LL/Agent served Section 21 please advice

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    LL/Agent served Section 21 please advice

    We were served a Section 21 notice today and the notice asks us to return posession in two months. Our assured short term lease expires in April.

    We are paying market rate rent and have always paid a week in advance.

    We are transferring out of the country in July and were hoping to stay in the Flat till the end of June as we did not want to rent another place for two months.

    Question 1)
    Do we have any recourse if we want to stay only five to six weeks beyond the Section 21 notice expiry date?

    Question 2)
    Our deposit equals six weeks of rent, I am thinking of not paying the last rent check leading to the May return of possession in order to protect our deposit.

    How soon can he serve us Section 8 if the rent is due on April 10th and the Section 21 notice expires May 10th?

    Background:

    We have a perfect history as a tennant for the past nine years we have been in this country. We have never been charged more than 50 pounds from our deposit from the last three places we rented and that too for minor cleaning.

    When we rented the Flat in Oct 07 we clearly asked the LL's agent about Mice infestation and he clearly said no. Later we discovered that was not true and our upstairs neighbor said it has been there for the past six to seven years.

    Having given the Agent a tough time on the phone to take care of the Mice infestation, he wants us out rather than paying for the agency to deal with it. We are spending 100's of pounds out of our pocket to pay the agency for taking care of the infestation. However the Agent not only refused to cover for the Agency, he even asked us not store food in the Kitchen as that attracts Mice and that our Infant is throwing food crumbs on the floor so we are not keeping the Flat clean, as per his schedule.

    #2
    If the tenancy started in October, then the deposit should have been registered with one of the new deposit schemes (which you should have been told about at the time) which means that it's not possible for the landlord to withhold the deposit without your agreement, if that's what you think, so it really would not be a reasonable course of action to withold rent as you suggest.

    It sounds as if you have had a disagreement with your agent (not the landlord). The agent will not instigate posession proceedings without instruction from the landlord, and I can see no reason why the landlord would do this on the basis of you having an argument with the agent, providing you were a good tenant and were paying the rent. So I suspect the whole mouse thing is completely irrelevant and the landlord wants the property back for some other reason.

    That being said, the landlord can repossess without giving a reason, so it doesn't really make any difference.

    Might be worth asking if you can stay on until the date you want, and that you'll definitely agree to go then, in order to save everyone the hassle of an eviction processs?

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
      If the tenancy started in October, then the deposit should have been registered with one of the new deposit schemes (which you should have been told about at the time) which means that it's not possible for the landlord to withhold the deposit without your agreement, if that's what you think, so it really would not be a reasonable course of action to withold rent as you suggest.

      It sounds as if you have had a disagreement with your agent (not the landlord). The agent will not instigate posession proceedings without instruction from the landlord, and I can see no reason why the landlord would do this on the basis of you having an argument with the agent, providing you were a good tenant and were paying the rent. So I suspect the whole mouse thing is completely irrelevant and the landlord wants the property back for some other reason.

      That being said, the landlord can repossess without giving a reason, so it doesn't really make any difference.

      Might be worth asking if you can stay on until the date you want, and that you'll definitely agree to go then, in order to save everyone the hassle of an eviction processs?
      Thanks for your detailed and balnced opinion.

      Just to recap,

      We rented the Flat unfurnished and our direct debit goes ten days in advance of the rent due date. Yes, our deposit is covered under the deposit scheme.

      I really don't see how valid the Agent is in stating the excuse that the Kitchen floor was not clean to his satisfaction when he came to fix the boiler.

      The flat was rented unfurnished so he really can't complain that we have not kept up the furnishings.

      I am going to try however I am not expecting any cooperation from the Agent on our request to stay on for six weeks beyond the May 10th Notice.

      So I really would like to learn how soon can he get a court order to get us evicted if

      a) We do not pay the last months rent which is due on April 10th and he intiates Section 8 proceedings.

      or

      b) We pay the last months rent on time and decide to stay beyond May 10th. I have not been able to find how soon can he get the eviction order after the Section 21 expiry date?

      Again, very much appreciate your input.

      Regards,

      Comment


        #4
        I would try contacting the Landlord direct and state the situation, it may well be that the Agent has told him that you have given notice!!

        Try negotiating to stay until end of June, its always worth a try.

        The agent is required by law to give you an address for the Landlord so ask for one and you can then contact the Landlord.

        With regards to withholding rent I would not recommend it, if the deposit is in one of the schemes it is safe from people trying to withhold monies unlawfully.
        GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

        Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by renting_in_london View Post
          Do we have any recourse if we want to stay only five to six weeks beyond the Section 21 notice expiry date?
          No; if the S21 has been served correctly then legally you are obliged to leave on the date it says.

          Our deposit equals six weeks of rent, I am thinking of not paying the last rent check leading to the May return of possession in order to protect our deposit.
          There is no need. If your deposit is held in a scheme, then you are better off just paying the last month's rent.

          How soon can he serve us Section 8 if the rent is due on April 10th and the Section 21 notice expires May 10th?
          He can serve S8 if two month's rent is unpaid. If you don't pay at the start of April or May, he can serve S8 on the day after May's rent is due.

          So I really would like to learn how soon can he get a court order to get us evicted if...
          However he serves notice, it'll probably take a couple of months to get a court order.

          But as others have said, you are better off negotiating with LL. If he has any sense he would rather you stayed in the property a couple of extra months than have to get a possession order through the courts.

          Peter

          Comment


            #6
            You do not HAVE To leave on the last day of the section 21. Morally yes you should BUT you can stay on. Landlord will have to take you to court to get you evicted and that will take more than the 6 weeks you need to stay on.

            A section 21 is merely a LL stating they want possession back. you do NOT have to get out, HOWEVER you will be liable for court fees if the LL takes it that far.
            GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

            Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

            Comment


              #7
              I would definitely go the negotiation route as a first option. The less stress when you are trying to move country, the better.

              However, if they play hardball, I'd play it straight back. As JAS says, only a court can order you out, and that will take the time you need.

              Normally, I'd say to honour the S21, but this is a situation where playing the system a bit could be warranted.
              Now signature free.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for your responses and I very much appreciate all the input above.

                I had a call with the Agent today. I clearly told him that he is going to put us through a lot of inconvenience by making us vacate on May 10th.

                In short. He said we should counter notice with the exact date in June. (so that sounded cooperative on his part). However I emphasized that he should give us in writing that he will not enforce the Section 21 notice before June 30th.

                I am not sure he plans to give us that in writing. We did send the counter notice in a brief letter (Registered Post) and we included a paragraph on the verbal assurance he gave that he will not enforce his section 21 before June 30th.

                My first question is how concerned should we be if he does not send us a written confirmation about his verbal assurance.

                Also, I agree there is no point holding any rent check, I am thinking that in the next direct debit we remit rent for two months until June 10th (A month beyond the Section 21 notice). Will that make our case any stronger if he decides to enforce Section 21 notice before that?

                The other confirmation I would like is that, if the section 21 notice expires on May 10th (Saturday), the earliest he can start the Accelerated Procedure is May 12th (Monday)?

                Then we have until Monday May 26th (14 days are allowed?) for the written defense/response.

                The earliest date the Judge can put on the eviction order is in two weeks June 9th (Monday).

                I would like your confirmation if you think my time line above is accurate?

                Also, at what stage does the fact that the LL initiates the Accelerated Procedure hurt our tenant history. If we are current with all our rent when we vacate and we pay the court fees as well, does that impact our credit history?

                I like the suggestion that I demand the LLs contact information from the Agent. Is that something he is legally obliged to provide?

                I think I should let the LL know how difficult his Agent is?

                Regards,

                Comment


                  #9
                  Has the LA explained why they want you out? It may be the LA knows you are about to leave anyway and has someone who wants to take over your property as soon as possible. Maybe they're just being awkward. Who knows?

                  I'd keep paying your rent but sit tight, as suggested. Unless you get a CCJ against you for non-payment of rent, I can't see that sitting tight in this sutuation will affect your good tenant status, as long as you don't give your next LL this LL as a referee!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Did you find out the landlord's address? If you ask the agents for the landlord's address in writing they are legally obliged to provide it.

                    If you are still worried, write directly to the landlord, also stating your intended leaving date. Request that the landlord rescind the S21 or re-issue it with the date you have suggested. That way he will be covered if you decide to stay (which you're not going to do) and you will be covered by having permission to remain in the property until that date.

                    Encourage him to make arrangements for the check-out and return of deposit, so he can see you are seriously moving out on that date.

                    Comment

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