Private tenant - Problem with landlord and AST

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    Private tenant - Problem with landlord and AST

    Good morning,

    I am sorry if I post this under wrong Forum, it is my first time here as I need an urgent advice on my problem with my landlord.
    Let me just shed some light on the situation first. We renting from a private landlord, we signed our 1st tenancy agreement in November 2013, that was the AST and we signed it for 6 months period, after that we signed another one, this time for a year, so that was valid between May 2014 and May 2015. In May last year we signed another one for a 1 year as well and it just expired few days ago.
    The rent hasn’t been increased since we first moved in and we were never advised it will at some point, that wasn’t stated in the AST either.
    We were always paying our landlady cash in hand, sometimes it was her daughter who was dealing with us on her behalf and the daughter was mainly responsible for any issues we had. I must add that both of them are really hard to get hold of, so normally it takes a lot of hassle to deal with them.
    We were experiencing a lot of issues with the boiler since summertime 2015 and it came to the point where the boiler stopped working beginning of this month. As I work in insurance company I offered my landlady that I will get a free of charge employee policy so we’re covered for potential emergencies. I was repairing the boiler under this policy since February this year, as the problem with boiler got worse between summer and February.
    I was always keeping my landlady up to date by sending her quite detailed text messages, as I felt I am obligated to let her know every step of the way what’s happening.

    Like I mentioned, the boiler broke down recently and her daughter arranged fitting a new one (after about a week since I notified her). The daughter asked me to arrange different companies to send her quote for the fitting, as she needed to compare it with the quote from engineer who they were normally using for servicing etc. I shouldn’t be really getting the quotes for her, but I organised 3 different quotes and sent it to her to speed up the process as I knew it would take ages otherwise and we were left without any hot water or heating. So she replaced the boiler and we were waiting for the actual landlady to come and collect the rent for April and May (as she didn’t come to collect the one for April). When she came in I paid her all the money and asked if we can sign another tenancy and then she flipped out saying that she won’t be dealing with us anymore and she won’t sign anything with us, it would be her daughter who will be dealing with us and signing the renewal. In general she was really unpleasant to me, she was accusing me that I was rude to her and she is fed up with all the text messages I am sending, she said she is too stressed to deal with it etc etc. As she sounded like she wants us gone, I asked if she wants us to move out or something, she asked me if we want to leave, where I said that we really want to stay.
    I also asked if that means we would live her without the tenancy agreement for the time being, she said yes and just left.
    It is worth mentioning that such situation never happened before and we were in quite good relationship as we maintain the property well, it only happened now when she had to invest money towards the new boiler. We’ve got the impression that they either wants us gone (which would make no sense at all) or want to increase the rent.
    I texted her daughter yesterday asking if she would be in town anytime soon or if she prefers sending me an e-mail with the AST so we can sign it and return.

    Didn’t receive any reply as of yet.
    We are really concerned about this, as we don’t know what they want to do now? Surely they can’t just ignore us and then turn around and say that we have to move out?

    We are happy to pay bit more for the rent if that’s what they want, but how I am supposed to go about this? It really causes me a lot of stress and I can’t feel safe in this property anymore!
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    There's no actual need for a new tenancy agreement, the one that you have continues on a month by month basis.
    So even if you don't sign a new agreement, you can still live there and things will just carry on.

    While that's not as secure (for either you or the landlord) it does suit a lot of people.
    All of my tenants who have been there for six months are working exactly on that basis.

    If the landlord wants you to leave, they have to give you formal written notice, and give you at least two month's notice.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


      Might be worth reading this..

      Write (yes, WRITE! - keep copies) to landlady & maybe daughter about any repair issues. Good guidance & drafy letter here on Shelter's great site

      Stop paying rent cash no reciept (unless tenancy states rent payable only in cash). I think we can guess someone is probably fiddling their tax (blackmail is such a nasty word). From now on either cheque (take copy 1st..) or get receipts - as it is the landlord can say you owe vast rent arrears. If still paying cash the take the exact amount out of the bank the day before so you have further records & proof.

      Do you have a gas saftey cert & EPC?

      Landlord can ask you to leave but you do not have to. You still have a tenancy, same terms (apart from giving notice) as the "expired" one, rolling on month-by-month (assuming monthly rent). To evict you landlord must serve valid notice (s8 or s21) then take you to court, get possesseion order then bailiffs: Takes months & you get to have your say.

      Call Shelter 0808 800 4444 for good advice: They are open today.

      Anything silly or threatening by landlord or daughter call police: You may need to remind them that harassment or illegal eviction are CRIMINAL matters as well as civil.

      Best regards
      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


        Thank you for your reply @theartfullodger

        We were thinking as well that she doesn’t pay tax for it and we weren’t really happy about the payment method as, like you said we never had any confirmation, but as we never had such drama with them so far we were just continuously paying it that way.
        If she would finally come around to sign another tenancy agreement I will discuss this with her and I won’t be paying cash in hand anymore, as it doesn’t feel safe at all.

        We also never received the gas safety cert or EPC, however we did have summer servicing done every year, no paperwork though.
        The main thing is, we really don’t want to move out, we’re happy there (apart of the issues with landlord) and we’re not prepared to moved out as we already made some holiday arrangements and stuff for this year, so we can’t afford renting new property and paying another deposit (the deposit we paid her was £500, normally going through agency costs at least twice as much).

        What I need to know is, can she just send us an eviction letter and ask us to move out within 2 months? Like I said, there’s no valid reason her requesting that as we actually improved the property ourselves a lot since we moved in and we never owed her any money (she was just delaying the collection).
        I am afraid that she just gonna send us the letter and I will have to move out.

        From what you say, she can’t evict us without having any valid reason?



          After the fixed term of the tenancy ends, the landlord can serve you two month's written notice.
          They don't have to explain why and don't have to actually have a reason.

          I'd suspect the landlord was just having a bad day, and you will carry on paying rent via the daughter.
          While paying in cash is not always a good idea, for any number of reasons, it's very common and perfectly legal (ignoring the suspicion that the landlord isn't paying tax).
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


            You can be evicted without any reason given. However, there's not a hint of that are this moment in time. Your tenancy is still in existence as it was before. Rather than worry about the worst, wait until the worst happens - it may never. It all feels like the Landlord tag-team really don't know what's going on... or care that much.


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