OpenRent Community

Section 21 is it valid?

Hi,after some advice please.
I have lived in my current property since February 2015 in April 2020 my landlady sold the property,the lady who bought it kept me on as a tenant and increased my rent by £100 p/m.
The sale completed in July 2020 and I have seen the new landlady once when she fixed some guttering outside.The next time I hear from her was August 2021 via a text message to say could she pop over one evening, i agreed assuming it was a annual house inspection and she turned up with an estate agent to take photos and inform me she was selling the house.
A week later another text message to say if I agreed to pay £1000 a month rent instead of £800 she would take the house off the market!!I felt like she was blackmailing me but citizens advice confirmed she could do this!
I informed her I couldn’t afford the increase and she issued a section 21 with an end date of Xmas day 2021!!
My question is is the notice valid?obviously it’s her house she can sell when she likes but I am a single parent with 3 children and where I live there a very few suitable properties that it will be a miracle if we find somewhere in the four months so I have been researching section 21 and have a feeling it’s not valid due to the following reasons:
1)I have never had a gas safety check since she has owned the house.
2)I have no gas safety certificate.
3)I have never been given a epc certificate.
4)I have never had an electrical safety check.
5)I have no electrical safety certificate.
6)I have never been given a copy of the right to rent booklet.
7)My deposit is held in the dps but still under my old landlady’s name and address?
8)The section 21 was sent through WhatsApp and I was told to just print it out?
9)My surname is spelt incorrectly on the notice.
10)a p4 form has not been filled out.
I’m not sure if any of these reasons are correct its just things I’ve come across through googling so just wondered if anyone could advise me where I stand with this and what I need to do next.
Thanks!

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Were you asked to sign a new contract or did you receive a section 3 or 48 notice documenting new ownership
If not it’s all a pickle for them
The spelling error will void the notice
Not being served documents will void the notice
DPS documents invalid if not in current landlord’s name
Sit tight
You are not going anywhere in a hurry
You are sitting in an illegal let!

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Assuming that you’ve signed no new tenancy agreement since Feb 2015, then the new landlord took over your existing tenancy and none of the usual requirements of Gas Safety Cert, EPC, How to rent etc apply. In other words not having them will not invalidate the s21, although you could report the landlord to the relevant authorities regarding those breaches of legislation.

If s21 notice only came by whatsapp, then I think its invalid. Did you sign anything that said documents could be served on you by whatsapp? I don’t think it would make if valid anyway.

If the deposit is still in the old landlady’s name, that might be a problem for the landlord, but I’m not 100% certain on that as the tenancy hasn’t changed. It would be worth your while getting advice on this as a breach of the deposit legislation could mean a penalty is payable to you of up to 3x the deposit. Speak to Shelter.

Your best bet at the moment is to do nothing, and let the landlord discover for themselves much later on that the notice is not valid. This will buy you time, but the landlord will get it right eventually. I suggest you start looking for alternative accommodation and perhaps approach the Council to see what social housing options there might be for you.

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Changes in tenancy , eg change of landlord name, do need to be addressed ref deposit.
As it is her deposit is classed as unprotected

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I signed a new assured shorthold tenancy in July 2020 (6 months then month on month)
I am desperately searching and applying for properties and have also informed the council but they won’t step in until 8 weeks before the notice runs out.
I agreed to her posting me the notice and when I messaged her to ask if she had sent it she said no just print it from the file she sent on WhatsApp?

Read your contract
Unless there is a clause permitting her to email or watts app she needs to send it in format as dictated by the contract otherwise it’s invalid.
If she has not served documents the notice it is invalid.
If your deposit was not updated regarding landlord changes the notice is not valid.

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Checked the contract there is a section titled

“Address for notice”
38.the landlord may terminate the tenancy by service of the tenant of a notice pursuant to any ground provided under the act.
39. For any matter relating to this tenancy the tenant may be contacted at the property or through the phone number below.

I guess that means through the phone is fine?that’s all I can see on the tenancy.
But yes I have no documentation from her at all apart from the tenancy agreement.

she’s covered for the phone

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She might be covered for the phone, but most likely not I think.

To receive notices requires you to have installed and check a specific app on your phone, which is not specified in the contract.

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So what happens if the notice is invalid and I dont find anything by Xmas day?
I am really hoping it doesn’t get that far as the last thing I want is the stress over Xmas of homelessness,I have excellent references from both landlady’s always pay my rent in full and on time keep my house nice and am described as a model tenant but it doesn’t take away the fact there are 50 to 70 applicants for each property in my home town and obviously a single income comes below all the applicants with double incomes😪if nothing comes up what us her next step? court?& is that when she will find out the notice is invalid (if it is)?
Sorry for all the questions I’ve rented for the past thirteen years but never been in this situation before.

If she goes to court she is looking at 12-18 month wait so take your time
If the notice is wrong she will have to start all over again in 12 to 18 months after waiting to go to court

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Ok thanks for your help that’s a bit more reassuring, so in the meantime I
Keep quiet & hope she doesn’t realise the notice may be invalid
Keep paying my rent
Keep searching for accommodation
And just see what happens when December comes😬

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even if you agreed to pay extra ,further down the line she could still sell or want more rent !

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Yes I know!and I think that’s exactly what she would’ve done upped the rent to £1000 for a 6 to 12 months and then sold!
It’s such a shame as I got on well with her when we first met but she has gone about this in a really sneaky way instead of being straight and now I have lost all trust in anything she says which is why I want to know where I stand if the worst comes to the worst as I have my three children to think of!

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Whilst the advice in this thread is good, can I advise you to also contact Shelter. They’ll be able to confirm the advice here with actual lawyers for you!

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She sounds like she gives good landlords a bad name.

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S21 by WhatsApp would not be valid and that clause about the phone doesn’t cover service of notices.

If you signed a new agreement in 2020 then the notice would also be invalid due to landlady not having served you the prescribed docs.

The notice will eventually fail and the Council won’t help you until a valid notice is served and a possession order awarded. That could be the best part of a year away. I think you’d be better with private accommodation anyway so just keep looking. You have plenty of time.

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I cant give you any advice unfortunately but I hope you get this resolved and I’m sorry you’ve had a bad experience… It’s people like her who give landlords as a whole a bad name :frowning:

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Hiya, I’m so sorry to hear of your predicament. Can I ask is the £1,000 a month rent she’s asking for a fair and going rate for the area, or is it grossly OTT.
I had a long term tenant paying £675 a month, when identical properties nearby were letting at £850 to £900.
I waited for him to leave before I took action, so,
She may just be putting your rent up to market value to sell the property with a sitting tenant. Also if she is selling so quickly I would imagine she would be in for a hefty tax bill, does she realise that?
If the £1000 is a fair rate then that is something the council may help with. I don’t know any facts, these are just my thoughts. I hope u get sorted.
Gill

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Hi, looking at how your landlord has behaved, you don’t want to be their tenant for too much longer. They have broken the basic principles of trust and legality. I know it’s difficult to get a new flat, but by all means find yourself a new one as soon as you can. Next time, get some help to be more ‘on the ball’ about the landlord’s duties if you are busy looking after your family. Keep in touch with them, make a shortlist of things they have to comply with and you can ask for. As a landlord, I can’t sleep if something happens in the flat and my tenants are facing some problem, but obviously not all landlords are the same. Always check options available in the market, meaning, never stop looking at where else you can move to, even if you’re happy where you are at the moment. In that case, if an extorsive increase in the rent is forced onto you, or the conditions change, you will have saved a bit of time. All the best next time!

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