OpenRent Community

Landlord subtly threatening eviction

Hi

Please can someone help?

I’ve lived in a rent property with an assured shorthold tenancy since 2010. The term of the agreement is a periodic tenancy beginning April 1st and ‘continues on a year to year basis until the landlord or tenant terminates the tenancy’.

I heard through local gossip that my landlord ‘wants us out’ and very recently he texted me to ask ‘can we have a gas man come round to issue a gas safety certificate’. I reminded him that we’d never had a gas safety check since 2010. I ask him why there was an imperative to have one now, knowing that a section 21 can’t be issued without one.

I also mentioned the £1000 worth of plumbing I’d had to get done in the past year (because historically, the landlord wouldn’t deal with emergency leaks etc in a timely manner). He didn’t respond to that though I can provide all receipts for the emergency work.

I’ve been shielding during Covid and of course, I haven’t been able to work as I’m clinically vulnerable. However, I’ve always paid rent on time and in full from my savings. It’s taking a while to get my work back up to speed because of Covid but I foresee no problems in paying rent.p, as I’ve always done.

Plus, I live in a remote area and this location works well for my children’s school. It will be an upheaval finding a place in the short term, maybe impossible. So, to live with this threat of eviction is quite awful.

Can anyone help me and explain whether I’m able to stay here until April 1st and what my options are?

Thanks in advance for any help.

3 Likes

Sorry to hear that your landlord may want you out. If you’ve always paid rent its unlikely to be personal. He may want to sell.

If you’ve been there since before 2015 with no renewal of the tenancy then the usual s21 pre-requisites mostly don’t apply - GSC, EPC, HtR, although deposit legislation does apply. If this is the case then he can serve you z valid s21 any time.

Maybe speak to him and try to gauge his thinking. You may be able to work something out.

Hi David

Thanks for your reply.

Specifically, with the tenancy renewing on a year to year basis, do I not have until April 1st?

There must be more terms than “year to year” in terms of notice etc. so impossible to know what your contract dictates.

Good news for you is that he will have to go through the courts to evict you in any event, at his own cost if you have done nothing wrong (i.e. paid your rent). There is a looooong wait to get this done now.

Wait for him to give you notice and then you’ll know if it’s true or not. If it is, you might be able to come to an understanding re: timing, help with costs moving etc. if he is selling for instance.

It is serious if he has not paid for plumbing. If you have told him about it and he did nothing he is responsible. Go to Citizen’s Advice, they might be able to help.

1 Like

Thanks for your message, Per.

There’s very little more about the ‘term’ other than what I’ve described. There’s a section on ‘severability’ but it’s nothing more than tortuous legalese. The agreement is an ‘automated tenancy agreement by LawDepot.co.uk’ so one that’s been pulled together.

We haven’t enjoyed quiet enjoyment of this place for a few years. The landlord delights in telling the village community ‘I subsidise them being there’ (false) and in the past, if repairs have needed to be done (broken boiler, no heat, hot water) they have been done in a less than timely manner and begrudgingly.

The UPvC door was all broken and unsafe when we moved in. He said it was to be replaced imminently. In the end, I replaced it and assumed my partner had deducted it from the rent she hadn’t (because she didn’t want drama) and in my ignorance, I later thanked him for it. He smiled and said ‘no problem’. I checked my banking and my partner hadn’t made the deduction.

It’s quite common for people in the village to tell us that over the past few years he’s been discussing ‘getting us out’. All for no good reason; I fail to understand a malicious landlord.

1 Like

Sorry, I’m not clear. Do you mean that the tenancy agreement says it “renews year to year” or the landlord gave you a new tenancy agreement each year? If it was the former then its arguable that the original tenancy became contractual periodic on expiry. That wouldn’t count as a new tenancy for the purposes of the Deregulation Act, (requirement to serve you a valid GSC etc). You can check if any s21 notice would be valid here: Section 21 flowchart - Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment

As Per says, if you do get a valid s21, it will currently be at least 4 months, although that may go back to 2 month from 1 October.

Hi David

Yes, it states “The term of the agreement is a periodic tenancy beginning April 1st and ‘continues on a year to year basis until the landlord or tenant terminates the tenancy”.

I’m realistic, it’s not like I intend to be here forever. But, I genuinely need to find a place which is convenient for the children’s schools and to have this thrown upon me after coming out of 18 months shielding seems like poor form.

2 Likes

That’s very jnusual for a tenancy to be yearly periodic. As far as I know, the cap of 6 months on the notice period only applies to the tenant and a landlord must give at least one period of the tenancy, which would be 12 months. You should check this with a solicitor as I cant be sure. As its a CPT, there may also be some contractual provision for shorter notice in the agreement, although again, I’m not sure if this would apply. I dont think the s21 will need gsc, epc etc served to be valid though.

1 Like

I’m not sure if this helps?

Yes it does. It looks like a 12 month notice from the landlord to me.

1 Like

Hi David

Would it be 12 months from any date they wish to issue notice? ie if they served notice today, would I have twelve months?

I’m not looking for 12 months, just a reasonable time to find a good quality alternative (school bus routes etc).

Unless there’s a break clause somewhere it does look like the term runs from April 1st to March 31st each year, which means it ends March 31st if he gives notice now.

Whether this is legally enforceable upon you if you want to leave I don’t know.

1 Like

Thanks Per

I’m just hoping for a reasonable time to find a new place; it’s a rural community with few properties and I have to keep in mind bus routes for the children’s schools etc.

I understand the landlord wants us to leave ASAP, like next month, which isn’t realistic.

Plus, I can’t find any other break clauses in the tenancy agreement. There are a couple of paragraphs of legalese that I can’t comprehend but they don’t explicitly state any reference to breaks or termination.

I think his notice has to be one full term of the tenancy, which is 12 month from now. Your problem is that if you want to leave beforehand, you would have to give 6 months notice. Ring Shelter to confirm. Your best bet would be to negotiate a shorter notice from you on this basis that he’s likely to get possession in under a year that way.

1 Like

David

Thank you.

Please forgive my ignorance (and hence my presence on here seeking your help).

My final question. So, with it appearing like the term is 12 months, can he issue a S21 and have the 4 month eviction order served?

1 Like

Firstly, it looks like your Landlord is a bit of a moron & it sounds like deserves everything he gets if I’ve read everything here correctly - but really, I do suggest that you ask theses questions to Shelter - they’re far more qualified than anyone here to help you. General advice:Private renting - Shelter England
Helpline & web chat are here:Get help from Shelter - Shelter England

CAB are another great place more qualified than us Landlords here:https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

No, I think the 4 month option would not be available to him but it might depend on other clauses in the TA. However, I agree with Vijay. Please call Shelter or CAB to confirm.

1 Like

Vijay and David

Thank you for helping. I can send the entire agreement but don’t see anything that supersedes the ‘renewal’ part. As far as I can see, the only other terminations are for subletting, wrecking the place etc