Advice desperately needed

Thank you to everyone for their advice, it is greatly appreciated.

Not paying the rent is understandable advice considering what benefits I am currently getting from my tenancy, but, as Colin rightly points out, this might have consequences which I will probably regret.

One issue is a CCJ, I am a fairly well known artisan and I have always been known as an honest person of good character. The other is Section 8, judges are bound by law to order immediate possession orders. A friend was evicted on the very next day by a judge, he didn’t even receive the 1st letter by the landlord, the letter was assumed delivered by this “an item sent by Royal Mail is deemed as received”. Never mind whether the thing ever hit that doormat.

Not paying rent will also impact on my future ability to find another home. Who wants a tenant that might stop paying the rent.

The Coronavirus act means that the notice has to be of at least 3 months, this requirement will cease in September. This applies to the Faultless Section 21 as well as for Section 8.

Local authorities, as pointed by a member earlier, can give a landlord notice, and if the tenant has already contacted the landlord without receiving a satisfactory reply within 14 days, then the landlord cannot serve a notice for at least 6 months.

Government websites urge tenants to follow the procedure set above, the impediment to the process is the local authority. Without them serving a formal notice protection from eviction will not apply.

Local authorities appear reluctant to implement the powers afforded to them by various acts, they instead make an informal phone call, wind the landlord up a bit more, then pull out and leave the tenant dealing with the inevitable result, eviction.

Any of you here would ask the builders that have done work here to leave, I am certain, but the EHD says that unless the repair is a hazard to my health then it’s fine. Absurd.
In my youth I have done my fair bit of jobs, painting was one. Had I attempted paint in the same way the builders here did, I would have been kicked off the site 5 mins in. I might upload a photo of one of their masterpieces, it will at least give you a laugh.

I am relieved to find so many principled landlords here, I was expecting replies from ranting tenants ( one does become a ranter after enough stress) but found instead a bunch of supporting landlords. There is hope, it seems.

Personally, I could not take money from anyone and not give back something of relative worth. The meek will definitely not inherit the earth!

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Richard, some of the laws have been amended, this is the issue with some landlords and the local authority. The 2015 deregulation act afforded some powers to shorthold tenancies, on the 1 of April 2020 all properties, regardless of a new tenancy, a renewal or a Periodic tenancy that began before 2008 all need a valid EPC in order to be marketed for rent or rented to an existing tenant.

A rented property that does not have an EPC, or has one below the accepted level, will be condsidered to have been let illegally. In 2018 the act applied to some tenancies, by Apr 2020 it applies to all. By 2023 the level required bill be changed, this is an attempt to cut emissions to zero. Utopia might be the right description here.

Confusingly, in order to obtain a Section 21 for a periodic tenancy arising before 2015, the prescribed information and documentation is not needed. The deposit needs to be secured and that is all the landlord needs. There have been some challenges to this in courts, some successful but none considered a precedent.

Many online quote acts that are now been amended, but tenancies arising before 2015 differ to newer ones.

I just thought this needed clarification in case anyone reading this thread looking for some information decides to use the acts quoted.

In short, landlord is responsible for repairs not caused by the tenant, and if the landlord wants them out a Section 21 will require an EPC, Gas safety certificate and how to rent guide to be provided before serving. For Older tenancies the rules differ and it’s worth looking into that properly.

Some here have mentioned delays in obtaining court dates once the flood of non payers get served notices, it will be interesting to see how the system copes with it all. I am fairly certain the government will come up with a solution.

I live in an area which has seen prices rise for rentals and purchase, here flats are empty for a day or two. In other parts of the country no one would entertain living in some of these flats. We are talking of the door hitting the toilet vase in most of the under 2k pm flats, non existent sound insulation and rooms the size of a cupboard.

It’s about time decent landlords get the recognition they deserve and bad ones get taken out of the loop. There are so many renters but one has more rights in respect of buying a pair of ill fitting slippers at Poundland than when paying £1700pm for a place to live.

Hi Frank. The info on government website suggests EPC requirement doesn’t apply to all properties. Link is here

It states that EPC is generally only needed if property has been marketed for sale let within last 10 years, ie since 2008 or modifications have taken place.

The 2018 and 2020 rules apply where an EPC is in in place it needs to meet EPC rating of E or better but according to this if one wasn’t originally needed then the efficiency rules dont apply. Agree there is a lot of conflicting info on other websites.

Hello Richard;

Yes, I see your point. Problem is that many are interpreting the act in different ways. For example, many legal sites and also Shelter state that the ECP applies to all rented dwellings regardless of when the tenancy began. The paragraph you quote is something I have looked at in the past, due to all the other stuff I have read it only added to the confusion.

Maybe you are correct and I don’t need an EPC, one is most definitely not needed in order to apply for a Section21 due to when my contract began.

I will have another look at the links I found, maybe I misinterpreted the info given there. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Thanks for seeking to clarify.

A couple of points for me to add.

Firstly, things seem to change fast in this business nowadays and last time I did any reading on the subject, I read that a tenancy which has lapsed into periodic is now classed as the landlord granting a new one month tenancy every time the accept a further month’s rent. This means the deposit protection rules, EPC, gas safety and now the new electrical safety rules must all be met, and I hear tales of judges refusing to grant possession orders if any one detail is not complied with.

Secondly, I think Frank’s friend who said a judge granted an eviction order on the next day must have missed some bits out. This simply cannot happen under English law as I understand it, unless there are some very unusual circumstances. I’d be interested to hear more details, if there are any available.

And finally, yes sitting it out to the bitter end whilst not paying any rent strikes me as a better option than leaving immediately to homelessness if you are otherwise destitute, which is why I suggested it. With no money, a would-be tenant would have no chance of renting another flat regardless of whether he left immediately or strung it out as long as possible. If a landlord provokes their tenant with the no-maintenance behaviour described, they deserve to have their tenant to decide to play hard-ball back with them, in my personal opinion. And another final point is I will happily rent to someone who for perfectly good reasons has fallen out with a previous bad landlord, provided I hear the back story and and I think they behaved reasonably under the circumstances.

Ok that was four points…

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Mike, thanks for the reply, I shall try to elucidate about the eviction order my friend received.

He was living above a curry house in Stoke Newington, a trendy area, and kept complaining of a rat infestation. There was even an article in the local paper about it. Hackney Council’s EHD (at the time an incompetent bunch) supported the landlord instead of the tenant. At the time this appeared to be their policy as I have heard it happen on many occasions.

The tenant was advised to withhold the rent and the landlord must have managed to take the mail as the tenant’s only letter was an order to appear in court. An idiotic solicitor tried defending by using the “non received” argument, he lost it as the judge said " an item posted via Royal Mail is deemed as received". Those were his exact words, I was present. The judge made a possession order for the very next day and the tenant was made to repay all money owned and court fees.

On your other points, you are right about the various acts that have become laws, unfortunately those have caused confusion even among professionals. Trying to gain any accurate interpretation is quite hard, many experts say different things.

For example the EPC, Richard rightly points out that the Prescribed documentation might not apply to pre 2015 ASTs or that an ECP is not required at all if the property hasn’t been marketed for rent in the last 10 years. This is one of the parts of the act that is causing confusion.

Local Authorities give great advice on their websites listing all the rights a tenant is entitled to, most actually encourage private tenants to contact them for support and action. In reality they do as little as possible and their legal departments are far from up to date, if at all in existence. Of course, Council Tax has not gone down, only the services provided.

So far my local authority has been excellent in passing me from pillar to post, you can actually hear it in the voice of whoever you speak with. They can’t be bothered and try to explain Category 1 Hazards away until they become a trivial issue.

The problem with sitting it out until the bitter end is the fact that I have a house full of possessions, the thought of court letters and bailiffs coming to my door is scary. It’s not like I can get my stuff in a couple of boxes and call an Uber.

Please contact Shelter. They love coming down hard on Landlords - I am one.

I have to ask the question. Why would you want to rent from such an awful landlord. I am a landlord and find your landlords lack of care and responsibility despicable. There are plenty if good properties to let out their. Better ti leave that one behind.

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All the sane if it has been reported and not actioned if it went to court your landlord can be forced to repay YOU back rent by way of compensation. Send him a letter stating all your grievances and pointing out that he has continually ignored repair issues. Take a copy of it and send by recorded delivery. If he takes you to court I fully believe that he will lose out as the law always favours the tenant rightly or wrongly.


Hello Christine;

Good question, why would I rent from a bad landlord. I have been here from 2002, it became my home regardless of how bad my landlord was as I never pushed too hard for repairs. As soon as I did the trouble became worse. Now, as I pointed out earlier, I am stuck.

Our main requirement was a quiet flat, after the quiet neighbours moved out we got stuck. A whole flat full of accumulated possessions makes things even harder. That and the fact that in our area there are too many tenants looking for homes made us stay.

As far as judges favouring tenants over landlords, that I am not sure of. Our local EHD bends backwards for landlords and have no department which helps tenants. Going to court on a Section 21 has no counterclaim, this would effectively mean I would have to take the landlord to court myself or get cash together to employ a solicitor.

Believe me, some tenants might get a better deal in court than landlords, but this is most definitely not true of all cases. Just the fact that my landlord is allowed to do what he is doing with the full knowledge of the Local Authority speaks volumes.

If you look at all the new tenants right, and the 29 hazards which now a tenant can take action on, you would be forgiven for thinking tenants have more power than landlords. In reality, no one actually cares, the only course of action if things go wrong is to move on or take the landlord to court. Most here know of the expenses associated with legal proceedings.

Christine, I did most of the minor repairs here for free, paid the rent on the agreed day and never even had a party in all the years I have lived here. It’s mind boggling how little my landlord appreciates this. To be fair, my flat could probably raise an extra £100 a week in good condition, this is what the landlord sees.

So sorry for your predicament but as much as I dislike Shelter because they would rather bankrupt a good but abused landlord before tell the tenant they are out of order, in this case I would say give them a try you have nothing to lose. In the meantime do whatever it takes to get the money together to get out of there. Landlords loss most certainly.

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Thank you, Christine. You are obviously a decent person, especially since as a landlord you still advised a tenant to contact Shelter.

I have done, they are very busy and so are all other free resources.

Yes, get the money together and move on. That is the sanest solution.

Looking at the bright side, conversing with EHD officers has occasionally gave me some real entertainment. Some of the things they come out with to avoid doing anything have often left me stifling my giggles.

One told me that broken windows are preferable to ones that are sealed, it aids ventilation and prevents damp and mold. That particular conversation went on for nearly 1hr. After the giggling fit I literally started dozing off.

I keep getting calls from all sorts of departments, none know why they are calling and all pass it on to someone else. I reckon I am too old to apply for a position there, but it would be a perfect job for anyone looking to do as little as possible.

I am also actively fighting a squirrel that has been bothering me for some years, he stares at me with contempt. Getting attacked from all angles.

broken windows for ventilation ? they must be a relative of the landlord !!

Rotten windows and a fireplace with a blanket stuffed in it as it’s completely open. One window does not close at all, I was asked " by how much does it not close by?". I didn’t know how to reply to that one, how exact should my measurements be, would I need some special measuring equipment?

We have bricks falling apart on the front of the house, parts are falling below. He says " it looks dry". Well, it has not rained for a while, I would be surprised to see water there.

My suspicion is that during the Coronavirus local authorities are advised to take as little action as possible, at least this is what it seems like.

:joy::rofl: befriend the sqirrels and the birds with a bit of food. They are so funny especially starlings who fight and squabble all the time a bit like humans so called. I wish you well and hope you can eventually sort it all out. I know its hard to save these days but we did without for years to get ourselves a pension via rentals. Something we never gave a thought to when younger. Not all landlords are like yours. Most are decent hard working people who prefer to look after their houses and good tenants. I would hate to lose our wonderful tenants. All the very best.

Christine, I often prefer animals to humans, but the squirrel is ripping up the roof flashing and any plant we try growing. He has obvious contempt for me, last thing I am going to do is bake a cake for him/her. It looks pretty well fed anyway.

On a lighter note, my local councillor has just written me a letter more or less having a go at me for not being more cooperative with the local authority. It’s like the twilight zone out here. Either that or my landlord is part of the Sopranos family.

When all this is over I shall post some details of the whole thing, it’s been an absurd experience. The only efficient service here are the traffic wardens, action from them is guaranteed.

For any landlords in my borough, don’t worry too much about following regulations. The most that will happen is a phone call asking you to please rectify issues, if you don’t, you’ll just get another call. And as far as the repair being effective, don’t worry about that either, it doesn’t have to be.

Thanks for your wishes, Christine. My obvious issue is having spent my youth staring at clouds instead of thinking about the future. Entirely my fault, but I do wish my landlord was of the type I have found here.

Hi. From the value of flat in good condition and the rent you paid it sounds like a london or expensive area. Have you considered moving to somewhere where your single income is enough, there’s less pollution and crime and its affordable? The revenge on your Landlord would be assured by his difficulty in finding another tennant with the property in the state it is. For instance, I have a lovely 2 bed terraced house going through right now which I will rent at 815 a month in sunny seaside Gosport… Single flats same area about 600 a month, up north way cheaper.

Well its great to see so many good landlords and the advice.

Mine is always never stop paying the rent
Offer to do the repairs yourself which you are able in lieu of part rent reduction, this idiot sounds as though its grab grab grab and wouldn’t want it all reduced in lieu of work, and from a technical point its always better to have evidence of rent payment - however much !
Appreciating its your home, many landlord’s forget that, I think if it’s as bad as you say you may have a health & safety angle.
Regarding the council, if you are having no joy with the tenant department, write to the top council person (whatever they are called in your area), copy it to your MP and your local rag. Shelter will help you formulate the letter. One of the things I would add would be to request an independent surveyors inspection and report, nominated by the council - not landlord.
Some solicitors offer a 30 min chat free, you could do some prep and see if that’s an angle that would help.
It also sounds as though you could be on the trail to a new home as the landlord may have plans for the property and higher rents.
Many have suggested make him sweat and go for eviction, whilst this may give you a lot of satisfaction in racking up his costs, you have to think of the stress you will go through, your credit rating and new tenancy prospects.

One thing you must do, is take photographs, videos of your situation. A log of emails, letters, repairs (pre and post works), phone calls, summary of what was said and if threatening. It’s a labourious jobs but will pay dividends when required. Any phone call you have with your landlords follow up with a letter of your understanding of the call and log that.

You may need this if it goes legal or to defend your deposit.

If you are still there this time next year fighting your corner the landlord must have completed a new electrical certificate.

Some councils offer a loan to pay the deposit, in fact it has to be returned to them at the end of the tenancy. Not all do but if you move to a different area you could try.

Another point if you do move, without affecting your credit score see if in principle you could have a short term loan, use the previous deposit to pay some off.

Whatever happens - good luck


go to SHELTER they are pretty aggressive. as a good landlord i find them annoying in their attitude but they love to take up cudgels and spoil for a fight in my experience

Brian, thank you for the detailed and sensible advice. We have gone without eating on occasions just so as to pay the rent.

Asked for a reduction during Covid, denied. If I do work here for free it’s fine, if I ask for a contribution, he says he’ll get someone else to do it.

The department that deals with private tenants in our local authority is no longer in place, any communication is answered by random departments and usually consists of huge amounts of copy and paste from the internet. Most of the info is out of date or completely irrelevant to my case.

I have taken photos of everything and keep a log of all communication with everyone. It’s taken over our lives.

The EH is ignoring the fact that loose bricks are about to fall on the street below and that the landlord never maintained any part of the property. To begin with I just assumed incompetence, now I am not so sure.

The local authority now runs a service for landlords, basically they have set up an estate agents within the council and they will handle lettings for landlords. The fact that this would probably be construed as a conflict of interests in not an issue.

So far they have first ignored me, then basically sought to cause arguments in order to make me give up. It became farcical soon after I contacted them.

I actually did ask for the local authority surveyor to be called in, the request went ignored. Strangely, they don’t seem to be particularly worried of any come back should one of those issues end up injuring someone. Trust me, some pose a danger that is quite evident.

My deposit was protected a couple of months ago, so that was sorted.

Sidney, Shelter is very busy, I shall try again but they are probably giving their attention to vulnerable tenants as a priority. We shall try again, though.

Maybe the effects of Covid have affected local authorities more that reported, but maybe they’re just incompetent. Whenever I get communications from an EHO I always imagine them by a river holding a fishing rod. Working from home.