Notice question and 6 month period after works before being allowed to serve notice

Hi everybody

I’m literally at my wits end and looking for some advice and to see if anybody else has been in my situation. I have one property that I let out. The tenant has been in there 5 and a half years. Over the last 12 months, they’ve reported a never-ending list of issues. The letting agency said that they’ve never experienced anything like it with the tenant sending multiple emails every day.

The tenant has gone to the council with a long list, a lot of which they’ve made up or lied about the timings. They reported seeing rodents in the property which Pest UK have sorted. I’ve been a good landlord, I haven’t put the rent up once and have always resolved any necessary issues as quickly as possible. We’re working through the list with the letting agency, it’s costing me a lot of money and they’ve not paying full rent. One example on the list is that they thought there was asbestos in the house. I had to pay £300 to do a survey which came back as negative.

I can’t afford to keep the property any longer and thought I would be able to serve the 4 month’s notice when the works have been completed. The contract ran out a while a go so we’re on a rolling contract. My letting agency have only just told me today that I can’t serve notice until at least 6 months after the work has finished so the tenant has time to appreciate the work done. This is the first time they’ve mentioned this and said before we’d be able to serve notice when the work was finished. This seems ridiculous, has anybody else experienced this. The tenant can keep making stuff up and lying so this could literally go on for ever if we always have to wait 6 months, it doesn’t sound right… I’d appreciate any advice from anybody please as I’m very stressed with the situation.



“time to appreciate the work done”… never heard of that.!!! Is the agent a relative of the tenant . ? Get a lawyer on it.

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I agree with the Collin
The tell is that they are not paying rent and this is their agenda
Get a solicitor
We had this years ago
The HMO inspector told me that tenants who demonstrate this behaviour are doing it because they don’t want to pay. The council see it all the time.
You can serve notice
I thought ( correct me if I am wrong but) unless there is a council mandated work directive or works outstanding on an HMO license you can serve notice

Get a solicitor involved asap
We had tenants like this
I used Stewart Bailey of Hibberts in Cheshire
Don’t do anymore work until you speak to a specialist solicitor and send all issues to them so they tell you what you do or don’t need to do.

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are you paying the agent to manage this property ? It sounds as if there is a hidden agenda here

It sounds to me as though the tenant is angling to get re-housed by the Council, but with rent arrears they may struggle to achieve that.

I suspect what the agent is talking about is the revenge eviction legislation, where a landlord can’t issue a s21 notice if the Council writes to the landlord with an “Improvement Notice”, giving the landlord a fixed amount of time to remedy property defects. Has the Council sent you such a notice? If they haven’t then you could serve a s21, but if they subsequently do send you such a notice, your s21 notice would become invalid because the tenant has notified them of the disrepair prior to the notice being served. I would go ahead and serve the notice anyway, (or get the agent to do it). The other thing to say is that this restriction only applies to s21 notices, so you could serve a s8 notice instead, but this is only really with doing if the arrears are many months worth of rent.

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Hi, thanks for your response. I received a letter from the council that says they’ve received a list of complaints from the tenant. the letter listed them and said that:

These matters have not been substantiated by this department; however it would be appreciated if you could, within the next 14 days, investigate and confirm in writing what, if any, action is being considered to address these issues.

The letting agency has gone back with an update against each of the issues, the ones that needed to be cleared will be done within the next week. It doesn’t say Improvement Notice anywhere on the letter. Does that mean or change anything?

I agreed to a rent discount for the previous two months to be nice so i could get some money in as I’ve paid so much out. They wanted a further discount this month which I refused. They have now paid so they are not in arrears currently however they have since emailed list of more issues. I don’t understand why I have to wait 6 months until i can serve notice.

Thanks again for your help.

I sometimes wonder whether these agents fully know the law re tenants /landlords. “Appreciate the work.”… I have heard it all now. Surely that cannot be topped ?

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It sounds like you have received friendly communication rather than an improvement order.
A formal notice will have raised issues with hazard ratings Category 1, Category 2 etc and refer to the HSRS and is addressed as an improvement order.
I would get involved and speak to the council directly. ( I had a private conversation with the council explaining my solicitor was involved and I was taking my directive from the solicitor and copied the council into all my legal correspondence. The tenant called the council every day but they never wrote back to him. The tenant did scream at me for 15 minutes because the council never replied to him but I told him I could not answer for the local authority and he should call them :wink:)
The council are human and are not oblivious to this kind of scam.
Ask the council what does and does not need to be done. Get your solicitor to advise to as he may reduce the workload.
The rule is if it is not unsafe to a vulnerable person in the upcoming 12 months it is not unsafe. Dave Princep Gave a great lecture on the Landlord Law course regarding the ratings system and how it works if you want to learn more.

I agree. That doesn’t sound like an improvement notice. You should go ahead and serve the s21. When the tenant has been evicted, you might want to review whether this is the right agency for you.


Thanks for your help everybody, David122 that’s exactly what I’m going to now do.

With agents like that, if they are issuing the S21, I would suggest checking it before it’s sent as any tiny little error can result in it being invalid. Or write it out yourself so that you know it’s been done properly. Good luck.

Hi everybody

I have one more question:

I spoke to the council, they said:

It wasn’t an improvement notice. In relation to Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act 2015: this only relates to an improvement notice being served, however Judges can sometimes look unfavourably on the section 21 being served following our contact. You would need to seek legal advice before going down this route.

I think we are now going to sell the property as we can’t face having another tenant like this again in the future, it’s not worth the stress and the outlay. Surely it doesn’t matter now if I’m selling the property as we can’t afford to keep it and I can now serve the S21 notice immediately?

Has anybody got any recommendations for good firms to use for legal advice?

Thanks again


I use Stewart Bailey at Hibberts
David Smith of JMW or Anthony Gold