Out on my ear after 25 years

by Readers Question

9:49 AM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Out on my ear after 25 years

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Out on my ear after 25 years

I have been a private tenant for 25 years, living above a commercial premises. 

Totally out of the blue 3 weeks ago we received a section 21 notice from our landlords solicitor. I would like to point out here that we have ALWAYS paid our rent, council tax and water rates.

Anyway, we have received this devastating blow, legally it appears we have not a leg to stand on but surely morals and fair play as well as common sense should prevail here?

I am not asking my landlord to allow us to stay, if he wants us gone then that is his decision, but I strongly feel that he should offer us something in the way of compensation.

1) How the hell am I supposed to pack up 25 years of my life, hold down a job and take care of my son who has a disability in just 8 weeks?

2) Why should I have to go to the expense of storage fees and removal fees, not forgetting to mention the hefty agents fees, deposits and so on I am expected to pluck out of thin air?

3) We have very recently (last 6 months) decorated throughout, new carpets and stuff and it leaves a very bitter taste that our hard works and efforts will be enjoyed by somebody else.

Am I being unreasonable do you think?

Regards

Nicola



Comments

Mark Alexander

9:53 AM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Nicola

Do you know why your landlords wants you out?

It seems very strange to me that any landlord would want to want to evict such a perfect tenant. If he's looking to sell up I'd have thought he would do better selling a property of the nature you've described as tenanted.

The fact you've been there for 25 years also makes me wonder whether a section 21 notice is actually valid anyway.

Are you absolutely certain that your tenancy is an AST?

Has anybody looked into this for you?

Have you considered bypassing the agent and talking to the landlord directly?
.

Mark Lynham

10:21 AM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

if it was done by the landlords solicitor then one would hope that it has all been done correctly.
Im puzzled as to why you think the landlord should offer you compensation just because he wants his property back? and morals and fairplay? just gets me that people are so quick to have a pop at landlords...
I totally get how you must be feeling but i dont think targeting the landlord like this is very fair....unless he has done something wrong of course.

Paul Franklin

10:52 AM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

If your tenancy began before Feb 1997 the default position is that it would be an assured (non-shorthold) tenancy. Unless you were specifically made aware that is was to be an assured shorthold tenancy. I suggest you find you initial paperwork from 25 years ago if possible. If not, ask them to provide evidence that it is an AST not an assured tenacy. You can't use s21 with assured tenancies.

Note that if you have signed an AST since you initially moved in, perhaps after 97, this does not magically change the assured tenancy to an AST, it stays an assured tenancy unless a specific form is completed and you declare that you want the tenancy to change from an assured to an AST.

wayne carson

10:54 AM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Unfortunately this is the risk of renting a property instead of owning. It is naive to think that a rented property is a property for life. I get the despair that you must be feeling but as long as the notice is correct then there is little point in trying to fight your cause to stay. the landlord/agent has fractured the trust that you once had forever.
That said never assume that work done by a solicitor is correct just because they are solicitors! I often take up the mantle from failed possession proceedings initiated by solicitors. Unless they are specialist property lawyers the chances are that a junior in the company has been given the work as it is beneath a partner to deal with trivial repossessions. There could be basic errors in the documentation that even they are not aware of. Speak to Shelter and they will look over the case to see if you can contest.
I agree with Mr Alexander double check if you are actually under an AST afforded by the Housing Act 1988. You could be under a protected tenancy which means a section 21 is not a valid means for eviction. Ultimately if all documents are correct and in order, if you play the system to its fullest then it can take up to 5-6 months for an eviction to reach its conclusion. ( bailiffs turning up at the door ). I would not advise this as costs can be awarded against you.
My advice is simply to look for new accommodation and the landlord will provide a blinding reference for you, contest and you will struggle.

matchmade

11:17 AM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Following up Paul's advice, assuming you can find your paperwork and can demonstrate the legal status of your tenancy, I suggest you then go to Citizen's Advice and/or see a solicitor. You could also ask the owner's solicitor to demonstrate that the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and that the Section 21 notice is valid. This doesn't need to come across as all bolshie: just explain that you want to check your paperwork ties up with the owner's.

I'm sure it will also help to ask why the landlord has given you notice: perhaps he or she also owns the commercial premises and is selling up both units. If you can get a conversation started, you may find the landlord isn't that anxious to get you out in 2 months, and it's just the solicitors being officious. If so, you could ask politely for more time to find a new home, and perhaps some compensation for your redecoration works (equally, you were fortunate to have the freedom to do this: most landlords don't allow it because it causes so many disputes).

I have sympathy with your position, but in the end the property does not belong to you and the landlord must have the right to re-take possession. You have actually had an extremely good deal, to live in the same place for 25 years, with none of the maintenance costs or exposure to variable interest rates that your landlord has had to face: most owner-occupiers and renters would love to have such stability. I myself once had to move home and pay removal fees three times in eighteen months when I was renting, because one landlord decided to sell up after I'd only been in the house for six months, and the other one broke up with his girlfriend after a year and wanted his house back. Equally, I later needed to move from Berkshire to Manchester and back to Oxfordshire after I met my future wife and changed jobs twice: as a renter, this was much cheaper and easier than if I had been an owner-occupier with stamp duty and estate agent and legal costs to pay. Now, as a landlord, I am faced by regular upheavals and costs as my tenants move in and out - for new jobs, new boyfriends, or a new course of study. This is the price paid by tenants and landlords for having a flexible rental market that tries to balance the changing needs of millions of people, both landlords and tenants.

You may also wish to approach your local authority's housing department, or some local housing associations, to investigate the possibility of social housing for you and your son. Your son's disability may push you higher up the waiting lists and produce a new rental home with the long-term stability you wish.

Sue J

11:52 AM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Nicola

It's always difficult moving after such a long period of time and I appreciate that after 25 years you will have accumulated quite a lot of items and there is never an ideal time in which to sort them out.

You have not advised us if your Landlord has advised you if they are selling the property of wishing to change something within the building which might not include retaining a residential part as before. Provided they have carried out the necessary notices which it seems they have, they are entitled to give notice and to take the property back. This is a 'no fault' right so you should not take this personally as they have the rights within the tenancy agreement to end the tenancy at the end of the term.

I'm not sure why you would consider that the landlord should compensate you for your having to move house. They are only responsible for your current tenancy environment and not for any move which you will need to make should they decide to take their property back.

I would suggest that if you have been a good tenant and have been making the payments as described that your reference will reflect this for another Landlord and you should see this as an asset you have to offer when finding another property to rent.

Can I also suggest that you contact your local housing office at the council who may be able to advise you about any help or assistance which might be available with the move with your disabled son.

Peter Poupard

11:56 AM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

I always find it reassuring and inspirational that other landlords can give advice aimed at assisting good tenants when they come to this forum asking for help. It just goes to show that the private rental market is a two way street with good tenants deserving good landlords and vice versa. Long may this theme continue.

Mark Alexander

12:11 PM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Peter Poupard" at "08/05/2015 - 11:56":

Thank you for that Peter, your comment means a lot to me.

When I first started publishing Readers Questoions from tenants I copped for quite a lot of stick from some members. However, I stuck to my guns on the basis that my mission statement for this forum is "To facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst the Private Rented Sector". This sector is made up of landlords, tenants and letting agents. Without tenants we would have no market, they are our customers. No business sector can afford to ignore it's customers, we all have something to learn from each other.

I deplore the positional approach often taken by the likes of Shelter as this does nothing to help the sector in the long term. Hopefully, at Property118 we are demonstrating that a positive future for the PRS begins with positive and helpful communication.

Thanks again, your comment has made my week 😀
.

nicola wilkins

14:45 PM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "08/05/2015 - 09:53":

Hi Mark
I appreciate the reply

Most of the legal stuff is way beyond me .
I did speak to someone at Shelter who was very helpful , he asked if I had ever been issued with a section 20 notice , I can only find my agreements as far back as 1993 .
1993 has no mention of this section 20 notice , the agreement for 1994 does .

I assumed that each agreement was a new one , or are they just a renewal of the last , this is (obviously ) stressing me out to the max .

I did ask my landlord for copies of all of our agreements but he claims that he only has the last 3 .......

nicola wilkins

15:09 PM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Lynham" at "08/05/2015 - 10:21":

That you for your reply Mark

Under what *I * would consider normal circumstances I would agree with you 100%

Just to be clear , I am not someone who is out to make a fast buck , just an honest hard working person who feels slightly aggrieved .

I have always cut my cloth according to my means , I was not prepared for this .
I have no back up funds , I literally live month to month, I am not complaining as such , its just the way it is .
The lack of rights for private tenants (as I now know) Is virtually none .
My Current rent is £640 for a three bedroom property
To rent even a two bedroom would incur a rent of more than double that .

My Landlord has not increased the rent since 2007 , I have also not had an agreement since then .
I have asked him about it several times , and have been assured that I have nothing to worry about .
We are not talking a Mr Rigby type character here , I rent from a company that is International . (not a property company)

It is looking likely that I may have to move far away , which will mean I shall have to leave my job , My son will have to leave his friends and support network behind .
He has a good relationship with our GP who is very supportive (a rarity in these current times )

Maybe if The landlord were to offer me something , we may both get what we want .

Thanks again for you opinion , it REALLY is good to hear things from all sides .

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