LL saying she will call the police if I don't leave immediately, I have an AST.

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  • LL saying she will call the police if I don't leave immediately, I have an AST.

    Hi,

    I just signed up to ask this so please help

    I moved into the property I live in now last September and get along with my landlady fine on a personal level. However, she is not the most professional when it comes to repairs and stuff, to be honest this place is pretty run down. I'm happy here though and don't want to move right now.

    I always pay my rent on time, I never break any covenants, I'm quiet (out a lot studying/working). However, as my landlady has fallen out with the owner of the house she has asked us all to move. She offered an alternative, I saw it today and it's shocking. Don't think I've ever seen a property so run down.

    My landlady believes there is a break clause in the tenancy between us. There is no clause dedicated to a break clause but next to the address ect. it says "TERM: for the term of 12 months commencing on the 8th September 2012" and on the line directly below "either party can serve 1 month notice to quit". Ideally I'd like to stay, she wants us out, what's my legal position?

    I didn't want to dig my heels in but she's given me few options.

    If anyone can help me with these questions I'd be very grateful:

    Is the break clause valid?

    Can I stay, for how long?

    I think that's all...

    Thanks a lot to anyone that helps :-)

  • #2
    Does Landlady live in the same property as you?
    Do you have exclusive use of your bedroom, pref with lock on door?
    Do all Ts have individual agreements for room only + communal facilities?

    It is unclear whether you have an AST or lodger agreement.
    I would err in favour of periodic T from Day 1 (not AST) and either Party can give 1 month Notice. A lodger is only entitled to 'reasonable notice'.
    I would start looking for acceptable alt accom now. No point in 'digging your heels in' to stay where you are.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ks11 View Post
      My landlady believes there is a break clause in the tenancy between us. There is no clause dedicated to a break clause but next to the address ect. it says "TERM: for the term of 12 months commencing on the 8th September 2012" and on the line directly below "either party can serve 1 month notice to quit".
      Doesn't appear to be a break clause in the accepted sense, and anyway a landlord cannot serve Notice to Quit on a tenant if you have an AST (as opposed to a lodger), but it is not clear what your status is. You need to answer the last poster's questions first.
      The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

      Comment


      • #4
        As above, as your OP states the "landlady" is not the "owner" of the property, this suggests that you may be a lodger and therefore have little security of tenure. I am assuming from the info you provide, that your "landlady" rents the property from the owner and has sub-let a room to you. Is this correct?

        You state the landlady is not good at repairs etc, but if she is not the owner of the property, repairs and maintenance are not her responsibility. We need to know what terms you are renting under to be able to advise you.

        If the "landlady" wants out, are you in a financial position to be able to rent the whole property yourself?

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi,

          Thanks for your replies, very much appreciated.

          Excuse me for not being entirely clear.

          So the set up as I see it is that the person I referred to as the "owner" is the freehold or head lease owner and the lady I referred to as the "landlady" owns a lease/sub-lease, or is possibly the owner's agent.

          The living arrangements are that we all rent our own rooms in the property, each room locks and we have exclusive possession of it. My tenancy refers to the room I live in only. The "landlady" (or "owner") doesn't live anywhere in the property. Other tenants have shorter tenancies (3 months rolling I think) but I insisted on a 12 month contract when I moved in because I didn't want precisely this to happen and interrupt my studies.

          When I say "dig my heels in" I wasn't referring to kicking up a stink, just insisting on what we had actually agreed on. The way I see it, if I do have an AST, I would have been doing my "landlady" a pretty big favour moving to a new property and surrendering where I live now, which I was prepared to do if the new property was fit to live in. However, as the property is a dive I don't want to move, but of course that's only an option if the so called break clause has effect.

          As far as I am aware the "owner" will be renting out the property again so I won't be causing any issues in that sense.

          You guys/girls sound as if you know enough to help me so if you could take the time to reply again you'd be helping me a lot.

          Thanks again.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ks11 View Post
            My landlady believes there is a break clause in the tenancy between us. There is no clause dedicated to a break clause but next to the address ect. it says "TERM: for the term of 12 months commencing on the 8th September 2012" and on the line directly below "either party can serve 1 month notice to quit". Ideally I'd like to stay, she wants us out, what's my legal position?
            You have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (assuming the property is in England/Wales).

            I do not think the phrase you quote qualifies as a break clause. It does not specify the effect of serving the notice (i.e. that the notice ends the fixed term tenancy). Moreover, a T may only serve a 'notice to quit' in a periodic tenancy, and an AST LL may not serve a 'notice to quit' at all.

            Even if it was a break clause, and the LL served notice under it, the effect of the notice when served by the LL is that it ends the fixed term tenancy early, however, if the T doesn't move out, a statutory periodic tenancy will arise after fixed term/notice expiry, replacing the fixed term tenancy. (In effect, the tenancy would continue).

            The only way that the LL can legally regain possession and evict you is by serving valid notice under s.21 (or s.8) Housing Act 1988, then applying for possession after the notice expires, then getting a court bailiff to execute the possession order. N.B. a s.21 notice does not oblige a T to vacate, it merely entitles the LL to apply for possession.

            S.21 is the standard 'no fault' route to possession. The LL's notice must be at least two months' long, and it should not expire before fixed term expiry. The court will not make an order for possession to take effect before the fixed term expires.

            In your case, the fixed term doesn't expire until 7th September 2013. The LL may try arguing that there's a break clause - she'd have had to serve a s.21 notice, though, giving at least two months, before she could apply to the court for possession. You'd be given the opportunity to defend the claim, and you could argue that the phrase in the contract is not a valid break clause, therefore the court cannot make a possession order to take effect earlier than 8th September 2013. Chances are, the court would agree with you.

            In conclusion, worst case scenario (in the event that the phrase counts as a break clause, and I don't think it does), it would take the LL around four months as from the date of serving the s.21 notice to the date she got/enforced a possession order. Best case scenario, you have security of tenure until at least 7th September.

            Note, if you paid a deposit, the LL is obliged to protect it with an approved scheme and to provide you with the prescribed information. If she hasn't protected it, she cannot serve a valid s.21 notice unless she first refunds the deposit to you.

            Comment


            • #7
              There's an argument that the term 'notice to quit' is clear enough, imo. And that the intent is clear enough.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks so much for your replies.

                Just to clarify: if the "break clause" has no effect (which is arguable) I cannot be served notice (or asked to leave) until the end of the fixed term, in my case September?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I feel like you said that already I just want to 100% confirm :-)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                    There's an argument that the term 'notice to quit' is clear enough, imo. And that the intent is clear enough.
                    Of course there's an argument, and I said the LL might try to argue it, but I am not convinced that an 'intent' is good enough to comprise an enforceable break clause, when a break clause is a purely contractual creature.

                    "TERM: for the term of 12 months commencing on the 8th September 2012" and on the line directly below "either party can serve 1 month notice to quit".


                    Sure, either party *can* serve a month's notice to quit. But what is the legal effect of the notice?

                    If a T of a fixed term tenancy serves a notice to quit, it has no legal effect. If a LL of an AST tenancy serves a notice to quit, it has no legal effect.

                    The contract provides that the T or LL *can* serve a NTQ, but it doesn't follow that anything happens at notice expiry if the contract doesn't specify what happens, regardless of intent - and in addition, OP clearly had no such intent when agreeing the contract.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ks11 View Post
                      Just to clarify: if the "break clause" has no effect (which is arguable) I cannot be served notice (or asked to leave) until the end of the fixed term, in my case September?
                      IMO that phrase in the contract is not a break clause. It might be 'arguable', but I don't think it's an argument the LL would win.

                      That being the case, the LL cannot obtain a possession order under s.21 until after fixed term expiry in September.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by westminster View Post
                        The contract provides that the T or LL *can* serve a NTQ, but it doesn't follow that anything happens at notice expiry if the contract doesn't specify what happens, regardless of intent - and in addition, OP clearly had no such intent when agreeing the contract.
                        My point is that just '1 month notice to quit' is not too difficult to interpret, imo, as to the likely effect and intent of the parties, which is what the contract records. It would have been quite different if it was just stated 'notice'.
                        This is written very visibly on the front page of the contract. Now OP wants to argue that she didn't understand or agree?

                        People should read and ponder contracts before agreeing to them, not at some later point when the terms come back knocking.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks again for your replies they've been very informative, and very very appreciated.

                          Just to say - I did read the contract before I signed it, I either overlooked the sentence or allowed the land lady's verbal assurances to let me attach no significance to it. Terrible from a law student! Certainly won't be making that mistake again (and thankfully that wasn't my exam!)

                          Either way inclusion of a break clause was certainly against my intention, which I made clear to her many times.

                          I had my own views on the matter but hearing it from people that appear to know their stuff more than me is reassuring.

                          I'll be using the legal clinic at uni when I get the chance too but you guys and girls have helped no end.

                          Thanks so much.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            LL saying she will call the police if I don't leave immediately, I have an AST.

                            Hi,

                            I posted the other day to confirm some stuff about my occupancy agreement: confirmed it as an AST and consensus (3/4) of replies believed the break clause to be non-effective.

                            The thread is here:

                            http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ause-validity)

                            but I don't think there's any need to read it.

                            I was informed when I returned home about an hour ago that the LL will be calling the police if I do not leave immediately.

                            What is my legal position? I'm worried that I'm going to come home and see my stuff on the curb.

                            If you could take the time to reply I would appreciate it.

                            Thanks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The police will not get involved because this is a civil matter. The only people who can legally evict you are court bailiffs. However, I suggest you speak ASAP with the 'tenancy relations officer' at your local council as they are the ones who will have to take action if you are illegally evicted. Outside of office hours, its the police, but it can sometimes be difficult to get them to take notice. Illegal eviction s a criminal offence - so they should. You may find this useful http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index..._eviction/0-22

                              Comment

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