7 days notice to leave, what next?

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  • 7 days notice to leave, what next?

    My sister rents a house via a letting agency. She's lived there for a couple of years now without any real problems. Today she got a letter from the agency telling her that the owner of the property has sold it (this is the first she has heard about it even being up for sale) and that she has 7 days to move out.

    Can they really give her such short notice, she has a 5 yr old son too and it's going to be impossible to find another house, pack everything up and arrange for removal in 7 days. She doesn't even have the money for a deposit on a new place, or money for removal van etc, and as none of us live close to her we can't help her out either.

    She is also worried that she won't get her deposit back. Someone comes from the agency every 6 months to inspect the house and they are unbelievably picky. A while ago they did threaten to evict her because there was a small scratch in the paintwork that her son had accidentally caused when he was playing with his toys in his bedroom. If she doesn't get her deposit back there is no way she will be able to afford the deposit on a new house as she is a single parent on her own miles away from her family.

    Any advice appreciated.

  • #2
    As she has lived there for two years, she is on an AST which is probably a statutory periodic tenancy by now. This requires two months notice, served correctly for repossession. She should stay put, wait for the S21 notice, check that it is served legally and if so, take it to the local authority and follow their instructions. If it is not served correctly, don't say anything, wait for it to go to court and then wait for it to be done properly. As for the deposit, firstly, a rent deposit is very small compared to the deposit on a house so it is unlikely to make much difference to that but was there an inventory? If not then the landlord can't keep anything back for damages. As for the scratch, fair wear and tear can't be taken out of a deposit.

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    • #3
      Tell her not to worry just yet, a landlord must give at least 2 months notice (and the right notice at that with the correct dates) for a tenant on an AST to leave.
      The fact that the landlord sold the house doesn't change that.

      You sister can sit tight until they serve the correct notice. Even after they have served 2 months notice and the 2 months have elapsed, your sister can stay on (if need be) until the landlord goes to court and bailiffs are at the door. Although it's better not to come to this, tenants are often forced to do so if they want council housing.

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      • #4
        I am sure that you sister must be worried sick and feeling fairly "out on a limb" .. my advice, from personal experience, is to either visit her local Shelter office (usually they run a no appontment scheme) or telephone them on their freefone number (available on their website) and they will give her not only advice but active help as well, which could include writing to the Agent/LL on her behalf. They will also help your sister make application to the local authority for rehousing, if this is what she wants, acting as her advocate all the way through the process.

        But as other posters say, the LL cannot do this legally and any reputable Letting Agent would / should have told him so.

        It sounds to me as though he hasn't actually completed the sale yet, or the buyer would be buying with your sister as a tenant. It sounds more like his buyer doesn't want to buy with a tenant, so is saying he wants vacant possession before exchange of contracts and the LL/Agent are trying it on in the hope your sister doesn't know her rights.

        I know it will be difficult for her but tell her to stay put and get some local help from Shelter ..
        Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MrWoof View Post
          She should stay put, wait for the S21 notice, check that it is served legally and if so, take it to the local authority and follow their instructions.
          But MrWoof it may well be the S21 notice has already been served without the tenant being aware of what it was. There are many letting agents and landlords that serve the S21 notice at the start of the tenancy and then let the tenancy run on to a periodic one (such as your good self). So, looby75, I'd suggest your sister gets out all the paperwork she has been given by the letting agent and see if there is an S21 notice requiring possession in there. If there is then post the details and ask for more advice. Even if the S21 notice has already been served they can't ask your sister to leave within 7 days, they'd need to go to court for a possession order.
          ~~~~~

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ruth Less View Post
            But MrWoof it may well be the S21 notice has already been served without the tenant being aware of what it was. There are many letting agents and landlords that serve the S21 notice at the start of the tenancy and then let the tenancy run on to a periodic one (such as your good self). So, looby75, I'd suggest your sister gets out all the paperwork she has been given by the letting agent and see if there is an S21 notice requiring possession in there. If there is then post the details and ask for more advice. Even if the S21 notice has already been served they can't ask your sister to leave within 7 days, they'd need to go to court for a possession order.
            Good point, I'd forgotten about that even though I now serve notice myself at the beginning of a tenancy.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MrWoof View Post
              Good point, I'd forgotten about that even though I now serve notice myself at the beginning of a tenancy.
              that's what the Council have told me the other day. cos my notice had two month notice served on 7 August but dated on 1st April at the commencement of the Tenancy. i told the council i was not aware of me signing anything else and he said that it would not be legal if i claim i did not know.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ATI View Post
                that's what the Council have told me the other day. cos my notice had two month notice served on 7 August but dated on 1st April at the commencement of the Tenancy. i told the council i was not aware of me signing anything else and he said that it would not be legal if i claim i did not know.
                What would not be legal? And you don't need to sign a S21, it's just issued.
                Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ruth Less View Post
                  it may well be the S21 notice has already been served without the tenant being aware of what it was. There are many letting agents and landlords that serve the S21 notice at the start of the tenancy and then let the tenancy run on to a periodic one (such as your good self).
                  If the tenancy has become periodic, doesn't this invalidate the original Section 21 (b) ((fixed term)). Surely a new Section 21 4(a) must be served (periodic)?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tassotti View Post
                    If the tenancy has become periodic, doesn't this invalidate the original Section 21 (b) ((fixed term)). Surely a new Section 21 4(a) must be served (periodic)?
                    No. There are already many threads on this, try searching for sword for more details (as in sword of Damocles).
                    ~~~~~

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