Illegal Eviction Notice

I rent privately and have been here for three years. In the last few months my landlord has tried initiating a charge for me smoking the yard. Today I refused to pay this so he threatened to evict me, Now he has typed up a letter dated 1st March giving me only two weeks to vacate. The letter also asks for me to pay the end of March rent by March 19th. Where do I stand legally ?

Hi Neil, you are not obliged to pay any charges that are not agreed in your tenancy agreement. Are you outside of a fixed term? i.e. are you on a rolling, periodic tenancy?

What is the period of your tenancy? Do you pay weekly or monthly?

What terms in your tenancy agreement are there which describe serving notice, and has the landlord acted in accordance with them?

There is no fixed period ie I basically rent the place permanently. I pay monthly. I have just searched my emails for the earliest correspondence with the landlord and have found one that says “we will give you 45 days notice if our circumstances change and we need to end the tenancy” . I live in a bungalow in the back garden of his house.

Dont you know smoking is bad for you? Does the landlord smoke?

They are subject to the Tenant Fees Act like everyone else who has a landlord: The landlord cannot charge for smoking, unless written into the agreement, but they can charge for smoking ‘damage’ when you leave (meaning a professional house cleanup).

Ask the landlord to supply you a copy of your signed agreement with him, if there is one. If there isn’t one, then you have Assured Tenancy default rights, that I leave you to research.

If the latter, you are on a rolling one month contract, and your 45 days applies unless it says otherwise in your agreement. It seems that the notice period depends on what is written into the agreement, but I think it defaults to two months if not written into the agreement.

Also, if you do have an agreement, they can’t ask you to leave without good reason if the agreement fixed term is for up to three years - if longer it comes under different laws that I know nothing about.

At the end of the day, get the landlord to show you where it says in the agreement that you must not smoke in the yard, or stop smoking (or smoke down the road) or accept they are fed up with whatever it is to do with you smoking that they are not happy with and be prepared to leave.

Decide on how important it is to stay compared to what else you might move into, and then take appropriate action: don’t smoke in the yard or ask nicely and compassionately what specifically is the problem (they may have financial difficulties so want you out to get a higher rent or sell the place and smoking is just an excuse) to see if you can help them, after reading your agreement and pointing out if you are, or are not, in compliance.

Good luck.