Issued a section 21 but have a Prescribed Information problem?

Issued a section 21 but have a Prescribed Information problem?

9:57 AM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago 21

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Hi, I’m quite new to buy to lets and have educated myself as I go along. I have now learnt the hard way of the importance of being extra careful to issue the correct information in the right time.

I have a tenant who has fallen behind on their rent and caused some damage. I used a specialist to issue a section 21.

Unfortunately, the specialist did not pick up that I had not issued the Prescribed Information.

Everything else appears in order.

The tenancy deposit information was given to the tenant via a pdf on WhatsApp. Not the best I know but is allowed.

However, with no way of showing that the prescribed information was given, my solicitor has said this will get thrown out of court with me having to pay 1 to 3 times the deposit back to the tenant.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can move forward with this?

The tenants are refusing any person to enter the property.

Thank you,

Elias


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Comments

Landlord Solicitor @ RSPLegal.com

10:24 AM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

As far as S21 goes assuming the deposit was registered within 30 days you need to serve the prescribed information again before serving a new S21. A S21 served at a time where you are in breach of your deposit regulatory requirements is invalid and cannot be retrospectively remedied.

Alternatively you could repay the deposit and then serve a new S21

Compliance with all the pre requisites for S21 and ideally re-service should be the first port of call for a specialist conducting S21 work.

Separately if prescribed information has not been provided within 30 days of the deposit being paid the tenant will be able to claim 1-3 the deposit value as damages and possibly a further 1-3 times if the tenancy has now gone periodic (although there is conflicting case law on that additional compensation point not that any landlord wants to test that argument to a higher court level)

AccidentalLandlord2024

10:29 AM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Sorry to hear that but it is a minefield. Just wondering why you didn't do the research before entering into this business.
1. "specialist did not pick up" - What kind of specialist was that?
2. According to shelter, to remedy the S21 no prescribe situation:
The landlord can serve a new valid notice after:
a. the landlord has given the tenant or any relevant person the prescribed information
b. the deposit has been returned to the tenant or any relevant person in full, or subject to any deductions agreed with the tenant
c. the tenant or any relevant person made a claim for compensation for the failure to
protect the deposit, and the claim has been determined by the court, or withdrawn, or settled out of court between the landlord and tenant
Usually, lack of prescribed (but deposit protected) = 2x (plus original).
Also, a tricky situation about S8 as they could counter sue per above to bring the net arrears down to below 8 weeks worth of rent.
If you lived there before and are currently renting, you can try S8, Ground 1 - owner occupier moving back in. Strictly speaking, you need to serve a notice before the start of the tenancy that you could use S8,G1 but if you are moving back in, the judge may dispense of the notice requirement.

The "good news" is that you will get the house back eventually. The bad news is that it will cost you loads of money.

Good luck.

Dylan Morris

11:10 AM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

I’m no legal expert so seek legal advice but here’s a thought. Could you not simply return the deposit and then carry on with the existing Section 21 ? I’m not sure but may worth asking your eviction specialist.

Judith Wordsworth

11:12 AM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

If you served PI by WhatsApp was it acknowledged by your tenant? Can you screen shot the whole conversation and turn into a pdf?
It might suffice if Tenant disputes the s21.

A s21 is purely notice that you require the property back after a certain date. Not a guarantee that you will get it back on a certain date.

As AccidentalLandlord 2024 says, follow Shelters 2a.

Do not send by WhatsApp but print and either hand deliver (get someone to go with you and they sign a delivery witness statement form) or post to be signed for signed for. Also email it and request a confirmation of receipt. Leave it a week or couple of weeks then issue a new s21.

Never ever ever use social IT for PRS business. Hard copies but can email things like How to Rent booklet pdf etc but lust what you have attached in the body of the email. And print the email out and file

Simon F

17:06 PM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Try Export Chat on WhatsApp.

Reluctant Landlord

17:28 PM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

I have often wondered even if you want to return the deposit, what if T is savvy and they refuse to accept the deposit back by engaging with the refund process even if you start the ball rolling with the deposit protection company to return the deposit in full to them.

The deposit protection company will not do anything until the tenant agrees to start the ball rolling on repayment and of course the tenancy has not actually ended yet either.

You might want to call the deposit company you use for proper clarity on this though.

David Houghton

20:13 PM, 7th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Eviction specialist???? Is that a non qualified legal advisor who cannot represent you at court without the judges permission???

What's app isn't a valid method of service, not is email unless it's by prior agreement.

Serve all you need to, then reissue s21.

Sarash Bhatoolaul

20:52 PM, 7th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago

I suggest you return his deposit asap and issue a money claim ( N1 Form ) for his rent arrears. Before you complete the N1 Form,, under the Civil Procedure Rules, you must send your tenant a pre-court letter of action and allow one month for him to reply. When he will fall in substantial rent arrears ( is it 3 months ? ), use S.8 to evict him. If he is already in rent arrears by one month, you will need to wait for only one extra month after serving him the pre-court protocol letter which takes one month to wait for the tenant's reply. If successful, your money claim for his rent arrears will compensate for the damages awarded against you for not serving the two-page Prescribed Information for Tenants booklet. Besides, you will also succeed in repossessing your much valued property. Good luck.

David Houghton

21:44 PM, 7th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Sarash Bhatoolaul at 07/02/2024 - 20:52
Yes, that would work if he has a job an attachment of earning. I try to avoid, S8 if possible

David

9:58 AM, 8th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago

The first reply from 'Landlord Solicitor' is correct. If you serve the correct deposit PI now, you would then be able to serve a valid s21 notice provided the other prescribed documents have also been served.

The tenant can still sue you for a penalty of up to 3x the deposit, but I would expect the award to be lower, (perhaps about 1x or 1.5x) in this instance.

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