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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
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Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hi, I had a problem tenant who was not paying rent, caused

Resolved Question:

Hi,

I had a problem tenant who was not paying rent, caused damage to the property and left the property with a threat to come back and damage it further when they get back in because they felt that they shouldn't have to leave.

The tenancy started on the 12th Nov 2009 on a 1 year fixed term contract. I was told by my estate agents that I could ask her to leave anytime from 12th Sept 2010. I gave the tenant two months notice to leave (not eviction) on 1st October 2010. So on the 1st December 2010 around 1pm I came to take back possession. She verbally resisted but agreed to leave by 8pm that evening. I changed the locks by 7.30pm because she had left the property and hadn't contacted me. I sent her a text at that time to say that the locks had changed and whether she was still coming to collect the rest of her things today. She returned at 7.55pm with two other people, all of them behaved aggressively and as they left they made a threat to get squatters into my flat and to trash the place further when they get back in.

The property is a converted house with two flats. We share a main entrance door and then there's the entrance door to the property.

Was my notice valid?
Do they have the right to call a locksmith and get back into the flat as they were advised by a tenants liaison officer from the council?

Kind regards,


Melanie LaRocque.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Hi,


Can you confirm that the rent period month to month was from 12th of the month to 11th of the following month (so the first rent period would have been 12 Nov 2009 -11 Dec 2009)?

 

Tom

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Under the terms of the contract, the rent was due by the 12th of each month. However, the tenant verbally asked to pay me on the 1st of each month instead from the second month of the tenancy.

 

Additionally, i served a section 8 notice on her on 28th May 2010 but did not seek eviction because we met and spoke and she said that she needed a bit more time to get housing benefit and a loan from the council which will cover the arrears. She claimed she had already put in the applications. It later transpired that it was all a lie.

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Ok.

 

The notice on the 1st October - did you physically hand it to her, or did you post it to her. If you posted it to her, please state on what date you posted it.


Tom

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I put a copy on the outside door of the flat and posted a copy by 1st class post on 1st October. I also sent two copies to the estate agents by 1st class post (their head office and local branch) which they acknowledged.

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

To be valid a s21 notice must give two months notice with such notice to expire at the end of a rent period. The end of the rent period in the tenancy agreement is 11th of the month so if this were accepted to be the end of the rent period then the notice is invalid on this basis.

 

If however it was accepted by the Court that both parties had agreed to the variation of the rent period to start from the 1st of each month then the end of the rent period would be the final day of the month. Provided you gave two months notice to expire on the final day of the month then the notice would be valid. However, if the tenant disputed this variation then it would be up to the judge to decide whose testimony is more credible.


There is another problem though. If you left the notice outside her door then this is not a valid form of serving the notice because you cannot guarantee that she got it unless she confirms this to you and the Court. If she confirms this then there is a chance the Court might state that the notice is valid and you were entitled to possession.


If she states that she did not receive the notice outside her door then you would instead by relying on the notice that you sent in the post, but this is not valid because the notice period only runs from the day they receive the notice and you have to allow for posting (which you did not do).


There is a serious question mark over whether the notice is valid I'm afraid.

 

If the notice was invalid then the tenant will be able to sue you for the loss she has suffered.


Even if the notice was valid you should have applied for a Court order for possession rather than changing the locks and this is probably an illegal eviction.

 

She probably does have a right to call a locksmith on the basis of the questionable notice and illegal eviction, or to sue you for the loss you have suffered I'm afraid.

 

Depending on your agreement with them your agents should have provided you with more information about legally evicting tenants.

 

Sorry it could not be better news.

 

If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. You will be free to ask follow up questions.


Kind regards,

 

Tom

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6511
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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