Oral tenancy agreement

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  • Oral tenancy agreement

    Hello

    back in 1998 I let my property to a friend from uni for six months while he got settled in his new job. It suited me as I was working in Scotland and wasnt sure if I wanted to sell or not. I didnt get him to sign a tenancy agreement so everything was just verbal. We agreed a rent that would cover my then mortgage (£250 per month). Everything was fine and after the 6 months were up I just let him stay on. I wrote each year increasing the rent by letter (not on a stat form) but giving him at least a months notice.

    For the past six months he hasnt paid the rent. Various excuses and I ve given him plenty of time. He and his wife are working full time. My opinion is that this is a monthly periodic tenancy. I served a s21 notice giving 2 mos notice and also a s8 notice on ground 8 and 10. The two months are now up.

    BUT - he says I cant get him out as there is no tenancy agreement. That I cant go to court as I didnt pay stamp duty, and that all the rent increases are invalid as they werent on the stat form (current rent is meant to be £500 per month so he owes £3000 on that basis.)

    I want to issue a claim to court but he says it will be thrown out as I have nothing in writing. Am I in my rights to try and get my house back? Please help.

  • #2
    Did he accept the rent increases i.e. did he pay them? can you prove this?

    I don't know the answers to you questions but I'm anticipating this question will need to be answered for other members to give their opinion.


    Originally posted by Softouch View Post
    Hello

    back in 1998 I let my property to a friend from uni for six months while he got settled in his new job. It suited me as I was working in Scotland and wasnt sure if I wanted to sell or not. I didnt get him to sign a tenancy agreement so everything was just verbal. We agreed a rent that would cover my then mortgage (£250 per month). Everything was fine and after the 6 months were up I just let him stay on. I wrote each year increasing the rent by letter (not on a stat form) but giving him at least a months notice.

    For the past six months he hasnt paid the rent. Various excuses and I ve given him plenty of time. He and his wife are working full time. My opinion is that this is a monthly periodic tenancy. I served a s21 notice giving 2 mos notice and also a s8 notice on ground 8 and 10. The two months are now up.

    BUT - he says I cant get him out as there is no tenancy agreement. That I cant go to court as I didnt pay stamp duty, and that all the rent increases are invalid as they werent on the stat form (current rent is meant to be £500 per month so he owes £3000 on that basis.)

    I want to issue a claim to court but he says it will be thrown out as I have nothing in writing. Am I in my rights to try and get my house back? Please help.
    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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    • #3
      I believe you have a verbal assured shorthold tenancy agreement and there is nothing to stop you taking the appropriate court action. As there is no written agreement, the "accelerated procedure" under section 21 cannot be used, you should apply to the court on form N5 and a court hearing will be necessary. If you take the section 8 route this will be necessary anyway.
      Can you state the exact date that your friend took up this tenancy as it was in 1998 that the rules changed. It is possible that you may have inadvertently granted an assured tenancy not an assured shorthold one, thus your tenant has security of tenure - provided he has paid his rent!

      P.P.
      Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

      Comment


      • #4
        Verbal Tenancy

        After 28 Feb 1997 all tenancies default to AST unless you specifically create an AT, so you are OK in this respect.
        No agreement does not mean there is not a legal tenancy, just that you are in a weak position when it comes to proof.
        Your tenant is talking rubbish. When you go to court you will need to prove to the judge that this tenancy exists and has existed for the time you say by other means than an agreement.
        Produce a schedule of rent payments received from day one, backed up by bank statements and you should have been declaring this income on your Self Assessment Tax Return which will provide additional proof.
        If you have received rent payments by cheque or standing order there's no problem, if by cash then it's more difficult to prove.
        Your tenant has been paying Council Tax for this period at this address - get proof of this. If the Council refuse evidence on Data Protection grounds, tell them this is in pursuit of a legal claim, which is allowed (DPA P4 S35).
        Your evidence must be watertight - if it is, there's no reason why you should not be granded possession and if you go about it the right way you will get all your rent arrears with costs.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you.

          Tenancy started in June 1998. Previously had a tenant in for six months who was great. After they left I struggled to let it and was quite relieved my friend was interested.

          Most of his payments have been by standing order. He initially paid four months in advance by cash for which I gave him a receipt - and retained a copy. He then paid sporadically over the next year, but generally caught up. Part of his excuse was to blame the bank over the standing order. For over a year he paid every month without missing - there were still arrears but I m a soft touch.

          At the time of letting I was told the rent was under the stamp duty threshold and so wasnt an issue - I hope this is still the case. I have declared the rent to the taxman.

          The rent increase was simply a letter in mid Jan stating the increase figure from the first of March. He didnt accept it.

          The notice expires at the end of the month. I will then submit a claim to court and keep my fingers crossed. Solicitors quoted me £3000 to get it through a first hearing hence I am having a shot at it myself after following advice on your very very useful forum.

          Thank you again.

          Comment


          • #6
            You would be wise to get legal advice from someone who specialises in landlord tenant law.If you get something 'wrong' you may need another day in court and the whole eviction process takes a lot longer.

            Things you may need to consider:

            Even though a tenancy agreement does not have to be written down, a tenant can demand to have a written statement of the terms of his tenancy which you must send to him in 28 days. If in court he says he asked for one and you didn't give him such a statement, your case might not be so straight forward.

            You should also consider serving the tenant a section 47/48 notice with your address for service of notices and payment of rent. This normally is included within a written AST, but as you dont have a written one, you should do it in case the judge takes the view that no rent could lawfully be demanded without the formal notice.

            A letter from a solicitor may be enough to show him you mean business.
            All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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