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Hi, I took out a 'lease' on a residential property in November 2009. It was under a then ltd company, which has since dissolved. I was also the guarantor, but my business suffered and I was unable to pay the rent. They are now taking me to court for repayment of arrears and possession. Is there anything at all I can do?
Hi I will try and help
Can you explain your situation a little more. What type of lease was it? When you say it was a residential property were you living there? What did the company have to do with the property?
So in 2009, I took a 'lease' on a house. For some reason it had to be done through a 'Ltd' company so I used my own, I never traded through it much, but nonetheless it came in useful for this reason. I was essentially the 'guarantor' of the tenancy / lease and yes, it was me living here. Last year I ran into difficulties and haven't paid the rent for a while, so naturally they are taking action. I don't dispute I owe the money, but I want to be able to stay in the property and reach a proposal to pay it back. They are saying I am trespassing etc as there is no agreement in place and I also should have advised them that the 'Ltd company was dissolved. Also, they want the house as it is going to be part of a big development. It is owned by a County Council too. The have adjourned the court hearing but it will happen again tomorrow. It's seems really complicated and more so as it isn't an assured shorthold tenancy, but nonetheless, it is a residential property. Someoe suggested I go down the human rights route?
just bear with me a little while if you could. I will come back to you shortly
hi thanks for waiting
it does seem a very odd situation, and I cant understand why a limited company was used. the Human rights act has been used against public authorities in the past with some success, most notably in the case of Manchester City Council v Pinnock. In this case a tenant was evicted by the local council for the behavior of his son, and the House of lords held that the Councils behavior was disproportional and so unlawful. Do you feel that the Council behavior has been in any way prejudicial or that they have used questionable tactics?
Well, undoubtedly the rent is in arrears but I have no knowledge as to whether I could use anything that would help i.e. the original lease, the terms of it, the current situation etc etc
What notice did the council serve on you before they brought these proceedings?
They basically kept asking me to pay the rent and in January, I offered a proposal, which they rejected and said they were still going for possession so I believe they have acted correctly in serving the notice as it took a long time for them to do that
yes, but what notice was it. What does it say on the top of it i.e section 21 notice, section 8 notice?
also how much rent do you owe?
The court papers don't refer to a Section 21 or 8 and the notice to quit doesn't either.
The rent arrears was £10,360 up to the expiry of the lease last October and then they want 'mense profits' thereafter
and what is the monthly rent?
OK thanks. It is rather difficult to comment specifically on your case as I don't know under what legislation they are bringing proceedings. If for example they are trying to evict you under the "mandatory" ground provided for under s21 or s8 then the Human rights act could be used to postpone summary eviction proceedings (i.e those without a full hearing). However ultimately the arrears are vastly in excess of the monthly rent and i am not sure the Court will be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt for such high arrears.
So what do you think I should do?
I have just re-read one of your last posts and I have noticed that you say this is a hearing after an adjournment. What was decided at the last hearing, and why were maters adjourned?
The first hearing I asked to be adjourned, then a couple of weeks ago it was adjourned as the judge requested a copy of the dissolvement notice of the ltd company and he also wanted confirmation of no payments being received. I have not attended any of the hearings
There is no miracle answer here i am afraid. From what you now say there have been a number of hearings, and without access to the judges deliberations it is virtually impossible for me to assess your prospects. As you say you have not attended these yourself. From a practical point of view you must attend the next hearing so the judge can hear from you himself, and assess any offers that you propose to make. From experience judges want to help a person who represents himself as far as they can possibly can, and are far less likely to evict someone if they are looking them in the eye across the desk (unless they have no option of course).
and if I am evicted, is there any appeal I can make?
if the hearing goes against you, you can ask the judge for leave to appeal and he will ask you for legal grounds. If he refuses you can make an application to the high court in writing within 14 days with your reasons and they will decide if you can have leave to appeal fully.
Well I am almost certain it will go against me
to be honest any question of a reasonable argument relating to the human rights act should have been advanced at the outset. the judge will probably just think you are trying to thrown the kitchen sink at the case at a late stage. the best option is probably that you turn up, try and agree something with the Councils solicitors and if this fails ask the judge to see if he will allow a payment option. I realize this may not be exactly what you wished to hear but I hope i have helped, if you have any follow up questions please ask otherwise please leave me positive feedback so I can be paid for my time
Ok, thank you for your help.