Rent/Notice period Statutory Periodic Tenancy

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    Rent/Notice period Statutory Periodic Tenancy

    Hi, I am a landlord and my ex-tenant moved out (his own decision not evicted) several months ago. He had moved onto a Statutory Periodic Tenancy following on from 12 month AST which expired 2nd March 2020. On 3rd April (so first month of SPT) he paid his month’s rent in advance as usual and then on 16th April gave notice that he would be moving out on 12th May. Trying to be reasonable and helpful, I accepted his notice (even though he should have issued 4 weeks notice to end on 2nd June in line with the date of his tenancy agreement) and let him know £xxx (pro-rata daily amount) would become payable on 2nd May for the extra 10 days. He did not pay. He then announced that he would be leaving the property a week earlier than we had agreed. He left on 7th May still without paying the rent owed. I have raised a dispute with TDS for the outstanding 10 days rent to be deducted from his deposit. However the tenant refuses to engage with TDS and will not accept the dispute. He claims I am unreasonably holding the disputed amount (I have also asked for deductions for cleaning and missing items). He has engaged student lawyers from a local university free law clinic and has made it clear with a couple of very aggressive letters that he will be taking me to court to get his full deposit PLUS compensation for his other grievances (that are too many and too complicated to go into right now but which basically amount to him accusing me of breaching my landlord obligations).

    Without going into further detail, I just need to find out:

    a) am I correct that he owes me the extra rent for the privately agreed notice period even though he actually chose to move out a week earlier? This is the amount I had requested in the TDS dispute.

    b) given that he broke our agreement regarding the privately negotiated notice period by not paying the rent, could I now chase him for the full “official” notice period/termination date that would have meant his tenancy terminated on 2nd June (and he would therefore owe me a full month’s rent and not just the 10 days we had privately agreed).

    If I am going to court, which it looks like I
    am, as the tenant has refused all efforts to negotiate and rejected my offer to split the difference, I really need to know exactly where I stand, especially as he is also claiming compensation.



    #2
    Yes. Assume you can actually evidence the agreement?

    No.
    I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

    I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you.

      We have email evidence of the notice period we agreed to - as in, we have email from tenant stating he was giving notice and would be leaving on XX date. We have emails to show we agreed this date and the amount of excess rent he would owe for the extra days. TDS have released deposit money to us for rent up to 7th May as this is the day he has told them he moved out and is therefore undisputed. The rest is still held by them as tenant has chosen not to decline the TDS process.

      Comment


        #4
        Sorry that should say the tenant has chosen to follow a separate legal path and not engage with the TDS process

        Comment


          #5
          Assuming that there are no other issues he could rely on in court, (eg significant disrepair, unlicensed HMO etc) then I would gather all my evidence and relish my day in court.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Storminateacup View Post

            If I am going to court, which it looks like I
            am, as the tenant has refused all efforts to negotiate and rejected my offer to split the difference, I really need to know exactly where I stand, especially as he is also claiming compensation.

            You say you offered to split the difference so I would put the offer to him again in purely monetary terms fully quantified. Make it an offer under Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules and if the court were to award an amount, but it is less than your offer, you will not be responsible for their costs. It also has the effect of worrying the other side because they will start to think you know what you're doing, and puts additional pressure on to settle.

            Comment


              #7
              I would be suprised if it's not a small claims case if it gets that far, so cost wouldn't really be an issue.
              I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

              I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks everyone. It’s a horrible situation and I’m so stressed by the thought of court action. There are 2 parts to the legal action he is taking:

                1. Deposit. He does not agree with the deductions we have applied to make but has opted not consent to TDS arbitration. I think I am on solid ground with the rent that is owed. From what I can gather from reading other disputes, on balance of probabilities, TDS would likely have found in favour of the tenant on the cleaning front. I also realise now that I made an error in applying for the cost of a new electrical appliance to replace an older one that he removed from the property. It was only discovered on check out/inventory report that it was missing (he claims broken from day 1 of tenancy but never reported). It’s annoying he didn’t report it at the time but I accept the appliance had little to no residual value and I would have replaced it anyway had I known it was broken, so there has been no “loss” to me as such except getting an electrician to come and make safe the exposed wires that had been left behind. So I will be dropping the demand for the replacement of the item.

                2. He is claiming compensation for breach of landlord responsibilities relating to his heating bills (there is way more to it than this but I’m trying to keep things simple here!). He is claiming for compensation in excess of £1000.

                Even though I think he is being really unreasonable and I don’t think his claims are justified, I don’t have the legal knowledge to know if a judge would also see it that way - and also I realise it can depend very much on the judge on the day. I’m starting to think that my mental health would be better persevered by giving in to the bullying tactics, paying up and chalking it up to experience...


                Comment


                  #9
                  If nothing was reported to you at the time, and he is claiming after the event, its difficult to assess whether he might recover anything without more detail. I would stand firm. You have nothing to lose except his court fee and the fact he is not going through ADR (TDS) is not in his favour.

                  I wouldn't worry, and wait and see if they issue. Most don't.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    A Small Claims hearing is much less stressful than it sounds.
                    It's more like a meeting in a small room with a judge in normal clothing and the two parties.
                    It's managed by the judge who asks questions and is, usually, good at what they're doing.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Is there anything to his claim of breach of landlord responsibilities?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Does the tenancy agreement permit notice being given by email, please?
                        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                        Comment

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