What next after a section 21 expires?

by Readers Question

12:16 PM, 3rd May 2014
About 6 years ago

What next after a section 21 expires?

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What next after a section 21 expires?

I have served a section 21 notice on 18th February 2014 to my tenant, this notice expired on 25th April 2014. The same date (25th April 2014) was when the assured shorthold tenancy ended. What next after a section 21 expires?

Background – House was let through a council scheme in 2010, but the assured shorthold tenancy agreement is with a named tenant and the tenant is claiming housing benefit to pay the rent. Tenant living there is a family (2 adults, 1 child at college 18 years old and 1 baby who is 9 months old). I want to get possession of the house to live in it myself with my family (wife and two babies). The tenant is very good overall, pays the rent on time (odd times a week late on the payment) but overall pays up the rent.

Now the tenant is not moving out, he has asked for another month. However, I have pressed him to see the council to seek help in getting re-housed but no reply and very hard to contact him as he is working away and not answering my calls/text messages. The Council are not helping either, they are asking me to seek legal advice.

What do I do next? Thoughts?

Getting legal advice via a solicitor? Adds further costs to me.

Getting a possession order via the courts? If so how do I arrange this? Can I do this myself?

I’d really appreciate your help and guidance.

Regards

Del



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:21 PM, 3rd May 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi Del

25 years of experience in this business has taught me that in this scenario the DIY route is not the best one to take.

Yes it may cost you a few hundred pounds to get professional help but that's far cheaper than several extra months of grief, rent arrears and damages to your property which is sadly often the case in these situations.

I strongly recommend that you make contact with Landlord Action - please see the blog I wrote here >>> http://www.property118.com/tenant-eviction/39099/

At this stage you are probably hoping that he will just honour his word, pay his rent and go as promised at the end of the month. I know that feeling, it's called hope. However, bear in mind that your tenant clearly doesn't want to go and that the local Council will refuse to help him until he is evicted. He will need money to move and set up a new home and given that you're the one disrupting his equalibrium then paying you rent will now feature much lower on his list of priorities. He probably has no assets and given that he also has no job and may well relish the idea of getting re-housed by the Council, possibly into a nice new Housing Association property, then he's unlikely to be too concerned about his credit rating either. I'm sorry this is not what you will have wanted to read but it is the reality according to my perception of the position you are in.

NOTE TO OTHER READERS

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Robert Mellors

12:54 PM, 3rd May 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi Del

You said that your tenant is claiming Housing Benefit to pay the rent, but you then say he is working away from home. Although someone can be working and claiming Housing Benefit at the same time, e.g. if they are on a very low income, warning bells are ringing because if he is claiming Housing Benefit when he is not entitled to do so, then this could be fraud. If you know that he is working and claiming Housing Benefit at the same time, (as you do), then this could also potentially land you in trouble. If the Housing Benefit is paid direct to you then any overpayment could also be recovered from you.

Although applying for a court order is not difficult, there are a lot of potential pitfalls, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process, so I suggest you follow Mark's recommendation, contact Landlord Action and pay them to do everything to get this tenant out as quickly as possible. It won't be cheap, but better than the possible consequences of not doing it right first time.

Sally T

19:54 PM, 3rd May 2014
About 6 years ago

Hope this is allowed if not please remove, here is a link to possession order
http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n005b-eng.pdf
Even if you get someone else to do it, it's nice just to read through so you know what your tenant will receive. Once you take it to court you get a letter back (you need 3 copies of everything, we didn't know that and had to nip to library), you'll get a letter saying the date they got served, we got ours today. The tenant now has 2 weeks to mount a defence. From what I can work out it's then down to the judge to give them a moving out date. This is our first time too, we're braving it going it alone. By the time it matters if they make us go through it again for doing something wrong we'll be able to slap her with a section 8 for rent arrears, or that's the plan. But hopefully it will all go through no problem.
If your giving him the extra month he's requested be sure to put it in writing to him, when it goes to court it will show you've been reasonable.

Mark Alexander

20:12 PM, 3rd May 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sally T" at "03/05/2014 - 19:54":

Links to non commercial websites are perfectly acceptable. In fact, pretty much any link is providing it is not promoting ones own business 🙂

I stand by my initial advice though.
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Sally T

22:24 PM, 3rd May 2014
About 6 years ago

I also agree with your advice, but sometimes it's nice to look things over first so you understand it better. We turned up at court with only one copy as it never said you needed a copy for each party, lucky for us there was a library near by.
We made the mistake of trying to be nice. Our tenant gave us the crib that my 2 babies used, now we're having to go to court to get her out, not what we wanted 🙁

Jeremy Smith

0:30 AM, 4th May 2014
About 6 years ago

I filed the court papers to the court, after filling in why he had to leave ( it wasn't rent arrears).
They sent papers to the defendant, for them to give their defence.
I got copies back through court.
We all turned up at court on the said date,
I got a date he needed to be out by.
He got told by the council to stay put.
Date passed and we filed for a baliff date.
On due date, we went round to the property, and he was gone !

-Simples !! But I'm sure it isn't always that simple, and someone who knows the pitfalls can make sure you don't fall into them, I'm sure !!

martinB

9:54 AM, 4th May 2014
About 6 years ago

I thought that there was a recent court case in the north west where a landlord had taken his local council to court because they had advised his tenant to ignore a section 21 notice and wait to be evicted - the court ruled that the council's advice was wrong and he won damages. I will never let to a housing benefit tenant again because councils seem always to be on the side of the tenant and then they wonder why no landlords will let to their "customers"

Mark Alexander

10:04 AM, 4th May 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Martin Rdg" at "04/05/2014 - 09:54":

If that really is true then the Court case deserves a much higher profile. Please try to dig out the details and we will make a big thing about it here on Property118 with a view to landlords sharing this information and having the mainstream media pick up on it too.

The advice given by Council teams has ruined many a landlords finances. If there is an opportunity for landlords to fight back and claim compensation for this injustice then it might help Councils to realise that the PRS is not there to be abused as a bottomless pit of money they can rob whenever it is convenient for them to do so.
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Andrew Bird

10:44 AM, 10th May 2014
About 6 years ago

I would fully agree that as soon as the courts are involved get a solicitor involved. I have just had my solicitor go for a possession order and the judge found a problem with the timings. The contract was downloaded from the “Residential Landlords Association” who have amended the wording for later issues. The RLA confirmed that several possessions have been obtained with this wording without problems. The exact wording was:

“From 1st July 2010 to 11am on 1st January 2011”.

District Judge White who heard your application for possession yesterday commented that he had never seen such a description. The problem is that the term of your Tenancy described to end at 11am on 1st January 2011.
The Tenancy Agreement describes the term of the Lease as being for six months and 11 hours. Therefore causing problems when a Section 21 Notice is served. District Judge White therefore was minded to find that our Section 21 Notice was not valid. We had a discussion about the recent case law of Spencer –v- Taylor in which the Court found that as long as a Landlord gave two clear months notice this should be sufficient and the Judge was willing to hear this argument. However the Tenant was asked by the Judge if she wanted to contest the validity of your notice. She confirmed that she did and therefore District Judge White considered adjourning the hearing for it to be re-listed for a contested hearing.

This case was resolved with the tenants agreement but they have three months to vacate. As the tenant is on housing benefit ( though not the full amount) paid directly to me the losses are manageable.
No more Benefit tenants, too many problems with both the tenant and with the council with frequent suspended payments! Life would probably be easier if the tenant did not have any income other than benefits.

Andy


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