Section 21 issued prior to contract signing

by Readers Question

9:50 AM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Section 21 issued prior to contract signing

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Section 21 issued prior to contract signing

We have private tenancy managed by a letting agent. It is a one year contract, rent has been paid on time and all other terms have been complied with, i.e. we are clean, quiet, diligent tenants.

10 months into our contract our letting agent says our landlord wants them to re-market the property.

We have tried to secure alternate property but the deal fell through. We contacted our letting agents and informed them we will not be vacating for the time being as we have been unable to find a suitable alternative property but are continuing to look.

The response from our letting agent was “too bad you have to be out”. I replied that since they had not served section 21 that we would not be leaving but they insist they did serve notice. I questioned when it was sent … they stated “a long time ago and its your word against ours”.

Upon reviewing contract documents given in person prior to signing and on the day of signing I have found a section 21 notice dated/issued 21 days prior to the contract signing. This was slipped in with other misc papers, we were not alerted to it or notified of it. We were, in fact, not aware of what a section 21 was until recently.

We are maintaining the section 21 is invalid …it was generated 3 weeks prior to the residential contract being signed.

Even if it was given on the day with the contract packet the deposit could not possibly have been secured in the scheme prior to the contact signing. Our letting agents gave us documents as package, the contract did not supply the deposit scheme confirmation and reference ID, although that did arrive later.

Are we right in maintaining the section 21 notice is invalid?

The expiry date is valid, it is just the issue date was three weeks before the contract was signed. There was also no exchange of funds at that point and no contract in effect.

It is very stressful they are harassing and threatening eviction.

Any input much appreciated.

RobSection 21 issued prior to contract signing



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:14 AM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Rob

I am sorry to hear about your predicament.

The letting agency you are dealing with appear to be very unprofessional by all accounts. I suspect your landlord (the owner of the property) is also being ripped off here.

As opposed to fighting this letting agency, the first thing I would do if I were you is to contact the landlord. If you don't know who the landlord is you can easily find out by doing HM Land Registry search - see this link >>> http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/online-services

Explain to the landlord what is going on. The letting agent may well charge the landlord to re-let the property. The landlord may also have a period between tenancies where no money is coming in any may also need to spend money to deal with any wear and tear to re-let the property. That's the last thing any landlord wants I can assure you, especially when they already have a good tenant which you appear to be.

The fact that the letting agent wants to re-let under these circustances suggest to me that it is a financially based decision purely for their benefit. Not only will they make money from the landlord, they will also make more money by charging new tenants for referencing, documentation etc.

When your landlord finds out what's going on you may well find that you landlord is happy to sack the letting agency and allow you to stay on. If this is the case, you and your landlord should work together to expose this letting agents shoddy practices. The landlord may well have signed a contract which has exit penalties, however, under the circumstances I doubt very much that any Court in the land would side with the letting agent if both landlord and tenant recount the scam which I suspect is going on here. If you don't work with your landlord then it is possible that he will be fearful of the letting agent and serve you notice anyway. Therefore, it may well pay you to get on good terms with your landlord if you really do want to stay in the property.

As for your specific question, NO the notice is not valid. However, the agent will be able to get you out eventually if that's what the landlord also really wants. They will need to serve a new section 21 notice properly and then go to court to get possession though, all of which could take four or more months. If you are intimidated in any way during this time, contact the Police and your local Council and ask to speak to a tenancy relations officer.

Working with your landlord is definitely the best solution if at all possible. If you do fight the agent this will undoubtedly reflect badly on you when references are required for subsequent lettings. It's not right but it is a harsh reality.

Either way, when this is all over then you really ought to make an attempt to expose this letting agent in order to protect future landlords and tenants from their shady dealings. Find out if they are a member of a professional body and make complaints. Again this will be far more effective if the complaint comes jointly from both you and your landlord. You may also want to consider leaving a review for your agent on the All Agents website? See >>> http://www.allagents.co.uk/

I hope that helps.

raymond khan

15:16 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

we sorry to hear this and i'm surprise this agent still trading. but the previous mailer correct.
and also you don't have move out and they cannot move you out until they get court order.

the landlords detail should be in your tenancy agreement if is not then the agent is in breach. ask for the landlord details

good luck
ray

Alex Chard

15:30 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Just to echo what Mark has said is completely correct, assuming you've not missed any details out. The S21 cannot be valid if the date is before the commencement of the tenancy.
I would be very surprised if the landlord is aware of what's going on. Any tenant that pays the rent on time and is clean, is worth hanging on to.

Industry Observer

16:14 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Easy peasy this one.

You cannot terminate something before it has even started.

Notice totally worthless. Apart from anything else I'll bet it was served before TDP was sorted so invalid anyway.

Tracy Vincent

16:17 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Definately dont be shy in contacting the Landlord, I expect you are paying the rent directly to the Agency? What if they are not passing on the rent to the landlord? Or paying him late? This could mean the landlord thinks you are unreliable thus agreeing to asking you to move out, the agents would just get new tenants and do this over again and no one would be any the wiser, the agents dont sound very professional so it wouldnt surprise me if this is happening as it has happened to me before,,

Mark Alexander

17:39 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "raymond khan" at "22/07/2013 - 15:16":

I believe it is perfectly legal for the landlords details not to be disclosed by the agent. If you disagree please point me to the Supreme Court ruling or legislation which says otherwise.

andrew townshend

18:07 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

i ve been led to believe that the landlords name should be supplied to the tenant. it would seem there are some very poor letting agents out there. in my area (norwich) they seem to be going out of business pretty rapidly at present.

Mark Alexander

18:13 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "andrew townshend" at "22/07/2013 - 18:07":

Hi Andrew, I'm in Norwich too, we ought to meet up for a coffee some time. A judge recently made the mistake of thinking a landlord must be named on a deposit protection certificate. Could it be that case you were thinking of?

I don't have a good memory for case law but I'm pretty sure Industry Observer will be able to quote chapter and verse if necessary.

Michael Barnes

18:22 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "22/07/2013 - 17:39":

M
ark,

I believe that the Prescribed Information for tenancy Deposit Protection requires that the Landlord's name and address be provided.

recent discussion on these pages suggest that it might not be legal to provide only the agent's details

Mark Alexander

19:13 PM, 22nd July 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes " at "22/07/2013 - 18:22":

I'm certain it isn't, can't find the thread and link now as I'm out and only have my iPhone with me.

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