Section 21, Lockdown & Harassment from Landlord

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    Section 21, Lockdown & Harassment from Landlord

    I wonder if anyone on here could give me advice please? I've sought advice previously as our landlord tried to give notice during the first lockdown and has persisted in trying to get us to leave. In brief, 12 months AST ended in April, we did not sign a new contract and so entered into a periodic rolling tenancy. The landlord wanted to sell and tried to organise viewings [during first lockdown] with no notice at all [we weren't even told the house was advertised for sale on rightmove]. Daughter = shielding from covid. We did not want to allow viewings, We haven't been able to find alternative accommodation despite a lot of effort. The landlord gave us one months notice to leave in July which we said we did not think was allowed, then they said 2 months notice then they served a section 21 notice in August with 3 months notice. However the property does not have a current British Gas safety cert so we don't think this is valid. It expired in November. They have sent messages through the agent asking what we are going to do if the house burns down or the property is flooded which I find quite intimidating - we weren't asked this when we took the tenancy, so why ask these questions now?. They now want to telephone me. We are under immense financial pressure at the moment, but have paid our rent throughout covid [I bet they've had. a mortgage holiday!], we are honest and reasonable people. If we could find somewhere else to go we would vacate. However with our daughter being vulnerable and with the continued lockdowns this is increasingly difficult. They now demand to speak to me on the phone. Do I have to speak to them? Can I ask that communication be done though the agent instead? It's really causing me a lot of stress. We have a relative in hospital at the moment who is seriously ill [not covid related] awaiting life saving surgery and so my mind is all consumed with that. There is a local solicitor who specialising is tenancy but it's very expensive and I don't really want to go down that route unless it's really necessary. Any advice anybody can offer me would be much appreciated. Thank you

    You don't have to talk to the landlord if you don't want to and can restrict the communication to being via the agent.
    You can't actually stop them phoning you or coming to the front door, but you don't have to interact with them.

    But who knows what they actually want to talk about.
    You are allowed to record any conversations that you have in order to be able to make an accurate record of the conversation afterwards.
    You don't need permission for that (but it does help keep things civil if you tell the person you're speaking to that they're going to be recorded).

    If you find any communications threatening, report them to the police.

    I agree that with no gas safety certificate the s21 notice is likely to be invalid, but even if it wasn't you have a right to live there until the landlord gets a court order to regain possession.
    So their next step should be to do that, not continue to talk to you about it.

    You're clear that they want you to leave and they'll succeed eventually, but you don't have to co-operate or help them.
    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).


      jpkeates thank you for your reply, this is really helpful


        Agree jpkeates

        Just commenting on one bit -- a mortgage holiday (which you mention) is not quite the same thing as not paying rent (which you mention).

        Mortgage holidays are just a deferral (it will be paid eventually in full and with extra interest - and the bank will have loads of security). Non paid rent will likely never be recovered but will leave a stain/CCJ on the reputation of the tenant if not agreed and if never refunded.

        Holiday vs absolution


          Perhaps you could ask the agent to ask the LL to email you. You could say that you're so stressed and you're fraying mentally (and you won't be on your own with this - I think most people are a fraying mentally) that you can't cope with a conversation at the moment.

          It might be good news - the LL might have found you somewhere else to live.


            Its possible that the landlord wants to offer you money to leave but is only willing to do it verbally to avoid a harassment claim. My first thought on reading your post was that I wouldn't speak on the phone but would just say communication only via email, but on reflection, I think I would, even if you have no interest in taking money to leave.


              May I ask why the L offering a financial incentive for the T to leave could be construed as harassment. Thanks.


                Agree with above, especially jpk.

                'phone Shelter free helpline 0808 800 4444 for confirmation of the suggestions and any further help.

                Good luck, best wishes.
                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...


                  Originally posted by Enyala View Post
                  May I ask why the L offering a financial incentive for the T to leave could be construed as harassment. Thanks.
                  Well it might have to be persistent to really be harassment, but basically its trying to take away the tenants right to due process. It's normally recommend to make tentative enquiries verbally or through a solicitor.


                    The LL appears to not have a clue what he is doing, but that aside the end result (way down the line) will be your leaving this property, you know this will occur so make real efforts now to look for something else, leaving under your own steam is far less stressful than with someone else's assistance. Good luck.


                      Originally posted by DPT57 View Post

                      its trying to take away the tenants right to due process.
                      What is this "right to due process"?
                      I thought that was a US thing.


                        Originally posted by DPT57 View Post

                        Well it might have to be persistent to really be harassment, but basically its trying to take away the tenants right to due process. It's normally recommend to make tentative enquiries verbally or through a solicitor.
                        It's absolutely not harassment and takes away no rights, though if done correctly it would bestow some responsibilities on the tenant (to vacate as agreed). It's a voluntary offer, the landlord is free to make it and the tenant is free to accept or decline it.

                        People need to stop this harassment chatter, unless the Landlord is acting unreasonably and persisting in an objectively (not subjectively) harassing manner, it's a nonsense statement and is usually something banded around by the same people who claim "distress and alarm" as if it's a trump card for dealing with a problem.

                        If you have paid your rent, and their notice is faulty, tell them to go to Court and put it before a Judge. You're not moving until he has. But keep in mind, this isn't the end of it. If he's smart he'll arrange a safety inspection, re-issue notice and then go to Court. If you attempt to obstruct that he'll likely get an injunction for entry, seek costs against you and it'll get real messy for you.

                        The TLR here is, the Landlord wants his home back, he hasn't followed process so tell him to go and do that. Ask him to stop communication other than in writing and the matter will be dealt with fairly, more importantly - legally, by the system created to do so. But, you won't hold him off forever, so find somewhere else in the meantime.

                        And don't stop paying rent, whatever he says/does, that only ever weakens your position and makes it easier for them to remove you.


                          As I said, I think it would probably have to be persistent for a tenant to have any chance of a harassment claim. However, the 1977 Protection from Eviction Act defines harassment as including:

                          (a) he does acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his household
                          and (in either case) he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that that conduct is likely to cause the residential occupier to give up the occupation of the whole or part of the premises or to refrain from exercising any right or pursuing any remedy in respect of the whole or part of the premises.

                          By due process, I of course mean the tenants right to notice and to the judgement of the courts in relation to the landlords possession claim. I think that a judgement of harassment or illegal eviction are a possible outcome of an aggressive or ham-fisted attempt to bribe someone to leave.


                            It is perfectly valid not to speak to the LL - I would not want to communicate through anyone else as I would worry that important info was not being passed on but I would allow email communication. Set up a new hotmail address if you wish to keep it in one place. This also protects the LL as you cannot accuse him of harassment if his emails are polite and unthreatening.
                            Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me


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