Solicitors send letter with Rent Guide, GSC, EICR, Energy Performace


Please can you help.

I moved into a property in 2010 and was not issued a How to rent guide, GSC, Energy Performance Certificate or EICR.

I’ve received a letter from the Landlords solicitor today with a How to rent guide, a GSC (which was actually a repair I commissioned and isn’t a formal GSC). an outdated / expired energy performance certificate and an EICR from 2016.

The landlords want us to leave and I currently don’t have a deposit to offer to buy the property or buy another property.

What are the implications of receiving these documents today?

Thanks in advance for your kind attention.

They are presumably providing these so they can serve you with a section 21 notice which would then give you 2 months notice. They wont makeca previously served section 21 notice valid. For section 21 to be valid you need to have a current valid gas safety certificate. As long as epc was valid at start it doesnt need to be valid now. An EICR isnt required as part of eviction process but landlord legally needs to renew this every 5 years and there are potential fines of £30k for landlords that dont comply.

Thanks for your reply.

It has an epc rating of G which expired 2018.

From 2010, landlord didn’t do a GSC, as mentioned, the one included in the solicitors letter is from a repair to the boilers expansion vessel.

After the pandemic, landlord got in touch to ask me to buy property or move out. He also emailed to ask to do a GSC but when I presented a bill for repairs he ignored me (2K). Hence, there wasn’t a GSC for 11 years and there isn’t one now because of the dispute.

We’ve been in dispute since. He issued a section 13 to increase rent, doubling it, last summer via an estate agent. When I wrote to the agent explaining myself, they withdrew from representing landlord as they felt they’d been misled about our tenancy etc and they apologised. I’m on a year to year periodic tenancy which renews April 1st.

How to Rent EPC and GSC can all be served at any time before the s21 without invalidating it, but they do have to be current to be valid. An EPC below an E makes letting the property now illegal anyway.

Any s21 served now will fail until valid documents are served.

(Amended) Thank you, David, I very much appreciate your words

Just to note, the latest guidance on the Shelter website illustrates that with a year to year rolling periodic tenancy, the notice period is six months. I’d be happy with that as I’m looking to purchase a property and my son has his GCSE’s in the coming months. The Shelter guidance can’t be wrong, surely?

Similarly, is it a criminal offence to harass a tenant in a property and attempt to deprive / mislead on statutory rights and get them to leave earlier than required? The Property Ombudsman was fantastic in helping me establish that the Estate Agent who was bullying my family last year wasn’t being obedient to the prevailing laws and once this was highlighted, offered an unreserved apology and in a letter to me, explained he could not represent the landlord any longer as he himself had been misled.

I know lawyers behave like this to intimidate and scare people but does this constitute harassment because I think if so, I should report to the police.

The Shelter guidance on their website (from 2023) on notice periods explicitly states 6 months notice on a year to year periodic tenancy as defined in my tenancy agreement.

I spoke with Shelter yesterday and provided them with the ‘TERM’ set out in my tenancy agreement and they were inclined to agree that I should have six months notice

The Shelter advice is correct but you didnt mention the yearly periodic tenancy. Are you sure yhats what you have?

It says ‘the term of the agreement is a periodic tenancy commencing 12:00 noon on 1 April 2010 and continuing on a year to year basis until the landlord or the tenant terminates the tenancy’

There’s a separate section under rent which states ‘the tenant will pay the rent on or before the sixth of each and every month of the term of this agreement to the landlord’

Shelter looked at this and concluded that I would need six months notice. Presumably, this would have to be at a specific time?

I think on balance I would say the same as Shelter, but it would take a judge to decide. The payment frequency is at odds with the statement about continuing on a year to year basis. However, in cases like this, a court will usually decide in favour of the “junior partner” in the contract, ie the tenant.

I received a notice to quit this week from the LL solicitor giving me two months notice. Would you advise that I contact the solicitor or the LL?

If all is as you say, then in your shoes I would do nothing. Its not in your interest to correct the landlord’s errors. His solicitor sounds incompetent tbh. If they havent given you the correct documentation and the notice period is wrong, the notice would fail at court and they will have to start again.

They will eventually get it right, so you should probably start looking for somewhere else to live. This will enable you to leave on your own terms. I’m not sure from your tenancy contract whether you would have to give 6 months notice or one month. Does it say anything at all about tenants notice?

Shelters guidance was based on the following -

Where the contractual period of the tenancy is longer than two months, the section 21 notice period must be for at least a full period of the tenancy. It may specify any date on or after the earliest day a notice to quit could take effect. So this would be 6 months for a yearly tenancy, and the case law this would apply is s.21(4)(b) Housing Act 1988; Parker d.Walker v Constable (1769) 3 Wils. K.B. 2

Would you like me send the tenancy agreement as an attachment in a message, David?

It does not seem to say anything about tenants notice hence me wishing to send you the tenancy agreement.

It says ‘any notice to terminate this tenancy must comply with the act’ - (section 19a of the housing act)

If your relationship has broken down why not take a different approach. Speak to the LL direct and say you need a float to get you going elsewhere and is he happy to give you a bung in that direction? Ultimately you will have to go; there will be the stress of not knowing as judges are fickle at the best of times and it will take many months.
It will cost him going thru courts so if he or she is pragmatic and cash settlement might work. Plus you will still be able to get a decent reference from the LL as part of the settlement. References are important for you renting somewhere new

Thanks for your reply, Sidney.

Last year, they appointed an Estate Agent to manage the property. The Estate Agent withdrew from representing the LL because they felt they had been misled about my tendency. (By the LL).

In the Estate Agents letter to me, they explained that based on evidence provided, they had decided to recuse themselves from acting for the LL.They
expressed they were sorry for any distress and anxiety they had caused me.

Importantly, they acknowledged that I had a year to year tenancy and concomitant rights derived from it.

I know judges can be fickle but I understood from the outset that the agreement I signed in 2010 was a year to year tenancy (the LL did this to give me security).

I want to ensure I am most informed when it goes to court - if there’s a chance I might lose, I would change my approach. However, if I can get six months longer here, I will have saved enough for a deposit to purchase a home.

LL seems dodgy, he will know that a bung could solve problems. At least enough for a new deposit.

Hi Carl

I’m saving for a deposit to purchase a home rather than rent.

Ok, well you might want to get an opinion from Shelter on whether when serving your own notice to quit, the notice length should be the standard minimum 1 month or minimum 6 months, both ending on the last day of a tenancy period.

That’s the complex part, David. Because if the notice has to end on the last day, notice has to be served something like 193 days before end of tenancy … is that what you’re thinking?

Well if its 6 months notice, its going to be somewhere around 180+ days. You need a proper legal opinion on this though as you will otherwise waste a lot of time.