Breach of contract?

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  • Breach of contract?

    Hi there, I am asking a question on behalf of my boyrfriend. He has been living in his rented accomodation for nearly 3 years on a AST. Last month he was late with payment by two weeks. With no other written communication, the letting agency served him a notice to quit, due to the late payment in rent. He paid the rent immedietly, and got told the notice would stay on his file should he be late again, when it would be enforced. Am I right in thinking that you have to be two months late on rent in order to be asked to vacate? If so is this a breach of contract from the letting agency?

    Many thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by lazuli View Post
    Hi there, I am asking a question on behalf of my boyrfriend. He has been living in his rented accomodation for nearly 3 years on a AST. Last month he was late with payment by two weeks. With no other written communication, the letting agency served him a notice to quit, due to the late payment in rent. He paid the rent immedietly, and got told the notice would stay on his file should he be late again, when it would be enforced. Am I right in thinking that you have to be two months late on rent in order to be asked to vacate? If so is this a breach of contract from the letting agency?

    Many thanks.
    You are correct; he would have to owe two full months' rent before the LL could begin action to gain mandatory possession. LL could have served a section 8, ground 10 (some rent owing) with a view to obtaining a discretionary order, but on ground 10 alone, this is extremely unlikely to succeed. Besides which, he has now paid the outstanding rent, so it would fail. The letting agent seem to be behaving very inappropriately in his case, but since your boyfriend's contract is with his LL, not with the agent, if there is any breach of contract, it would be with LL.

    Perhaps your boyfriend could write to the LL, expressing his unhappiness at the way he has been treated. If it happens again, it can be classed as harassment and possibly illegal eviction, so I'm sure the LL will want to be aware of what his agent is doing/threatening to do.

    Good luck - it will have been a worry, but I would say he has honestly got nothing to fear, especially as he is now up to date with the payments.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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    • #3
      I have looked, and I think they have got around it by serving a notice requiring possession under s21(4)(a) which I'm assuming they are allowed to do. Very upsetting for him however, as he has paid his rent in full, on time for 3 years! I think the landlord is wanting to sell the flat so perhaps this is why they have done it.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lazuli View Post
        I have looked, and I think they have got around it by serving a notice requiring possession under s21(4)(a) which I'm assuming they are allowed to do. Very upsetting for him however, as he has paid his rent in full, on time for 3 years! I think the landlord is wanting to sell the flat so perhaps this is why they have done it.
        Most agents serve an s21 notice routinely at the start of the tenancy anyway; I'm quite surprised this one didn't.

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        • #5
          I'm a bit confused....why would they serve a s21 at the start of tenancy?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by lazuli View Post
            I'm a bit confused....why would they serve a s21 at the start of tenancy?

            Don't ask! This question has been debated loud and long (and often) on this forum...just trawl 'sword of Damocles' and you'll see what I mean! Basically, I agree with you; it's a strange kind of 'Welcome to your new home' present, isn't it, and doesn't suggest much goodwill on the part of the LL.

            The LL may serve it with two months' notice ending either on the last day of the fixed term, or on the last day of a rent period, if the tenancy has become periodic. Unfortunately they don't have to give a reason and possession is mandatory provided it is correctly served.

            If LL is looking for an excuse to repossess his property, then perhaps your boyfriend would be advised to begin looking elsewhere - he only has to give one month's notice, incidentally, if tenancy is periodic (or if fixed term of AST, he can walk away on last day without giving notice).
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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            • #7
              Ah I see! It was fixed term for the first 6 months then just done month by month after that. I think he will be looking for somewhere else if this is how it's going to be done!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lazuli View Post
                Ah I see! It was fixed term for the first 6 months then just done month by month after that. I think he will be looking for somewhere else if this is how it's going to be done!
                I can't say I blame him - in fact I would be very reluctant to give this LL and his snotty agent any more of my money than I had to, given the way they have behaved!

                I appreciate that he will not want to 'cut off his nose to spite his face', but there is a lot of rental property on the market at present - good luck to him in his search.
                'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by lazuli View Post
                  Ah I see! It was fixed term for the first 6 months then just done month by month after that. I think he will be looking for somewhere else if this is how it's going to be done!
                  That's known as a periodic tenancy. A landlord can serve notice without giving a reason providing the right notice is served correctly. If the rent is paid monthly, the landlord is required to give 2 months' notice in writing and the notice given must expire on the last day of a rent period (S21). It is often known as a 'no fault' notice - no justification is required for it to be served.

                  http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/notice_to_quit.htm
                  http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/pdf/servingS21.pdf

                  The OP asked "Am I right in thinking that you have to be two months late on rent in order to be asked to vacate?". I wonder whether they are confusing this with S8, breach of contract, which is often served when tenants owe 2 months rent and where the court must award possession to the landlord if the tenant owes 2 months rent at the time of serving and the court case.

                  http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/pdf/servingS8.pdf

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lazuli View Post
                    Hi there, I am asking a question on behalf of my boyrfriend. He has been living in his rented accomodation for nearly 3 years on a AST. Last month he was late with payment by two weeks. With no other written communication, the letting agency served him a notice to quit, due to the late payment in rent. .
                    It's probably just a bluff designed to deter him from paying his rent late in future. The letting market is bombing in many areas, so few letting agents or landlords will actively try to bring about a vacancy if they can possibly avoid it.
                    Health Warning


                    I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                    All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                      It's probably just a bluff designed to deter him from paying his rent late in future. The letting market is bombing in many areas, so few letting agents or landlords will actively try to bring about a vacancy if they can possibly avoid it.
                      Possibly - although you would think this would make them all the more keen to hang onto the tenants they've got - and this is a strange way of persuading them to stay, wouldn't you agree?!
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                        Possibly - although you would think this would make them all the more keen to hang onto the tenants they've got - and this is a strange way of persuading them to stay, wouldn't you agree?!
                        Do you really think that most letting agents actually think in a sophisticated tactical fashion about their actions? They probably just thought "this is what we've always done, so this is what we'll do now"

                        A LA did exactly the same to me when the market was suffering in 2002 and I was so incensed by his aggressive, insensitive tactics and, frankly, his rank stupidity and downright lack of commercial awareness that I served a retaliatory NTQ. In the end we settled on an £80pcm rent reduction and a new strimmer.
                        Health Warning


                        I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                        All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                          The letting market is bombing in many areas, .
                          ^^^^^^ Absolutely agree with that, I've just had two very frustrating weeks letting a couple of places, the agents were desperately trying to get maximum historic rents when nobody's biting. The answer? Sack the agent (in one case), drop the asking price 10% and start getting applicants. Problem sorted!
                          (The other agent did what they were told. )
                          I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                            In the end we settled on an £80pcm rent reduction and a new strimmer.
                            I wonder if the OP's boyfriend would like a new strimmer?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
                              I wonder if the OP's boyfriend would like a new strimmer?
                              I'm just wondering what agent found to do with one... perhaps a sideline, during aforementioned economic downturn, offering mass haircuts in Penge (or wherever he lives)?
                              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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