OpenRent Community

Section 21 - Advice

Evening all, Hope you’re well during these strange times.

I’m here just for a bit of advice, I’m going to explain the full situation to help get the best advice possible so please bare with me and read it all.

Basically: We have a fixed term shorthold tenancy of two years. We moved in around 15th July 2019, our tenancy is supposed to last until around 15th July 2021. In April we was issued a section 21 and given a date of 17th July 2020 to “move out”, This is absolutely fine (although caught us by surprise as we’ve never had any issues and always payed the rent on time everytime), we’re currently in the process of buying our first house (exciting times). Unfortunately the sellers of the house we’re buying are being slow on their end with paperwork so we are worried we might not have enough time by the 17th and might have to stay on after this. We fully understand that we don’t have to move as a section 21 is only the beginning of the whole process to evict us and the landlord will have to go to court and due to covid there isn’t any court dates etc. We fully understand all of that, however what we are concerned about is something we got told by an organisation; Potentially as we are a fixed term short hold agreement if we “stay” past the 17th we could be forced to pay for the entire year even if we move out say a couple weeks after (so the remainder of our contract we could be forced to pay) is there any truth to this? Can this be done? I thought if we got a section 21 and we stayed past the 17th July she would have to go to court. Would we be forced to pay for the entire year even if we only stayed for an extra 2 weeks?

There IS a break clause in our contract that states the landlord can give a section 21 but must not expire before twelever months from the commencement of the tenancy (taken straight from the contract). It also say’s underneath “if the tenant wishes to vacate the property he may give the landlord or his agent no less than one month notice in writing to terminate the tenancy provided that it’s not terminated before twelves months from the date of tenancy”. So am i right in thinking theres just no way they could charge us for the full year as we could potentially activate this break clause ourselve anyway and give a month notice to leave?

I really hope that all made sense, in short all i’m asking is if theres anyway we could be forced to pay for the remainder of the year if we stay just for an extra two weeks.

Additional notes: we’ve asked the landlord for extra time which they have declined as they want the house back. We’ve been in contact with citizens advice and shelter.
Thank you all so much for reading :slight_smile:

I’m not an expert and expect you will get an OpenRent response soon. But I’ve got nothing else to do!
I would think you are right when you say the Section 21 has been activated so how could they then charge you for the whole year if they have effectively ended the tenancy.
If they wanted to charge you for a year there would need to be a tenancy in place and right now there isn’t (or won’t be soon) surely?

Hi

I don’t see how you can be charged a year. However landlord can pass on costs incurred as a result of you not leaving at end of section 21. These could be legal costs for court applications and solicitor, as well as potentially the landlords accommodation costs if they need to make alternative plans as a result of you not leaving.