Tom Buckland

Registered with
Tuesday 11th November 2014

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 5

Tom Buckland

11:12 AM, 3rd August 2016, About 5 years ago

Why do judges find the need to be pedantic?

If the AST provides for service under s.196 LPA 1925, service is deemed to have taken place when "left" at the address (i.e. hand delivered or personally served where proof of physically delivery to the address can be proved, not simply proof of posting) or where the documents is sent by registered/recorded post and not returned.

The conclusion to be drawn is that s.196 LPA cannot be satisfied through service by normal (i.e. unregistered) first class post so technically the Judge is correct. If however the tenant has acknowledged receipt of the notice and you have evidence of this, the landlord can argue that delivery of the notice is proved and the notice has therefore clearly been "left at" the address.

If the Judge won't accept the landlord's written submission he can always request the Court lists a hearing and make representations in person.... Read More

Tom Buckland

9:39 AM, 27th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Tenant is sub letting, in rent arrears, and out of the country!

P.S. I would also suggest you check the service provision in the AST. Most ASTs allow you to serve any notices at the property address, whether or not the tenant is actually there.... Read More

Tom Buckland

9:38 AM, 27th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Tenant is sub letting, in rent arrears, and out of the country!

Agree that checking the insurance position is the priority here.

If you want to clear the house and obtain vacant possession, you cannot issue a section 21 notice for another three months if there are still 5 months left to run on the term. You could terminate earlier using a section 8 notice citing ground 8, 10 and 11 for rent arrears and ground 12 for unlawful subletting (providing this is actually prohibited in the AST): this will carry a two week notice period after service.

Turnaround times to get the claim through Court will depend on where in the country the claim must be heard: a lot of the London Courts (as well the larger regional Courts such as Birmingham) are under a huge amount of pressure with workloads and it may take several weeks to get a hearing.

In terms of cost, the Court fee for a possession claim is currently £355. The cost of preparing the claim will depend on whether you wish to instruct a solicitor or do the legals yourself. If you intend to seek possession for unlawful subletting I would suggest at least consulting a solicitor before you serve notice (if not to run the claim for you) - they will be able to advise you how best to approach the claim and what you can do to avoid inadvertently authorising the subletting, which might leave you with a handful of subtenants to formally evict once you have terminated the head tenancy.... Read More

Tom Buckland

11:31 AM, 21st July 2016, About 5 years ago

Buying property with lifetime tenancy?

If the tenants have been in occupation for 40 years, presumably they are Rent Act tenants. As Neil says, protected tenants are notoriously difficult to remove and will also likely pay a lower rent than you would get under an AST for a similar property. There is no section 21 equivalent under the Rent Act 1970 so there is no option to end the tenancy unless there is a breach of covenant or you are able to prove one of the other grounds for possession in the statute. In any event the Court has a wide discretion to suspend or adjourn possession claims which it will be more likely to exercise if the tenants are elderly or vulnerable.

Also bear in mind that in some circumstances, a Rent Act tenancy can be inherited by a family member if the tenants pass away, providing that family member was living in the property with them for at least two years before they pass. Otherwise their next of kin family member will automatically acquire an AST which you would need to terminate before vacant possession can be obtained.

Unless you can get the house for a knock-down price and the physical bricks and mortar represent a sounds investment, I would be tempted to look elsewhere!... Read More

Tom Buckland

12:58 PM, 23rd January 2015, About 7 years ago

Tenant Request for Advice and Help

Dear Michelle

You may already be aware that a Section 21 Notice entitles a landlord to ask you to leave on "non-fault" grounds - in other words, it matters not whether your rent has been late or if you are keeping animals at the property without the landlord's consent. Even a "perfect" tenant who has been up to date with their rent throughout the course of their tenancy can be compelled to leave if served with a valid notice under s.21.

As Mark has already advised, the landlord cannot force you to move until after the notice has expired and even then, he must first obtain an order for possession from the Court and request a bailiff's warrant before he can remove you. This process can take some time (usually around 6 weeks depending upon the workloads your local court deals with) although the landlord has the option to "fast track" the claim which means he may be able to obtain an order for possession without a hearing taking place.

There are only limited grounds under which a claim under s.21 can be defended (for example, failure to protect a deposit or failure to properly serve the notice). There is however a mechanism for delaying enforcement of any order for possession to up to 6 weeks if you are able to show the Court that you will suffer "exceptional hardship" at being required to leave. You may be able to find assistance with all these points on the Property118 website to see if you have a case, otherwise I would suggest a visit to your local Citizens Advice Bureau who will be able to direct you further.

Before you get to the stage of Court proceedings, I agree with Mark that open and honest dialogue with your landlord may present a sensible solution. Good luck.... Read More