T refused to sign Agreement and underpaid the rent

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    Originally posted by Richarddavid View Post
    I really want to get this guy out as he has been a tenant since mid Nov 2009 but never signed an AST agreement sent to him.
    Next time, get the AST signed before letting the T move in.

    I presume that even though I sent him an AST agreement and he never signed and returned it, we have a verbal agreement. Is it the case that a verbal agreement becomes an AST agreement by default and is viewed as such by the courts?
    Yes, there is still a valid verbal contract/tenancy - and the unsigned paper contract has validity insofar as a court would probably accept that these were the terms agreed (the burden of proof in the civil courts is 'a balance of probabilities' - but it'd help if you have any emails or even texts showing that T agreed a 12 month term). Broadly speaking, it will be an AST if the property is in England/Wales, the tenant is an individual (not a company), the rent less than £2,083.33 pcm, and the landlord non-resident.

    If this is the case, can I just give him at least two months notice before the 12 month contract is up? I guess he doesn't even have to leave on the due date and then I presume there's a lengthy court process/scenario awaiting me.
    Yes, you can serve a s.21 notice, but there is the difficulty of whether this is a statutory periodic tenancy or whether there is a fixed term, because there are differences in the form of the notice. I think I would proceed on the basis that a fixed term was agreed, and serve a s.21(1)(b) notice before the end of the 12 months, giving at least two months' notice, and not expiring before the end of the fixed term.

    E.g. if the fixed term commenced 15th November 2009, then the earliest the notice could expire would be "after 14th November 2010".

    Here's a template
    (keep copy notice for yourself, and post two identical copies from two different post offices, and get a *free* certificate of posting from each PO - do NOT use signed-for services, as the T can refuse to sign).

    You could also serve a s.8 notice, which is quicker as the notice expires in 14 days, and you can apply for possession before the end of the fixed term; see

    If there is two months' rent owing and unpaid, (i.e. not arrears, but rent due in advance and not paid), then you can use grounds 8, 10 & 11. If not, just 10 & 11. Ground 8 is the only mandatory ground of these three, i.e. the court is compelled to grant possession if ground 8 applies, but can use its discretion if only grounds 10 & 11 apply.

    Bear in mind that serving notice doesn't in itself end the tenancy, it merely entitles the LL to apply to the court for possession after the notice expires - and yes, it's a lengthy procedure. Many LLs serve both s.8 and s.21, then apply for possession using s.8, then if that fails try again using s.21 procedure.

    I would love to get this guy out asap and would the process be quicker as a landlord to say I wanted to put the property on the market, or what about if I moved back into the property and then gave him notice. Could I then get him out any sooner?
    NO you cannot move in to the rental property. This would be unlawful harassment, which is a criminal and civil offence. You have zero rights of occupation whilst the tenancy continues.

    And saying you want to sell the property is not a ground for possession.


      p.s. if T paid a deposit, it must be protected before serving a s.21 - otherwise the notice will be invalid.


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