Advice desperately needed

New to the forum, I hope to be making some contributions in the future but right now I am in desperate need of some help.

Tenancy began in 2002, never had an EPC but the gas certificates have been provided every year. After complaining of disrepair I am now threatened with a Section 21, local authority is involved but their support is near non existent, they have asked the landlord to do some repairs, there are many more issues. My landlord also harassed me mercilessly throughout the lockdown. I have read everywhere that my periodic tenancy gives me hardly any protection. Right now we are destitute and would be unable to get accommodation of any sort. The place has been allowed to deteriorate due neglect of the exterior walls, among other issues. I have tried getting help for months, in vain unfortunately. Any advice would be welcome, I have read the internet and can’t find more to read!

Hi. If the council have issued an improvement notice the landlord can’t issue a section 21 for 6 months. I’d suggest looking at shelter website for full details.

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Hello Richard, thanks for taking the time to reply. Unfortunately the local authority did not serve an official notice, just something informal by telephone.

The landlord chose to do a few repairs, badly, and ignored the rest. I filled an online form, but that seems to be followed by the worse disruption possible and a standard of work that is truly awful.

When I viewed the flat initially, the landlord hid the issues which started a few months into my tenancy.

Suppose your only option is to get back to the council?
Doesn’t sound like there’s going to be a quick fix solution.

Mr T, I did contact the EHD again, lack of enthusiasm on their part is the most diplomatic description.

Many departments within the local Council are no longer, Elvis left the building as soon as Covid hit. There are no plans to re-instate those departments, namely any dealing with advising private tenants.

I read about landlords being taken to task by local authorities, but so far they are aware the property never had an EPC, water is coming in from most walls and the total repairs in nearly 15 years have amounted to a handful of bodges.

There is probably a mix of under-funding, lack of pro-active behaviour and Covid at play. I have also found the local authority not to be aware of the procedure to ensure tenants are protected from retaliatory evictions or of recent changes in the law surrounding hazards.

I paid the rent without fail and calculated I have so far given more than £ 300.000 to my landlord. This means nothing and the fact that I am employed means legal aid is not an option.

At some point I will be out on the street, my landlord will rent this wet flat to another unsuspecting tenant after painting over the mould.

Disrepair is not something the EHD apparently can deal with, their only remit covers hazards to health.

I have no issue with landlords being able to evict tenants for valid reasons, but there should be more emphasis on rooting out landlords that use the threat of eviction in order to avoid their responsibilities.

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you could have bought your own place by now?? 300k !

Yep, I certainly could have and wish I’d had when houses cost £50k. I also wish my hair would grow back. Neither is likely to happen now.

can you not move home?I thought the council would be more pro active in such cases

Colin, embarrassingly, funds are too low to allow moving. I’m stuck.
Rent is taking all of my wages, my partner has out of work since Covid. Ironically we would be better off going on the dole, the folk next door to us seem to be doing fine with it. Great to see them getting up in the afternoon and taking the top off their BMW on sunny days.

Its the council who enforce housing law >I would keep going back to them

This is what we are doing, unfortunately they no longer have a tenant landlord department able to give advice, they have so far just called the landlord and informally asked for repairs to be done.

If you’d see the “work” that has been done so far you’d think someone was pranking you. They painted windows with one coat of water based gloss, chap didn’t even blow the debris off before painting over thousands of ants coming out of the wet holes. I was wondering whether the RSPCA should be involved. The wood never saw sandpaper or a dusting brush.

If I explained some of the other work my landlord would probably know it’s me here, but suffice to say it’s worse than often seen on TV shows like " cowboy builders". The Council is probably understaffed, but I can assure you that what staff is left is pretty poor and unwilling to move with the times.

Apparently renting out a property without an EPC is an offence, might be offensive to someone, but not to our local authority.

I have been renting since the 80’s, haven’t felt the benefits of any changes so far. Maybe some local authorities are more pro-active than others.

My advice to any other tenant in my position would be as Colin suggested. Move! My situation is different due to lack of funds and more of a decade of accumulated belongings. Don’t bother contacting the EHD for support, make them aware of the issues and move on.

I dont know what else to say i am a builder and own a few properties . I have just re insulated a few and now am upgrading electrics and smokies. I dont understand landlords who dont repair their properties. Their main aim must be money. When jobs are done they pay peanuts so they get monkeys

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You sound like a good landlord, shame mine isn’t as half decent as you.

Not sure why some landlords neglect their investments, the flat I am living in is probably worth around 700k in good order. My landlord paid £55k for it in the 1990s. Right now the place will need some serious work to gain a high price.

Failing to get some scaffold up years ago in order to repoint the walls has caused serious damp,instead landlord used caulk in cracks on a parapet wall then painted to hide. You would not believe the bodges he has come up with, definitely not missing creativity.

Thank you for your advice mate.

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I have noticed that a certain"group" of people never want to spend their money . they want to spend the least and gain the most. I sell insulation as a business. The moment they say “give me a better price” I cease conversation with them. I have wroked for a few Landlords as a builder/joiner… If they want a botch I walk away , I did not serve my apprenticeship to give anything but my best.

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A few things to bear in mind. If your LL serves you with the Section 21 notice to leave, then you will have to leave eventually, but you can string it out for months if not years in the current climate before being finally forced to leave by court bailiffs, as I understand it.

Firstly they have to give you a full two months notice to quit starting on the next rent day.

Secondly, if you simply stay put and don’t leave, their next move is to apply to the court for a possession order. This will probably take 6 months for them to get, possibly a lot more as the courts will soon be overwhelmed with such applications.

Thirdly, the court usually looks favourably on the tenant and harshly on the landlord. Many judges with throw out a possession application if there is no deposit protection in place, or an EPC, and as you are on a periodic tenancy both are needed now, AIUI. So back to square one for the LL during which time you may not be paying rent. Why would you if the LL is trying to being evict you?

Fourthly, even if the court agrees and grants a possession order, you will be given another two months to leave, probably.

Fifthly if you still don’t leave, I’m not so sure now but I think the next step is an enforcement order from the high court. Another four months delay. But once the high court order is made, you should give up and leave.

I think I have the basic outline right here but some details may be wrong. Perhaps someone better informed will advise.

Finally, there has been a govt moratorium on evicting tenants for three months due to COVID. I think this is expiring about now but watch out for another to be implemented, which would help you.

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Agree you can string it out. Epc’s were only a legal requirement for properties marketed after 2008 so if you have been there since 2002 there is no requirement for LL to provide an EPC so you can’t use that to challenge a s21.

Yes string it out and get a court order… no sensible landlord will let to you after that… of course there are many who are not sensible

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some of the advice above that you have been given with regard to time slots is wrong and tell us us something about the attitude of some tenants. Just because your landlord is an idiot does not mean you have to be one

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Clearly “stringing it out” should only be considered as a last resort as it would make it harder to secure future property and you would also be liable for court costs. Given you said you are destitute with no chance of getting alternative property it seems better than being homeless and at least gives you a bit of time to get finances in order. I am a landlord so don’t encourage you not too pay rent but if you have paid rent which is more than 5 times what LL paid for property it is hard to feel sorry for LL if you miss a couple of payments given the maintenance issues. Moving as soon as financially viable for you seems best option.

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Totally agree with Richard In all points