Section 21 questions for possible revenge eviction on family of 6

by Readers Question

4 years ago

Section 21 questions for possible revenge eviction on family of 6

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Section 21 questions for possible revenge eviction on family of 6

I moved into my current (rented) home 4 months ago. I recently contacted the agent I rent from to report the presence of mould (as required by the agreement) and to ask for help.

The initial response was “not our problem. If you don’t like it then move”.

The next day (Saturday) a section 21 notice was delivered giving me just over 2 months notice, accompanied by a letter saying it was because of the mould issue. Not nice at this time of year.

After my initial shock and anger I have had a few days to calm down and decided that in the long term I do not want to live here any more (so attempting to patch things up does not seem worth the effort) even though I am going to have to pay again for references, etc and money is tight. I want to move, but 2 months is unlikely to be enough time to find a suitable place for a family of 6.

I believe that the S21 notice is invalid, so I may have an extra couple of months to find a new home.
However, I want to be sure of my position before doing something stupid that may affect my ability to rent a new place.

I have searched Property118 articles (and elsewhere) but have been unable to find the answer to the questions below. Can anyone provide answers, preferably with reference to law?

1. I have heard that if a notice is delivered after 5pm or on a non working day (Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holiday) then it is deemed served on the next working day.
a) is this true?
b) does it also apply if the notice is handed to the tenant?
c) does it apply if the notice is handed to someone at the property who is not named on the notice?

2. A section 21 notice requires possession AFTER a date.
a) Does this mean that the tenant can return possession at any time after that date and no longer be liable for rent etc?
b) If that is the case, then would it still apply if the notice was not completed correctly (ie could the landlord claim on the basis that HE had screwed up)?

3. I believe that if a judge says that the Section 21 notice is invalid, then
a) I have done nothing wrong by staying in the house and it should not affect my ability to rent through an agency in the future.
b) I will not have to pay any of the landlord’s costs.

Many Thanks

Ernstrevenge



Comments

Anthony Endsor

4 years ago

Hi Ernst

As to whether a Section 21 is valid or not depends on the date your tenancy is due to end, i.e. whether it is 6 months or 12 months.
You say you have lived there 4 months. Therefore if your agreement is 6 months, the Landlord is perfectly entitled to issue a Section 21.
A Section 21 is a no fault claim by the Landlord and can be issued any time to expire after the tenancy ends, but the expiry date has to state AFTER the day before the rent due date, so if you pay rent on say 2nd of the month, the notice should say AFTER 1st of (month). The notice has to be at least 2 clear months and expire after the tenancy agreement. Therefore if it is issued in good time, it shouldn't matter whether it is a working day or not.
If the notice is handed to you, the Landlord will likely have a witness to prove you received it, so that would be valid.
If it is handed to someone not named at the property, it wouldn't be valid. It has to be given to the tenant, or someone on the agreement.
The AFTER date means you must hand back possession the day after that date. You have no legal rights to the property after that date providing the notice is issued correctly.
if the notice wasn't completed correctly, it wouldn't be worth anything, so would be invalid.
You are correct that IF a judge says the notice isn't completed correctly you do have the right to stay in the house and not pay costs.
Hope this is of help to you. 🙂

Chris Amis

4 years ago

Shelter would certainly look at it with a tenants bias for you and will no doubt get you to check deposit details which would scupper the section 21 anyway.

I am amazed the LL actually wrote the reason for the section 21, no reason is required.

A bad LL would not care even if you were living in squalor so long as you paid the rent, are you withholding rent till he clears the mold?

If you are not withholding rent and this really is one of these fabled revenge evictions you are well out of it.

You have the choice to move on cleanly to another let or stretch it out and see if an eviction can get you into social housing.

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

Ernst

Something is going on, that we are not being told! No sensible landlord will replace a good tenant before even investigating what the issue is with the mould. So write to the landlord directly (the agent must give you the landlords address when asked) and explain what is going on, pointing out that the agent will charge them for finding the next tenant.

It is not worth the risk questing the details of a S21, getting a reasonable reference is a lot more important as no landlord will wish to rent to you if you have every been taken to court for eviction, regardless of the outcome of the case. Explain what happened with the mould giving the new landlord a copy of the letter, as that way it looks better than if it is in a reference without forewarning.

If I was you, I would talk to your local housing department and tell the agent you are doing so. Also ask for confirmation from the agent that they will not object to you leaving before the date on the S21. Then do whatever you can to find somewhere else to live, but don’t move out until you have somewhere, as your local housing department may then decide you make yourself homeless.

Ernst A tenant

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Anthony Endsor" at "02/12/2014 - 12:17":

The tenancy was for 4 months.
If saturday counts as date of service, then it is just within 2 months notice (24 january). If Monday counts as date of service, then it is less than 2 months, and I have a defence.

Having been treated like this I don't want to stay here long term, but I don't think I can find a reasonable place before mid january and just want a bit more time to find somewher but without harming my chances with other agents/landlords.

John Frith

4 years ago

Anthony, do you know what the cause of the damp is? My view is that this is a first step, as it will establish where the responsibility lies for resolving the problem.

Ernst A tenant

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Amis" at "02/12/2014 - 12:28":

I'm not after social housing: you never know where you will end up.

I pay the rent and will continue to do so. I don't want to break the law.

Anthony Endsor

4 years ago

I think we may be at cross purposes with names here John. Was that question meant for Ernst?

Ernst A tenant

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "02/12/2014 - 12:35":

I have spoken to a landlord friend and he suggested that I am up front about the situation when I go to see letting agents. It was he who thought the service date might be dodgy and helped me look for information (but we failed to find anything definitive abot service direct to a person rather than putting it through the letter box.

I won't deny the time and method of service, I just want to work with the law.

Would yoy recomend that I tell the agent that the notice is invalid (if it is) and if so, then when should I do it - now or close to the date specified?
I was thinking in court, but you have now put doubt in my mind.

Also, do you think it is worth asking them not to enforce for a couple of months so that I have time to find somewhere (given that xmas and new year are in the middle)?

Ernst A tenant

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frith" at "02/12/2014 - 15:01":

I don't know. I had hoped the agent would help. All I got was the suggestion (accompanying the Section 21 notice) that I should have left the bathroom windows open.

I do open windows whenever possible (the air is nice in teh countryside), but I don't know if it is a fault with the building or how we are living.

I did go into the loft yesterday and found a damp area up there. I have emailed the agent because I can't face talking to them.

Ernst A tenant

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "02/12/2014 - 12:35":

You say something else is going on.

We did have a copuple of issues at the start. We agreed that one was our problem and one was for the landlord to fix. Everything was done and we trhoght we were OK with landlord.

We did also report damp two months into the tenancy, so I suppose I should have mentioned that. The response at that time was "not a problem previously" a nd no one came out to look. I suppose the mould is a follow-on and the earlier contact should have worried me more.

The property is 20-30 years old, so it is not a s0lid-wall issue (I think).

Now you make me thing about it, maybe the damp in the loft is related - possibly a roof problem?

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