Tenant Request for Advice and Help

by Readers Question

12:32 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Tenant Request for Advice and Help

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Tenant Request for Advice and Help

We have been issued with a section 21, I am disabled and my husband is retired.  Tenant Request for Advice and Help

We have been given this because our rent was late 3 months out of 6. We do not have the money to move to another private rented accommodation and even if we did it would be difficult to find the right thing, especially with having a dog.

We need a certain type of property, ideally a bungalow as some days I can hardly move.

My husband had a word with the owner in October last year and asked him to let us know if the rent was late again. We never heard anything until this section 21 came through the door. It wasn’t sent by recorded delivery so we haven’t signed anything to say we have received it.

We have the rent for next month but they want us out by 31st of this month, we have no chance.

Is there anyway we can delay? We love it here, we moved from one district to another for this bungalow and the council say they can not house us because of my needs.

Is there anything we can do?

Please note that the late payments were the banks fault, not ours.  They messed up as the rent for the house we lived in before was payable on the 11th but the rent for this new property was due on the 1st.

I am really worried now and it is making me ill.

Please can you help this is the only problem we have we take care of the house and when inspections have been done we always get a good report.

HELP PLEASE!

Thanks

Michelle



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:38 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Michelle

Thank you for reaching out to us.

The process can ideed be delayed as your landlord MUST obtain a possession order from the Courts to force you to leave. He can only apply for this AFTER the expiry of your section 21 notice. You will have several weeks before getting to that stage.

What you really need here is some positive communication with your landlord. Have you spoken to your bank about the problem? Would your bank be prepared to write to your landlord?

If I received a letter from a tenants bank, explaining why rent had consistently been 10 days late, I would certainly not be taking possession proceedings. Good tenants are hard to find and your landlord will incur costs to get you and your husband out of the property and to find a good tenant to replace you.

By all means ask your landlord to read this discussion thread and comment here. If he would like to call me I would be happy to have a peer to peer discussion with him for you at no charge.

I wish you well.
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Les Charneca

12:46 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "23/01/2015 - 12:38":

Sounds wierd. I agree with Mark totally. As a landlord I would not seek to evict you for this, far from it. Perhaps the landlord wants the building back for another reason and is hiding behind the late rent as an excuse. Take Mark's advice to find a solution, but if the landlord wants you out it is only a matter of time, sorry.

Tom Buckland

12:58 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

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.

Robert Mellors

12:58 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Mark is right to say that good tenants are hard to find, so any sensible landlord would try to keep their good tenants. However, although banks do make mistakes, they also take instruction from the account holder, and it is your responsibility to ensure that the rent is paid on time (by whatever method), so it is perhaps understandable if the landlord now thinks that the payments will be unreliable. Thus, the issue may be one of regaining the trust of the landlord, and like Mark says, that involves effective communication.

Perhaps if you have someone who could act as a rent guarantor for you (family, or friends, etc), then this would give the landlord the added re-assurance that he needs?

While it is possible to delay the repossession by a few weeks, each delay (and further action by the landlord) will cost money and that cost will no doubt be passed on to you, and you will be required to pay this. Therefore, if you wish to avoid the debts then you need to start negotiating with your landlord straight away.

As a s21 Notice does not give the reason for the landlord wanting possession of the property, how do you know it is for the reason you believe it is for, e.g. the landlord may want to sell the property, or move a family member into it, (or a range of other reasons), but again, a discussion with the landlord may help to answer this.

Mark Alexander

13:03 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

I am very proud of the responses so far from my fellow GOOD Landlords 🙂
.

Mark Alexander

13:07 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Just one other point which Michelle raised and none of us have picked up on ....

A landlord is NOT required to serve notice by Recorded or Registered Mail. In fact, our advice to landlords is NOT to do this but to obtain proof of posting from a Post Office.

Our reasoning is that tenants can refuse to sign for mail. However, all a landlords need to prove to the Courts is that notice was served and the Courts will accept proof of posting as proof of service.
.

Mark Lynham

13:09 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

would it not be your responsibility to make sure the rent was paid on time and not have to rely on the landlord to tell you? I can understand the first time it was late but surely then you would have set up a new standing order for the correct date? also, as you say it was to do with a previous property, did they pay out the old amount too?
Sorry, but if its only been a 6 month tenancy and its been late 3 times then its not ideal is it.. and you were very lucky to find a landlord that would accommodate a dog too..

that said, the best way forward is to speak to the landlord and see if you can sort things out.

Paul Franklin

13:13 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

The first step is to talk to and be honest with your landlord as others have suggested. Hopefully he'll have a change of heart if he fully understands your situation.

If you have exhausted this as an option and you are only looking to delay the inevitable I suggest you take your s21 to the CAB or a housing advice centre or the council (though they don't sound like they've been too helpful so far). There are a number of reasons why the s21 could be held to be invalid, including issues with whether any deposit you paid has been protected or not in a deposit protection scheme.

Bare in mind that if you haven't got anywhere else to go when the notice expires, your landlord would have to obtain a possession order from the court before being able to physically evict you. At that point the court would decide whether the notice is valid or not and you can raise any potential arguments you have.

As a side note, the council cannot refuse to help you because your needs are too great or too specific. You should contact them again if it gets closer to the expiry date of the notice and you still have nowhere to go. Contact Shelter for further advice if they still say they can't help you.

Robert Mellors

13:38 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

As Paul says, the Council cannot just refuse to house you because your needs are too great, as they have legally enforceable duties towards homeless people providing you meet the five criteria (eligible, homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days, in priority need, not intentionally homeless, and have a local connection). However, this does not mean that they have a nice bungalow for you to move into, the reality is more likely to be many months in B&B/emergency accommodation, followed by an offer of a property you don't like and in an area you don't want, and if you refuse this offer then they have no further duty to help you. Thus, going down the statutory homelessness route is not a good option, it really is a last resort. (and they also have no duty to house your dog, so you may need to re-home the dog elsewhere).

As general advice, get on the Council's housing register (if not on already), AND also apply to as many Housing Associations as possible (the criteria may be different, and the waiting lists much shorter). Do this even if you manage to negotiate with the landlord to remain in your home, or find another private rented home, as you never know if you may need this in the future.

Mandy Thomson

13:46 PM, 23rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Paul Franklin is right - although English councils are allowed to determine which tenants in their area are "vulnerable" I find it very unlikely that any local authority would not deem a disabled person and a pensioner vulnerable and therefore having a priority need for housing. If the particular council is unable to rehouse the couple, they would be obliged to transfer them out of the area to another authority or social landlord, or even provide assistance for them to be rehoused by another private landlord. The fact that the OP's partner is a pensioner also means the couple may be eligible for housing in an elderly person's sheltered housing scheme, so they'll have more housing available to them, and moreover this is much more likely to be suitable for the OP (i.e. more adapted for a disabled person) and is usually more pleasant than regular council housing.
However, as others have already said, most local authorities will not be interested in rehousing tenants until the current landlord has obtained a court order, simply because they're just so short of housing stock. Between issuing a s.21 and obtaining a court order anything can happen, and housing departments wait to see if the landlord changes his mind - this is known as gate keeping.

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