S21 Defence

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    S21 Defence

    Hi all, I need a little advice please as I know very little about the housing act, only what I have found online.

    I am a tenant, signed tenancy agreement on 14th aug 2009, 2 year period with a 12 month break clause. The property is a ground floor flat, I am the sole occupier and nobody else is named on the tenancy agreement. I paid a deposit of £565, this was not initially protected, this only happened on 26th feb 2010.

    I have been issued with two s21 notices.

    The first one was issued on the day I signed the tenancy agreement stating "date of expiry from 13th aug 2011." It was signed by the letting agent, but not an actual person's name, just the name of the agency.

    The second one was dated 25th may 2011 and says "this notice expires after 26th july 2011." This was hand delivered on 31st may 2011 by a builder that the landlord employs. It was not posted in my letter box, the builder let himself into my flat whilst I was out using keys provided by the landlord and left the letter on the draining board.

    I have received papers from the county court today, form N5B. These papers use the first notice, dated 2009. I have been searching online for info and have just got more confused and I am not sure if either of these s21 notices are valid and the wording on them is different.

    I think the first notice may be invalid because it was issued before my deposit was protected. I think the second notice is invalid because the date on it is before the end date of the tenancy and also it does not take into account the time taken to deliver (1 week) so is not the required two months. Am I correct?

    I am going to get some advice next week but would like to know what happens next with the court and the eviction process. I don't really want to cause my landlord too much hassle and delays but I don't have much choice, I am disabled and need a property that doesn't have any steps and it is proving difficult finding somewhere else suitable so I need to try to hold things up a while.

    I also have a question about my deposit. When I do move out can my landlord make any deductions from it for cleaning/repairs etc? There was no inventory done at the start of the tenancy or any kind of condition report.

    Thanks for your help.

    #2
    Originally posted by dottie321 View Post
    Hi all, I need a little advice please as I know very little about the housing act, only what I have found online.

    I am a tenant, signed tenancy agreement on 14th aug 2009, 2 year period with a 12 month break clause. The property is a ground floor flat, I am the sole occupier and nobody else is named on the tenancy agreement. I paid a deposit of £565, this was not initially protected, this only happened on 26th feb 2010.

    I have been issued with two s21 notices.

    The first one was issued on the day I signed the tenancy agreement stating "date of expiry from 13th aug 2011." It was signed by the letting agent, but not an actual person's name, just the name of the agency.
    This one was invalid because the LL cannot serve a valid s.21 notice before the deposit is protected AND the prescribed information provided to the T (see s.215 Housing Act 2004). (BTW, LL also cannot serve a s.21 before the tenancy begins, which is at the moment the T moves in).

    The second one was dated 25th may 2011 and says "this notice expires after 26th july 2011." This was hand delivered on 31st may 2011 by a builder that the landlord employs....

    ...I think the second notice is invalid because the date on it is before the end date of the tenancy and also it does not take into account the time taken to deliver (1 week) so is not the required two months. Am I correct?
    If a notice is hand delivered before 4.30pm on a business day it is deemed served the same day.

    The second notice was invalid because it did not give you two months' notice between date of service and date of expiry. Whilst the consensus is that a s.21 notice should not expire earlier than the end of the fixed term, it is not completely black and white, and also, it's possible that the break clause entitles LL to serve notice expiring before the end of the fixed term; but it doesn't really matter because 1) it didn't give you two months' notice and 2) it's not the notice LL is relying on in the application.

    I am going to get some advice next week but would like to know what happens next with the court and the eviction process.
    You should submit a defence to the application saying that the deposit wasn't protected nor the prescribed information provided to you at the time of service of the s.21 notice. The LL's claim will then fail and he'll have to go back to square one, i.e. serve a new s.21 notice giving two months etc.

    After the notice expires and the LL applies to the court, it will take at least an additional two months, probably longer, to get to the point where the bailiff enforces the possession order.

    So you've plenty of time.

    Note that, if you want to end the tenancy, you'd still have to serve notice to quit. The s.21 notice doesn't end the tenancy and therefore doesn't entitle you to vacate at notice expiry with no further liability for rent.


    I also have a question about my deposit. When I do move out can my landlord make any deductions from it for cleaning/repairs etc? There was no inventory done at the start of the tenancy or any kind of condition report.
    If you dispute any deductions, the onus will be on the LL to prove the damage. This means he has to prove original good condition as well as damaged condition at the end of tenancy. Without a check-in inventory etc he may struggle to prove any alleged damage (but it's possible he might have other evidence, such as a receipt for a brand new carpet fitted the day before the tenancy began).

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      #3
      Originally posted by westminster View Post
      The LL's claim will then fail and he'll have to go back to square one, i.e. serve a new s.21 notice giving two months etc.
      P.S. Because the tenancy is now periodic, this means that any new s.21 notice served by LL must give you two months' and also expire at the end of a tenancy period. Assuming rent is payable monthly under the contract, then the tenancy periods run 14th - 13th of the month; therefore, LL's notice must expire "after 13th [mm/yy]".

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by dottie321 View Post
        The first one was issued on the day I signed the tenancy agreement stating "date of expiry from 13th aug 2011."
        P.P.S. This one also expires before the end of the fixed term. The fixed term expires at midnight of 13th August 2011, so expiry "from 13th August 2011" is before fixed term expiry. Minor point, really, when the lack of deposit protection makes the notice unquestionably invalid, but if the break clause doesn't enable LL's notice to expire before fixed term expiry, you may as well mention it in your defence, as the vast majority of judges will expect a s.21 notice not to expire before fixed term expiry.

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