper work carefully. I received the memorandum of agreement to extend until March 13. I have not received the section 21 notice.
However if I were to now approach agency and say I hadn't received it, couldn't they issue one back date it and say they sent one?? What evidence is there they didn't? I am assuming all notices to end tenancies are sent by registered post considering its a relatively important document??? So they would probably have this proof to confirm they sent it if they did?

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 12:47:33

I'd be very surprised if an agent assumed that a telephone call is an adequate means of serving you notice to quit Yeah, me too, to be honest.

Although, OP, it's entirely possible that they know they haven't given you notice yet and that the S21 is being prepared as we speak. It's not too late to give you notice of possession for end of March and that might be what's happening.

CinnabarRed Thu 10-Jan-13 12:48:35

One other thought.

Suppose you do get your DD into the school you current want, and then end up moving a significant distance away - what if the school run is then unmanageable? Wouldn't that be a disaster?

Wouldn't it be better to accept that you're not going to be at your current addess very shortly, and focus all of your energy on finding your new home before the school admissions deadline. That way you know where you stand.

I do sympathise, BTW, having been renting myself in the past. But I fear you're getting too fixated on the short term at the expense of the long term.

FairyJen Thu 10-Jan-13 12:49:04

Op you are going to have to contact them tho. Hoping they won't notice etc so you cen stay longer is not going to make the situation go away or give you a decent reference for the future

BlackAffronted Thu 10-Jan-13 13:00:11

Why should the poor LL have to incur court/baliff costs just because you want a good school? Thats awful sad

RyleDup Thu 10-Jan-13 13:06:27

Why should the poor LL have to incur court/baliff costs just because you want a good school? Thats awful

presumably the landlord would ask for the court to get the tenant to pay the costs.

pluCaChange Thu 10-Jan-13 14:15:58

" he is well within his rights to do this, its just one of the issues that comes with renting. if you want stability for you and your family then you need to save for a deposit."

What a charmer you are, MILF [sic]. More likely just lucky. Did you know that the average afe of a first time buyer without parental help is 37?

There's no point accusing the OP of being precious about, or feeling "entitled" to, the school, when the landlord/agents also seem to feel "entitled" enough to break the law by trying to get a tenant to leave without obeying the law

holidaysarenice Thu 10-Jan-13 14:59:13

As a landlord and as a tenant I would be very wary of staying beyond the contract date.

You will lose your deposit. You will have to move eventually. You will not get a reference. Your credit rating may well get affected. If baliffs/small courts etc are instructed very quickly you will have huge bills. A small court judgement against you will give you a ccj, so your credit will be shot. And rental agencies share info about troublesome clients - beware getting anywhere else.

I think ur ll has been reasonable and you slightly hysterical, you have over 3 months to find somewhere else. I would very much suggest looking for other places to live rather than trying to stay beyond the date.

trixiefey Thu 10-Jan-13 15:04:41

As a landlord myself, I do sympathise with the idea that they shouldn't be forced to incur lots of legal costs, but you have the right to be served proper notice, and the landlord would not occur additional expenses until the notice period was up. If no notice is issued prior to March, I would wait until then, and then point out they have't followed procedures, and that will buy you the time until May. And you can use the extra months to find a new place a sensible distance from the school.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 15:15:42

trixie thanks - nice, normal advice... I will seek free legal advice on the situation.

Please everyone calm down I don't like to think your heart rates are affected by my post. We won't stay longer than the end of tenancy date so relax. It's just trying to get that time extended legally. What annoyed me most, was that the ll offered us the renewal and when I wanted the big gap fixed I got the call to tell us to leave. Hmm... Coincidence with suddenly needing his house back? Me thinks not... Possible yes, but more like he's a ll who doesn't like doing repairs for his tenants who pay a lot of rent and keep his house exceptionally well.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 15:24:19

Not quite true, holiday. She won't lose her deposit unless she actually owes the LL rent for money for damages - and eviction doesn't generate a CCJ hmm

Hope you can find somewhere new, oink smile

marchwillsoonbehere Thu 10-Jan-13 15:28:50

but more like he's a ll who doesn't like doing repairs for his tenants who pay a lot of rent and keep his house exceptionally well

Sheer conjecture OP: I would be mildly interested to hear the ll's version (but fear not, it's having no effect on my heart rate). I have been a landlord only once for a flat that I had lived in for several years before letting it. In all that time I had not a single issue with its maintenance, but my tenant kept up a constant demand of niggles and (non) complaints although admittedly she was an excellent tenant in every other respect. So when the lease was I up I just could not wait to terminate the contract and sell the place...it was far less hassle that way. Obviously I have no idea, but it could be that this is where your ll is coming from. But as with you, this is sheer conjecture.

DontmindifIdo Thu 10-Jan-13 15:31:30

Yes, if your landlord hasn't issued a s21, I'd say nothing until maybe the last week of March and then tell them, that will give you another 8 weeks. hopefully, past the deadline by then. They can't give you a bad reference for refusing to leave when they didn't actually give you the notice to ask you to leave...

However, start looking like mad for a property in the right area, and speak to the school, tell them that you are coming to the end of your tenancy agreement with your landlord, you have asked to remain, and (little white lie time!) you expect they will renew, but you wanted to check the situation if they don't and you'd already applied with this address and have to move between applying and the place being allocated. You could mention that you of course would try to stay in the same area... Most schools would be sympathic to that situation, that's a reasonable question to ask.

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 10-Jan-13 15:33:48

what big gap?

Oink - it probably is coincidence though. No sane LL would give tenants notice just because they asked him to do one thing....a good tenant is worth their weight in gold (as is a good LL) so unless you were a complete nightmare tenant (which I am sure you weren't) then it will be coincidence.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 15:48:26

There is a big gap between hall door and frame of door which needs repairing...

Indeed it probably is coincidence. Lets give him the benefit of the doubt.

DontmindifIdo Thu 10-Jan-13 15:56:40

oh, and ask around your local friends if anyone knows any rentals available in your area, I know a couple who will be on the market soon near us but aren't being advertised currently, you might be able to get in a little earlier - or have a set date to say to your landlord along the lines of "we can move into a new property on 20th April, could you extend until then?" That's less like "I need to stay here for a few months" but a set leave date.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 16:05:35

Yes this is the kind of reasonable dialogue I would have expected with the landlord. Perhaps something like "we will start looking now and if we find something then we would like to move immediately so as to get the best possible house for our preferred school and also to free up your house". We basically need him to understand that if we do find something with a suitable address we need to act fast iyswim. This will help us and him in that we won't be restricted to leaving exactly at end of March for example, and then having to watch houses that are suitable come and go.

DontmindifIdo Thu 10-Jan-13 16:18:53

Start looking now anyway, if he wants the house back, if you called and said "could we end on 2ndweek of March" I'm sure he's say yes. But if you need to pay for 2 places for a couple of weeks, it's shit but better than not getting yoru DD in a school you want.

DontmindifIdo Thu 10-Jan-13 16:19:48

And definately ask around!

purpleflower123 Thu 10-Jan-13 16:21:04

The section 21 needs to be issued 2 months in advance, as you have agreed to extend your tenancy until the end of March doesn't it mean they have until the end of January to issue it?

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 16:35:00

But shouldn't they have served a s21 notice after they called us to say we had to leave end of Feb? We only negotiated the extra time until end March with the landlord ourselves over the Xmas period and this is when they sent the Memoradum of agreement for end of march extension. Shouldn't they have sent a s21 notice too?

yellowsheep Thu 10-Jan-13 16:42:36

Have a simular story landlord said we can stay for as long as we wanted...... After 3 years in the place we started to make big improvements to the garden house decorating flowers boarders etc.... Then was given 2 months notice to leave... We moved Xmas eve luckily kids are still in the same school and our new home is lovely bit I hate the fact that all I get is 2 months norice and it could happen again anytime?? sad

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 17:09:58

Phone calls & memorandums are entirely irrelevant, oink.

Whenever it was that they wanted you out, they should have sent a S21 notice two months earlier.

They wanted you out on Feb 25th, right? It couldn't have been any earlier than that because that would have meant they were asking to leave during your AST which is even more illegal. So the ONLY valid notice that could have been issued in order to have you out by that date was one that you received on or before December 25th informing you that possession would be required AFTER Feb 25th 2013.

They cannot send the notice now on the basis that, well, we did tell you it was coming so what's the difference? You physically had to have had the notice either in your hand or delivered to your property on or before December 25th.

Nothing else that could have happened - calls, emails, memorandums - would be legal.

Personally, I would ring the agents and ask in all innocence "When are you actually planning to send the Section 21 notice then?"

They'll hang up and go......"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuk". Because they have screwed up massively.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 17:22:50

ellie the memorandum states that the "ll and the tenant agree that the term referred to in the tenancy agreement be extended from 23 feb 13 to 22 match 13.

Terms of tenancy agreement shall continue in full force.

Rent shall be at £x per week.

In event if conflict or inconsistencies between tenancy agreement and memorandum, the terms of memorandum shall prevail. "

That's it. What do you think?

It's funny as in pencil is written that we are not to date the memorandum however we are required to sign it????

TinyDiamond Thu 10-Jan-13 17:25:23

sorry to gear you're unsure where you're going to be. we rent too and its crappy sometimes. I would suggest you print off loads of little notices saying something like 'young professional family looking for a longterm let in the area, please contact us if you or anyone you know are considering renting your property out' then list your basic requirements (no of bedrooms etc) so as not to waste anyone else's time and cross your fingers tightly. if you contact the school now and get a printout of the catchment then you can make sure you're flyering the right houses. we found our current house this way. it has the added benefit of cutting out the middle man and saving agency fees. we have had no probs dealing with landlord direct and not an agent. obvs this would be up to the landlord but its something you could suggest should you find a property. good luck!

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 17:50:37

Did you tell them, oink that you would move out at the end of the term then? Because if you did, then they have clearly just assumed there was no need for notice to be given. Often, in practice, when LL & tenant have harmoniously agreed the end of a tenancy then an S21 isn't bothered with. That might explain what's gone wrong. The memorandum, in that case, just adds something to your AST to clarify matters. What they are hoping to avoid is a new tenancy being created - which is what does happen ordinarily.

But it makes no odds to the position that you're in. You have not received a valid notice so are under not the slightest obligation to even consider moving out until you do so.

Where does 23rd Feb come in? I thought 26th Feb was your rent day. What does it say about that on your TA?

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 18:46:39

Sorry no i got the monthly date we pay rent wrong so that is correct.

No we didn't tell them we would move out at the end of the tenancy. In fact they emailed us mid December 2012 to say the landlord wished to renew the tenancy for another year from end Feb 2013 at an increased rent which we were happy with. But when we put the condition to them that we wanted the landlord to so some drought proofing, we received the call from them saying they had put this to him and he now needed he house back. That was on 20th December. We emailed ll directly and managed to get an extra month and they then issued the memorandum of agr. That's it. So basically we could wait until near end March 13 and then say we haven't been given notice?

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 18:47:38

Is an s21 still required for a fixed term tenancy- one year in our case?

scott2609 Thu 10-Jan-13 19:19:50

EllieArroway- I'm a Housing Officer for a local authority, so I'd like to thank you for being one of the people on here talking any sense!

I think the OP has been given enough relevant advice now about the best way forward with this, but I have to say that I'm a bit concerned about by the number of people who have had experiences of their local authority advising them that they will have made themselves intentionally homeless if they vacate before they are forcibly evicted by bailiffs.

In order to be found intentionally homeless, the property you were resident in must have been both 'suitable' and 'reasonable' to continue to occupy. Certainly, my LA's approach, and the current guidance from Shelter, is that once the S21 has expired, a property is unlikely to be considered reasonable to continue to occupy.

As such, I would suggest that anybody receiving homelessness assistance from the LA at this moment in time should seek support from Shelter if they've been told this.

Certainly, we always encourage people to stay in their property beyond the S21 (since it is their legal right to do so, but also because it gives us some much needed time to try and find another property) but we would NEVER find somebody IH for leaving after a S21 has expired! Before- yes, but after? No chance.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 19:26:26

Is an s21 still required for a fixed term tenancy- one year in our case? Oh yes, absolutely.

So basically we could wait until near end March 13 and then say we haven't been given notice? Yep. You are completely within your rights to sit down, put your feet up and completely forget that any of the previous conversations/emails/memorandums took place. As of now, you have not actually been given notice to quit.

When March 13 comes around and they want to know when you're going, you say "Going? But I haven't received the S21 as required by law yet". Then watch them run around like headless chickens.

Your biggest problem is the reference - you do need that to rent somewhere else.

So, here's what you could do:

It gets to 13th March and you're still there. They realise they need to then give you 2 months notice which will require possession after 25th May. An S21 is NOT NOT NOT a notice to quit the property - it is a heads up from the landlord that he requires possession after a certain date and will take legal steps to get it if you remain. Of course, most people do go, but there's no obligation to do so.

Your landlord cannot end the tenancy by himself - only you or a judge can do that. So, the law allows you to stay put after the expiration of the notice & wait until such time as a judge ends the tenancy.

All of that takes quite a long time - at least a month to get before a judge (taking us to 25th or so of June), you'll be given 2 weeks notice by the judge to get out (so around mid-June) and if you STILL don't go, then bailiffs can be appointed to physically remove you and that will take at least another 4 weeks (rarely shorter, but usually much longer). This takes us to mid July-ish.

I am not suggesting you follow things through to the bitter end like that - but you COULD do, and it's entirely possible that, perfectly legally, you could stay in the property for another 6 months or so.

They won't be happy about this, so you could say:

"Dear Mr LL/Agent

As I am sure you are aware you were legally required to serve me with a Section 21 notice. You failed to do so, so it may be that I have no option but to exercise my LEGAL RIGHT to remain in the property until my tenancy is properly ended by a judge. However, I am willing to overlook this rather serious breach on your part and move out at a time mutually convenient to us both in return for a reference from you that properly reflects the exemplary way I have maintained my tenancy".

Or words to that effect.

Whether this is a path you want to pursue is up to you - but the fact remains that you can if you want to.


EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 19:29:04

Got my dates buggered up, sorry blush

Should read:

All of that takes quite a long time - at least a month to get before a judge (taking us to 25th or so of June), you'll be given 2 weeks notice by the judge to get out (so around mid-July) and if you STILL don't go, then bailiffs can be appointed to physically remove you and that will take at least another 4 weeks (rarely shorter, but usually much longer). This takes us to mid August-ish.

stargirl1701 Thu 10-Jan-13 19:31:23

YABU. It's unfortunate for you but well within the legal rights of the LL.

TWvirgin Thu 10-Jan-13 19:46:53

Drip. drip. Er, hang on. OP put a condition upon renewing a tenancy now?

As in LL said he was happy to renew and tenant said no unless you do xyz. (I'm assuming xyz is an improvement rather than a needed repair otherwise OP wouldn't be so desperate to stay regardless.)

Why does the LL still need to give her written notice when the OP said she didn't want to renew under current conditions and would only renew if xyz was done? Isn't she terminating things? In which case I thought the LL didn't have to give her further written notice.

TinyDiamond Thu 10-Jan-13 20:07:56

a massive gap that you can see through in the coldest part of winter seems like a necessary repair to me...?

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 20:17:17


You'd think so - but no.

If it's a fixed term contract (as this is) the tenant can leave when it's up without issuing any notice to the LL. If the tenancy had become periodic, she'd have to give one month's notice then.

In all circumstances the LL, however, must give 2 clear months notice even when he just wants the property back at the end of the fixed term (except if it's an S8 situation for rent arrears). He can give this notice at any time during the fixed term provided it gives at least two clear months notice. He can, for example, give the S21 at the beginning of the tenancy so that when the fixed term is up he can apply immediately to the courts for eviction if the tenant remains.

I know it seems unfair that the LL has to give notice, but not the T, but it's the way it is.

And she's not drip feeding, actually. She's clarifying because of the questions I'm asking.

Oink To be very clear - if you wanted to you could leave on or before 25th Feb without worrying about giving notice (although you'd be liable for all rent up to that date even if you're not there). However, if you stay even one second into 26th Feb, then you will have entered periodic tenancy territory and would have to give your LL at least a months notice that must expire at the end of a rent period. Just thought you ought to be aware of that.

TWvirgin Thu 10-Jan-13 20:47:52

Ellie, my point is that I wonder if the OP did give notice by saying she is not renewing. Unless xyz. Which would explain why agents didn't forward anything further in writing from LL. Also, in practice what you describe about just staying til end of a contract without letting LL know whether you are staying or going just does not happen. If you mess people about - whether they're LL or tenants - they are either going to give you notice or a bad reference/reputation.

EllieArroway Thu 10-Jan-13 21:24:14

Also, in practice what you describe about just staying til end of a contract without letting LL know whether you are staying or going just does not happen Agreed. It doesn't. Most tenants let their LLs know. But there's no actual legal requirement for them to do so.

Notice can't be verbal, so no. It needs to be written & contain very specific dates - at least if it's going to be relied on in court, it does. In practice, of course, many LLs & their tenants don't bother with all the paperwork (although dumb is the LL who doesn't because it can come back so easily to bite her/him on the arse).

But I'm just trying to clarify for the OP exactly what the law does and does not say.

lovepigeon Thu 10-Jan-13 21:55:32

I really sympathise as we had something very similar happen last year - moved in when pregnant specifically for long term rent and then when baby only 3 months old we get served with 2 months notice.

oinkyoink Thu 10-Jan-13 22:01:21

Being given two months notice when you have a family is really hard. I know there are people who only care about the law on here but emotionally it's been difficult for me and my husband.

Ellie all your advice has been fantastic. Thank you for taking the time on here to write all you have.

It will be interesting to see if they are actually just preparing a s21 notice right now to serve us in preparation for the tenancy ending at at the end of March... If so, there is not much we could do without things getting messy!

FeltOverlooked Thu 10-Jan-13 22:12:14

Are you 100% sure you weren't served a Section 21 when you signed your lease? When we still rented we were served one annually at the same time we signed the new contract.

flow4 Fri 11-Jan-13 06:52:25

oinky, sorry to ask the same question as Felt, but are you sure you don't have a S21 in the paperwork you got when you started your tenancy? I have a friend who was renting and sure they hadn't been served notice, so 'put his feet up' so-to-speak, intending to wait until the final day of the tenancy and say to the LL "Oops, you haven't served me a S21" (as has been mentioned)... But then someone prompted him to check his original lease, and there it was. He ended up having to move in a massive hurry, rather than getting to plan and look for somewhere else he really liked... sad

It seems ridiculous that you could be served paperwork about leaving just as you're arriving, so it didn't occur to him to look; but that is what had happened... Just double-check you're not in the same situation!

oinkyoink Fri 11-Jan-13 08:08:17

Ill check the file I have in this tenancy. Thanks for the heads up. Ellie did mention earlier too, that notice can be given at the start. Will check.

ancientcliffhanger Fri 11-Jan-13 09:17:14

I feel so sorry for you as we're going through something similar ourselves. I'd advise going to your local Citizen's Advice Bureau as well as your Council Housing Office (not that you'll get a house from them but they have professional people who will phone the landlord up and get them to serve a Section 21 notice if needed).

Unfortunately as a private tenant you have very little rights and a lot of landlords don't give a toss about the fact that's it's your HOME whilst your paying the rent. Don't get me wrong, we've been renting for 7 years and have come across good landlords but there really are some awful ones out there who really don't care about the repercussions their decisions can have on a family.

Our situation is as follows... We're a family of 6 (includes twins) and 2 of our children have special needs (one is Statemented). We've been in our current home for just 4 months after having to move from another private rental as landlord wanted to sell up. So we move in September 2012, pay for lots of blinds and curtains (as well as agency fees, deposit, moving costs etc.) and last week on 3rd Jan a registered letter arrives with a 'Section 21 Possession order' and brief covering letter explaining that they would like the house back by the end of March (it's owned by a well known superstore and I can't go into the reasons why they want it back but it's nothing to do with us as tenants). The house had stood empty for a couple of years before we moved in and they have two other empty properties round the corner.

So we're out on our ear and there's sod all we can do about it. Legally they're not doing anything wrong but it's a brutal system and highlights just what little rights private tenants have. We're also waiting for confirmation of our eldest DS's secondary school place and now we have to find the money up front for moving costs, rent in advance and another deposit. The last week has been absolute hell trying to find somewhere and wondering what to do as rentals are so high. Luckily we have managed to find another house but it's tiny and on the other side of town from DC's school. Ironically we've been on the Housing List for over 6 years now but they can't actually do anything to help unless you're chucked out on the street. Even more ironically they only allow us to 'bid' on 4 bed houses Local Authority houses (there aren't any) but all we can afford to rent in the private sector is a small 3-bed house EX-COUNCIL house even though my DH earns an above average wage!

All I can say is 'good luck' but I can relate to the stress you're going through - it's horrendous. There really is a housing crisis going in the UK and if you're stuck in it it's awful. No security whatsoever.

oinkyoink Sat 12-Jan-13 16:16:15

I was happy to read this today.... More than two months notice is definitely required for tenants! Especially when children are involved.


DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 16:19:28

It's awful for you, but he's not doing anything wrong.
There may be something that has cropped up which means he needs his house back, surely you don't expect to take priority over his own issues.

If she's on a fixed term contract, then surely notice isn't required and the assumption is unless discussed otherwise, you move out when the contract is up

DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 16:36:47

I've read other posts and I stand corrected.

Tell you what though, after reading all the advice on here for you OP (which is fab for you) I would never, ever become a landlord.

Even if you want your property back and give notice, your tenants can stay on for much much longer?

oink I think a change like that would make it even more difficult for families to find anywhere to rent. I saw a 3 bedroom house with a lovely garden when I was looking to move. Landlord did not want to let to a family. I think students keep houses in a much worse state, so can only think it is because of difficulty to evict that the LL didn't want a family.

boomting Sat 12-Jan-13 17:24:58


The reason will probably be that students will pay more per house (£80 per bedroom per week is fairly common), they demand less, and they normally leave quietly at the end of a tenancy. This is because student tenancies run from 1st July to 30th June, so the students will either have another house to go to, or will be graduating and naturally moving on.

And not all students live in squalor wink

solittletimeandsomuchtodo Sat 12-Jan-13 20:56:15

I hope ll is reading this and contacts agency on Monday to check 21 has been issued.

DontmindifIdo Sat 12-Jan-13 21:09:18

When we were renting we were always served with the S21 at the start of the tenancy, worth checking.

and yes, students are low effort actually, they don't tend to complain about stuff, they pay by the room so overall pay more, they often better look after a property than small DCs, they do usually only stay a year at a time and often the uni housing officers will help fill properties without the LL having to advertise it themselves. Oh, and once in, students tend to stay the whole year, not giving notice part way though - one in a house might drop out and want to leave early, but if the others don't, they don't all give notice, more the dropping out student continues to pay or finds someone themselves to take over the property. Far easier for the landlord all round.

MidniteScribbler Sat 12-Jan-13 21:51:13

Why don't you put your effort in to looking for a new house, rather than trying to screw over your landlord?

There is more than one school in the United Kingdom isn't there? You could go to all this effort to try and get a few months extra in a house (and ruin your chances for a decent reference) and end up miles away and having to find a new school anyway.

pluCaChange Sat 12-Jan-13 22:03:25

Thanks to another thread, I've just been over to the HousePriceCrash forum, and there was a rather interesting item I thought I;d ask about:

... *nytime negotiations are entered into regarding extending the lease, the s21 is invalidated and the LL must issue a new s21 notice giving you a further 2 months notice to evict you. (But in court, the onus of proof is on the tenant so get any negotiations in writing)

It looks something like this: www.letlink.co.uk/GeneralInfo/Gener...ion/S21_1_B.pdf

This is all above board when used within the spirit of the law and gives the tenant at least two months to find alternative accommodation.

Where the s21 becomes the Sword of Damocles is when the LL issues you with an s21 notice RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TENANCY, to expire at the end of your fixed term. This is even when you have taken the tenancy under the understanding that it is a long term arrangement.

If you question the notice, the LL will say something like "it's just for insurance purposes" or "its just paperwork don't worry about it" or "if we get on well together we'll just ignore it" or some soothing fob off like that.

But in reality, once the fixed term expires, you have no right to notice as YOU HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED IT. The landlord can go to court at anytime for an immediate eviction order. They rely on the tenant being either not aware of its implications or unaware they have even been served a possession notice.

There are two instance where this is invalidated
1/ when you sign another fixed term lease
2/ when you negotiate to extend the lease, even if it is to say the lease will lapse into a periodic tenancy.*

Can any housing gurus on this thread confirm that this is so?

There was also a link to Lardlord Zone about it: www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?6803-New-landlord-seeks-advice-does-this-scheme-sound-safe

pluCaChange Sat 12-Jan-13 22:04:13

Oooh, bloody hell! terrible typo (Lardlord Zone). Apologies! blush grin

JeeanieYuss Sat 12-Jan-13 23:16:31

OP did you check your paper work yet for the s21?

TWvirgin Sun 13-Jan-13 07:44:01

You don't have a rouge LL, OP - no matter how much you try to paint him as such. From the facts you've given, your LL has been quite accommodating, he's given you both plenty of notice and an extension.

You're looking for ways to screw him because of a written technicality. I wouldn't want to become an LL either after reading your posts. Your poor LL.

FergusSingsTheBlues Sun 13-Jan-13 07:58:00

Im a LL who has been left in the shit before because of tenans giving me notice to leave. One time, I was on my honeymoon and could do nothing about getting replacement tenants in. It's the way it is. Your landlord has been fair. People arent automatically bastards just because they own a property and rent it out, and you live there.

EllieArroway Sun 13-Jan-13 11:23:19

You're looking for ways to screw him because of a written technicality

I don't understand this attitude at all. It is not in the LLs best interests to continue on this path. If he compels in any way the OP to leave her home without having given her the proper notice then he risks a prison sentence and a very heavy fine. Illegal eviction (which this actually is) is a criminal offence and no judge would regard this as "a written technicality".

The laws exist for a reason. Sorry if you don't like that, but there it is.

microserf Sun 13-Jan-13 12:55:30

Personally I think the entire thread is ridiculous and the op is being utterly hysterical. Call the council and confirm your position re school places. If you live in wandsworth and I suspect you might, they should tell you moving after the date should be ok. The key is the 15 jan date. The child has to be in that residence on that date.

I have been a tenant and not a landlord but I think what you are proposing to do is shameful. you can afford to rent another place. You aren't homeless. You are proposing to screw someone over by refusing to leave his property simply because you want the school place and you dont seem to have checked your position regarding the school. Also it's not that hard to rent with kids. W have 2 and we have not had a problem renting. Yes, the occasional landlord isn't keen. Big deal.

milf90 Sun 13-Jan-13 13:09:22

*" he is well within his rights to do this, its just one of the issues that comes with renting. if you want stability for you and your family then you need to save for a deposit."

What a charmer you are, MILF [sic]. More likely just lucky. Did you know that the average afe of a first time buyer without parental help is 37?*

I don't see anything wrong with mu post, I'm just stating the truth! I also quite resent the f t you have assumed that I am lucky that my parents have chipped in to pay our deposit.... No I actually saved and was sensible with my money through my teens and early 20s, going without, not changing my car and saving - I got a house at 22, with a baby!

theowlworrier Sun 13-Jan-13 14:00:09

I am glad that you are getting good advice OP. Hope it works out for you. It does make me a little sad though- we rent our house out while we are away with work. I know our tenants would like to extend the contract for another couple of years. Unfortunately our circumstances dictate we will not be able to do this. I will of course ensure the agents do everything legally, and i intend to let them know well in advance so they can plan. Your comments about how nasty he is make me very nervous- I sincerely hope our tenants do not think the same of us. Of course he should be doing everythjng above board and legally, but I think that your attitude and assumptions about his reasons for wanting his house back are quite unreasonable, actually.

inabeautifulplace Sun 13-Jan-13 14:37:37

Can't believe how many people are trying to dismiss an S21 as a written technicality! It's the way things have to be done in specific situations. Similarly, as a Tenant there are laws defining what you can and can't do. Perhaps there are also letting agencies and Landlords who also ignore the law when a situation exists to take advantage of it. In my experience, not many!

Regarding the S21 being issued at start of Tenancy, does that mean that you'd enter into discussions 2 months before the start of the term end date to convert into a rolling periodic?

ShellyBoobs Sun 13-Jan-13 15:12:21

I'm not sure if this has already been discussed:

...the school info booklet states that "changes of address after 15 Feb will not be used for admissions purposes until after 17 April 2013, but can be used for correspondence" - i am slightly confused by this... 'until after 17 april 2013' - can someone explain?

But reading this carefully, it seems to mean that as long as you're at your current address until at least 15th Feb, your change of address after that won't affect the admissions process.

The dates they're stating are to prevent people changing address into the catchment area after 15th Feb and still being entitled to apply.

Anyone read it differently?

pluCaChange Sun 13-Jan-13 15:49:53

What you describe is lucky, MILF90, whether you recognise it or not. Not everyone is able to save after school/university, and this will increasingltbe the case.

Moreover, I don't think either you or the OP have said where in the country you live. The potential to save money, or have to spend a lot for everyday living, varies a great deal by region.

FeistyLass Sun 13-Jan-13 17:32:10

pluCaChange your point about where people live is very relevant. Not least because the OP is being offered advice when no-one even knows which country she lives in and which housing law is relevant.
However, the post wasn't originally about housing law or the landlord not giving enough notice. It was about the poster complaining about having to move and the impact this would have on catchment areas. From that point of view, I'm with microserf . The op hasn't checked the position with the school, hasn't checked to see if she has a section 21, hasn't even confirmed if she is in a country that needs a section 21 . . .it's all absolute nonsense.

SaraBellumHertz Sun 13-Jan-13 18:22:10

I know ellie has mentioned it but please don't underestimate the need for a reference.

No decent letting agent will touch you if you don't have one. Nor will a landlord.

Then what will you do?

DontmindifIdo Sun 13-Jan-13 18:50:31

Yes OP - put it simply, you are at a risk of not getting a good reference and you want to stay within a very small geographical area where there's not going to be a lot of landlords/letting agencies.

You might want to put all effort you possibly can into finding a new property, I repeat, ask around, you'd be surprised who will know someone who has a place to rent, or who's currently renting but planning on moving in the next couple of months etc. If you had to put your stuff in storage and go into a hotel /stay with family/friends for 2-3 weeks, that would be better than having to take a property to far away to be able to use that school anyway!

Also thinking further, the timing sounds like your landlord wants you out at the end of March as that's easter weekend, he probably wants to get the house on the market and April is a key time for a lot of people buying, I've always been told it's best to get a house on the market for the easter weekend. (Particulalry if you live near a good school, families often want to move over the school summer holidays and start the new school year in a new school)

cantspel Sun 13-Jan-13 19:00:31

I dont know why everyone is going on about there being no s21 notice as if he doesn't want them out until the end of march he still has plenty of time to serve the s21 as it is only 2 months notice he has to give and it is only the 13th of jan. The notice will probably be served within the next week or so.

oinkyoink Sun 13-Jan-13 21:24:38

I'm living in China but I believe s21 notices exist here too.


Of course I'm in the UK. But I'm not willing to disclose exact location as it doesn't make any difference and I value my privacy.
I've gone through my file and have not come across a s21 notice. For the record, we are searching for a new place. We aren't sitting doing nothing, we are just concerned we won't get mother house as market is slow.

oinkyoink Sun 13-Jan-13 21:27:16

And yes we could still be served a s21 notice... I am aware. Lets see how this life "adventure" unfolds. It's important to keep smiling through the tough times smile

FeistyLass Mon 14-Jan-13 11:41:50

^I'm living in China but I believe s21 notices exist here too.


Of course I'm in the UK.^

It's not valid in all parts of the UK. Scotland has different statutes and forms. However, please do continue to be rude to people trying to help. confused

tomverlaine Mon 14-Jan-13 12:12:25

I can see the tenants point of view here - we are renting and our last two places we have had to leave sooner than we'd like (landlord wanted to sell property in one case/move back in on another)- and although it would have been convenient to string it out we didn't. As a landlord I had to go through the whole eviction process simply to comply with the local authority requirements - as my tenant was paying rent this cost me a lot (yes the court does award arrears but the payback period is huge )- and it cost me a lot of time and stress- to me the fact she was told to wait to be evicted was just ridiculous- and was just the council's way of trying to delay their responsibility to house her.
I hadn't heard of serving the section 21 notice at the beginning of the tenancy - would have been irrelvent here- but will do so in future.
However i do think from the sounds of it that the communication between your landlord and agent has broken down and they don't know what he intends as you haven't had the right notice

myrubberduck Mon 14-Jan-13 14:06:41

Say nothing at all to LL apart from telling him that you intend to move out and that you are looking- do not alert him to the fact that he has has to serve a valid s21 notice.

Stay put if you have to until any valid s21 notice has expired and he starts court proceedings

If he starts proceedings tick the box indicating that you want another 6 weeks in the property due to exeptional circumstances

Dont worry about his legal costs. He cannot recover more than a few hundred pounds from you if he goes to court

Remember any s 21 notice has to be at least two months long. He cannot start proceedings until it has expired. It will take the court at least 6-8 weeks to process the matter and you can extend it by another 6 weeks by ticking that box.

Even if he serves avalid s21 notice now (and if its not valid then do not alert him to this either- check online for some common mistakes on s21 notices- simply say that its invalid when you return the forms to court and say why) he is unlikely to get a possession order for at least 4 months. It will take the court another 8 weeks to issue any warrants.

The bottom line is that if you really need to you could stay there until May/June.

Dont feel sorry for LL.LLs in this county have it very very easy. He is happy to rely on his legal rights; you should be happy to rely on yours.

Good luck.

Cosmosim Mon 14-Jan-13 16:30:27

My rubberduck, your post describes precisely how LLs don't have it easy in the UK. You should see how quickly she'd be locked out with the police called if she tried to stay without paying rent in the States.

EllieArroway Mon 14-Jan-13 16:33:12

Cosmoism The OP still has to pay rent right up until the bailiffs evict.

LittleChimneyDroppings Mon 14-Jan-13 19:16:23

Dont feel sorry for LL.LLs in this county have it very very easy

No they bloody well don't. I had a tenant who completely trashed my house and didn't pay rent for months. It took months to get them evicted. Not bloody easy at all. Whilst I have every sympathy for the ops situation, and hope it works out for her, it's attitudes like yours rubberduck that really piss me off.

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