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Help - advice needed re: Landlord wanting us out 5 months in to a 12 month lease - Scotland

(44 Posts)
glasjam Thu 04-Jun-09 20:56:47

Right - in a daze here. Have just received a call from our letting agents telling us that our landlord wants us out in 2 months. We have rented a lovely 3-bed semi in a great area right nearby the primary school that our son starts in the Summer - we moved in in January and signed a 12 month Short Assured Tenancy Agreement and it was heavily hinted at that the old dear who was renting us the house wanted long term tenants - we emphasised that we would want to rent for many years if it was possible - all great.

We just got round to putting all our pictures up and we are VERY HAPPY. It's the first time we've lived in a house rather than a flat and our two kids love the garden.

So this is a complete and utter shock. 2 month's notice means exactly when our son starts school which is presently 5 minutes walk away. Unfurnished, rented houses round her are like hens teeth.

So what's the score - I know we will have to seek legal advice but just wanted to know if anyone on Mumsnet had any info (it's my first port of call on SO many things!) It is such a monumental pain - I've looked at our contract and there is a section that refers to a tenancy being brought to an end early by a landlord if he defaults on his mortgage and it gets repossessed and there is reference to Schedule 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988. I bravely searched out an online copy of it and thought I might be bright enough to work it out but am obviously too dense because I can't make head or tail of it.

It has so many implications for us - school-wise, money-wise (all those BT and Virgin contracts) - money we've spent putting up blinds. Perhaps we were stupid but we really had started to think of this as home for some years.

Anyway, half the reason I've written this is just to vent BUT if any kind soul out there has any advice or experience of this then please let me know!

trixymalixy Thu 04-Jun-09 22:39:29

sad

poor you!!!

Have you checked your contract? It should have a notice period on it. AFAIK even though you have signed a 12 month lease the landlord can still terminate it early by giving the required notice.

Hopefully someone who knows for definite will be along in a bit.

glasjam Fri 05-Jun-09 11:26:57

Thanks Trixymalixy. I can't see anywhere on our contract that specifies a "get-out" clause other than for repossession of the house.

I've just been on to the Citizen's Advice Bureau who were really helpful and they had a look through the Security of Tenure Granted by the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 and could only see Grounds of possession and early termination of the lease if there had been rent arrears, neglect/damage to the property or furniture, using the house for immoral purposes (!) etc. Obviously, none of them apply.

Will be interested when we actually get the paperwork through the post to see what loophole if any, they're using.

In the meantime, we're house-hunting!

fishie Fri 05-Jun-09 11:29:20

ring shelter - here

londonone Fri 05-Jun-09 14:54:24

Every AST I have ever had, as a tenant or a landlord, is 12 months with a 6 month break clause i.e after 4 months, 2 months notice can be given on either side. So you are guaranteed to be in for the first 6 months but could be given notice from 4 months onward. This is very standard in ASTs

inscotland Fri 05-Jun-09 15:27:57

To evict you they must give a reason, ie you have delayed paying rent, you have caused damage etc but those are discretionary grounds that a Sheriff may grant in court.

If however, the landlady needs the proerty for herself or her spouse, it is a reposession, it needs substanital work or the tenancy is devolved as someone has died then the Sheriff must grant and order for posession.

Get in touch with the CAB for advice however, firstly I'd ask the letting agent on what grounds they are seeking eviction.

oooh balls, I have just now read your message above but will post this for you now.

Let us know what the eviction order says.

expatinscotland Fri 05-Jun-09 15:38:27

oh, glas, dont know what to add except that i feel your pain! i hope you can work something out.

glasjam Fri 05-Jun-09 21:02:52

Christ that's such bad news about the breakclause after 4 months Londonone - I had NO idea - WTF is the point of a 12 month Short Assured Tenancy. In the phone conversation the lettings agent had with my partner there was mention of a "4 month" period being pertinent so this must be what they are referring to. One thing Londonone, you refer to an AST. Is this a Short Assured Tenancy because wouldn't that be an SAT? I'm just wondering if you mean an Assured Tenancy agreement which I believe exists but is slightly different.

And Inscotland - I think basically the landlord needs the property for herself - although that is a swizz because our named landlady on the contract is the mother of the SON who is wanting to move in. He may have lived here when the property was being done up prior to us moving in. But I can't believe that this allowed - so you rent your house out to tenants and tell them that its theirs for 12 months but basically after 4 months can turn round and say "Oh I want to move back in so shift your arse"- arrrggghhhh!

My head is exploding with this - I have to switch off from this aspect of it and concentrate on finding a similar property, in the same area before the beginning of August. I wonder where we stand about giving notice - if we saw somewhere tomorrow and they wanted us to start paying in a month would our existing landlord insist on us paying an extra month (to satisfy this wonderful 2 month notice period?) That would be like adding insult to injury surely?

Thanks for your kind words expatinscotland - I am sure we will work something out but it will be a wrangle and hassle and I've just been diagnosed with high blood pressure so this is REALLY helping!!

expatinscotland Fri 05-Jun-09 21:44:58

'Christ that's such bad news about the breakclause after 4 months Londonone - I had NO idea - '

FFS, nor did I!

Feck, glasgam, if I win the Lotto tomorrow night I'll help out.

But now we're poor as church mice and our tenancy is up in october, so we are there, too.

sad

londonone Sat 06-Jun-09 00:16:05

AST is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

expatinscotland Sat 06-Jun-09 10:09:40

if i were you i'd be tempted to let her go the whole hog with eviction procedings. then you'll be involuntarily homeless and the council will have to offer you accommodation and then you don't have to worry about private tenancies anymore.

expatinscotland Sat 06-Jun-09 10:13:49

we're tempted to go this route ourselves when our landlords come back and our tenancy ends.

GentleOtter Sat 06-Jun-09 10:18:12

this might be helpful glasjam

My son and I were stung the same way a few years ago and I'm not sure that it is strictly legal. Have they presented you with court orders to move?

GentleOtter Sat 06-Jun-09 10:20:11

The usual period for a notice to quit would be 2 months for a SAT.

glasjam Sat 06-Jun-09 12:59:50

The fact of the matter is we need somewhere to live. We want a home. My son is about to start school and although we have had our financial difficulties (we are paying off our final debt at a crippling amount a month) my partner IS in a relatively well-paid, steady job. He works his arse off and we have no disposable income. I cannot put myself at the mercy of the council to rehouse me - I cannot have that uncertainty hanging over mine and my children's future. So we will beg, borrow or steal money to get us a new rental property and hope to god that we can get our £800 deposit back.

I read your link GentleOtter thanks for that - I think I tried reading it before and came to the same conclusion - it's so confusing and seemingly contradictory - for instance:

12. Does a tenant under a short assured tenancy have security of tenure?

Only during the agreed period of the let. During that time, a tenant with a short assured tenancy cannot be evicted as long as he does not break any of the tenancy conditions. At the end of the agreed period the landlord has the right to apply for repossession if he wants. But the tenant can still stay on until the court grants the landlord an order for possession.

That sounds as if we are in the right here and an injustice has been done but then:

30. . Grounds 1 to 8 what are those mandatory grounds (for the courts to grant the landlord an order of possession)?

If one of the following grounds is established the court must grant the landlord an order for possession.

Ground 1: either:

a. the house was the landlord's only or principal home at any time before the tenancy was granted; or

b. the landlord needs the property for himself or his spouse for use as the principal home of one or both of them and did not become the landlord through buying the house or otherwise acquiring it for value.

So point 30 basically says (if I am understanding it correctly) that the court will grant the landlord an order for possession if he wants to move back in - doesn't it?

We received in the post today a Form AT6 - a Notice under section 19 of Intention to Raise Proceedings for posession - which states that he intends to apply to the SHerriff for an order for possession of the house.

I could sit here and wait out the next 2 months and then let the landlord go to the courts to gain possession - we could then wait for the courts to do their thing and then by Sept/Oct be out on our ear - or we could launch into a legal challenge and the landlord either wins and we get hit with costs- or the landlord gives up and then waits till December and then we have to get out then at the end of our tenancy. How horrendous would that time be? How Homely would we make our home in the knowledge that we are not going to be in it for much longer?? The stress would be horrendous.

I would rather get out now - get settled into a new home and put this experience down to bad luck. I am actually feeling that I am going to explode and that't not going to get better if I am involved in protracted wranglings.

I will take this paperwork along to the Citizen's Advice - but I think what I really need is the advice of a really good solicitor who can do an initial assessment of our situation for free? I'd like to know whether we have any grounds to gain compensation for this even if we end up vacating in the next month or two.

I'm sorry you went through something similar to this GentleOtter because I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

glasjam Sat 06-Jun-09 13:11:10

Forgot to thank fishie for that useful link to Shelter. One to bookmark for sure.

expatinscotland Sat 06-Jun-09 13:14:33

I understand, glas, I'm just really sorry you're having to go through this because I think tenancy laws in the UK are absolute shite, tbh. There's no real security beyond just a few months for the tenant and I think that's bollocks.

I hope you find something else soon.

GentleOtter Sat 06-Jun-09 14:15:04

Which area are you in glasjam?

inscotland Sat 06-Jun-09 19:47:22

Was just about to ask the same to see if I can help. Where are you?

glasjam Sat 06-Jun-09 22:29:30

Without trying to give too much away I am in a twee suburban enclave in the West End.

GentleOtter Sat 06-Jun-09 22:33:24

You may find this company very helpful. There is a section on defending evictions at the foot of the page.

glasjam Sun 07-Jun-09 01:03:33

Thanks GentleOtter - have just read through the relevant section with great interest. There don't seem to be any examples relating to my circumstances but it is interesting to read the findings and the workings of the Sherrif's court! (I will however look at it again tomorrow morning when my brain may be a bit sharper!)

It makes me think - if I was prepared to sit it out here with my partner and children in an atmosphere of great uncertainty - wait for the 2 month period to be up and then await the actual court proceedings - then there might be a chance I could win. But that's where the problem is.

I am doing what any person who has the wherewithal to do it (be it through their own means or by borrowing from others) would do. And that is, looking for somewhere else to live, incuring all the additional expenses that will accrue in moving AGAIN after only 5 months and give my family a home. I am not going to sit it out and go through court proceedings and the stress that they will bring. BUT I still feel I should be able to hold this Landlord/Lettings Agency to account if they have done something wrong.

I think that the contract should be more explicit about this clause. I also noticed that the actual Schedule from the Housing (Scotland) act 1988 was supposed to be attached to the contract AND IT WASN'T. I strongly feel that the contract should be more transparent about this. So I will take advice and see if there is any course of action available to me.

I will keep you posted and thanks so much for everyone who has answered this thread. It's one hell of a support network!

AitchTwoOh Sun 07-Jun-09 01:22:15

fuck, i saw the title and hoped it wasn't you. i'm so gutted for you, i know how much you like that place. gutted.

did you sign an AB1 form? that's i think what makes it definitely a short assured tenancy. i have a friend who has a company that rents places, i'll give him a phone for you tomorrow if you like.

AitchTwoOh Sun 07-Jun-09 01:26:12

sorry, i think i may have meant at1

AitchTwoOh Sun 07-Jun-09 01:29:06

bollocks. at5 i think. www.scotland.gov.uk/housing/leaflets/atsy-07.asp

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