Removing Tenants Without Written Contract

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    Removing Tenants Without Written Contract

    Hi Guys,

    I am trying to help my parents get rid off their tenants as they wish to sell the property but needed a bit of advice.

    It is a bit complicated as they have been in the property since 1996 and there has never been a formal written tenancy agreement. Due to this i am not sure what their current tenancy is classed as (Assured or AST)? From what i understand if it falls under AST then it would be possible to serve a S21 notice giving them 2 months but if it falls under assured then my parents would have real problems getting them out.

    Another factor is they do not pay market value rent as my parents have never increased their rent since they moved in in 1996, so could they increase rent in an attempt to force them out? If so how would they go about it considering there is no written agreement specifying rent amount?

    I would very much appreciate your expert advice on this and im sure my parents would too.

    Thanks,
    Jim

    #2
    If the T moved in before 27 Feb 1997, and your parents didn't serve a notice beforehand saying it was an assured shorthold tenancy, then I'm afraid it's an assured tenancy. Pretty much impossible to evict BUT you can increase the rent to a 'market rent'. All I know is what I've picked up on the forum - I think you would firstly have to serve a s.13 notice.

    Here's a link to a number of merged threads on the subject.
    http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ead.php?t=9466

    Note that oral/verbal contracts are just as valid as written ones. The fact that the T has been paying £x per week/month in rent for fourteen years means this is the contractually agreed current rent.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks westminister, i was afraid it might be an assured tenancy, would any party have to prove that the tenancy began before Feb 1997 as the tenants say it defintely was 1996but my parents have said it was about then but possibly after 1997?
      Also with assured tenancy does it not mean anything that my parents want to sell the house as a pose to moving them out for new tenants?
      I think i will defintely need to serve a S13 for a rent increase.

      Comment


        #4
        First: if the rate of rent > £25 000 per year, the letting is neither an AST nor an SAT but entirely outside the scope of the Housing Act 1988 (whether before or after the Housing Act 1996 amendments took place).
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


          #5
          Hi Jeffrey, thanks for your reply.
          The rate of rent is definitely below £25,000 per year (£700 a month). Do you know what this means in this situation?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jim_sohal View Post
            The rate of rent is definitely below £25,000 per year (£700 a month). Do you know what this means in this situation?
            Yes- simply that the Housing Act 1988 does apply. It's the Act (not the parties) that decides this.
            As the Act applies, it's then the parties (not the Act) that determine whether the letting is an AST or an SAT.
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

            Comment


              #7
              Sorry Jeffrey but i dont understand what your saying?
              You said if the rent is less then £25,000 per year then it is outside the scope of the housing act 1988 (meaning it does not apply) right?
              But then you say the act does apply?
              And if it is down to the parties then im sure the tenants would want it to be an SAT and we would want it to be an AST so how would this dispute then be settled?

              Apologies if i am being slow.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jim_sohal View Post
                Sorry Jeffrey but i dont understand what your saying?
                You said if the rent is less then £25,000 per year then it is outside the scope of the housing act 1988 (meaning it does not apply) right?
                But then you say the act does apply?
                And if it is down to the parties then im sure the tenants would want it to be an SAT and we would want it to be an AST so how would this dispute then be settled?

                Apologies if i am being slow.
                Look:
                1. 1988 Act applies unless rate of rent is > £25 000 per year.
                2. Yours isn't.
                3. So 1988 Act applies.
                4. Parties' actions/omissions then make the letting an AST or an SAT.
                5. As from 28 Feb. 1997, the default arrangement is AST (i.e. letting is AST unless- by Schedule 2A- the parties make it an SAT).
                6. Before then, the default was an SAT (i.e. letting was SAT unless- by a Notice under s.20- L made it an AST).
                7. So, going back to posts #1-#3, it's clearly very important to decide when letting by L to T first began.
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Ok, sorry it was me being slow, so basically before Feb 1997 will be defaulted to an SAT.
                  This being the case i assume there is no way i can get them out unless they break any of the 18 grounds right?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jim_sohal View Post
                    Ok, sorry it was me being slow, so basically before Feb 1997 will be defaulted to an SAT.
                    This being the case i assume there is no way i can get them out unless they break any of the 18 grounds right?
                    Yes, that's right. You've got it! However, parents CAN sell (but just without vacant possession).
                    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I see, but i would guess the property value would be substantially lower without vacant possesion. Does this make the T's 'Sitting Tenants'?
                      Would you possibly have a S13 notice template that my parents could use to increase rent?
                      Also when serving notices i have heard that it is best to send first class and get a certificate of posting as recorded delivery can be refused by the T, would you agree?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yes, a let property with T holding either a Rent act tenancy or an SAT is always worth less.
                        By contrast, a let property with T holding an AST is usually valued at approx. the vacant property valuation.
                        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jim_sohal View Post
                          Would you possibly have a S13 notice template that my parents could use to increase rent?
                          Use LZ's "Agreements" button, and go to "Rent Arrears" then "Notices" then "Rent increase notice".
                          Legalhelpers online s.13 Notice costs £30 here: http://www.legalhelpers.co.uk/?referer=landlordzone.
                          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jim_sohal View Post
                            Thanks westminister, i was afraid it might be an assured tenancy, would any party have to prove that the tenancy began before Feb 1997 as the tenants say it defintely was 1996but my parents have said it was about then but possibly after 1997?
                            Sorry, I don't know but my guess is your parents would have to prove it. It might be worth making some checks to see whether you can find some proof of the date they moved in; I doubt it'd be easy after this length of time (perhaps council tax/utilities archives?) Did anyone live there immediately before the T moved in? Given the huge impact on value of the property it would make if they moved in post Feb1997, perhaps pay a detective to find out?

                            Also with assured tenancy does it not mean anything that my parents want to sell the house as a pose to moving them out for new tenants?
                            I think i will defintely need to serve a S13 for a rent increase.
                            There are various grounds on which you can apply for possession, but if it's an assured tenancy, unpaid rent is the only one likely to succeed (see http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...ssured_tenants). If you increase the rent to market value, it's possible the Ts won't be able to afford it; note that they can, I think, apply to have the increased rent assessed by the rent assessment committee to ensure it's a fair market rent.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks Westminister, i will get my parents to serve a S13 notice of rent increase and hope that they cannot afford the new rent.
                              The property is generally in bad condition also as they have not cared for it and i believe there is a broken window and damage to the front door, would this help in grounds for eviction or would they just simply repair it before any court hearing leaving no case?

                              Comment

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