Witholding last months rent?

I think LL isn’t seeing the bigger picture here.

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They just don’t seem to care or are completely oblivious to the consequences if I lose this opportunity to move now, I’m a single parent on basic income and it’s very difficult in obtaining a home against more desirable applicants, I have a feeling they will be kicking themselves if I have to stay through the possession process.

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there won’t be a “posession process”. The LL can’t serve a valid S21 so can never take you to court to gain possession. You are under no obligation at all to sign that deed of surrender until you have everything you need to leave the property on your terms.

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Wow!!! So sorry you are going through this!! What a lot of stress. I agree LL is an idiot. What planet is LL on?

Stay. He then may be making big offers for you to leave and eventually get that he needs your kind cooperation!! And he may have to start offering you big incentives to move. It is truly upsetting that there are landlords out there like this.

Do keep in touch and let us know what’s happening.

Again, sorry that you’re going through this! Just doesn’t make sense to me the way you’re being treated as the landlord is the one that desperately need you out And he’s not complied with regulations.

Good luck!

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I will do thank you.

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HI Stephen40

My advice is never in any circumstances should tenant “withhold rent” - once you do this you a in breach of contract and lose the protections that are afforded to tenant with an assured shorthold agreement.
Shelter and all the other advice services say the same - never withhold rent !

You mention you deposit is “not protected” You don’t say how long you have been a tenant. If you paid your deposit before 2007 (and have not had anew fixed term contract since then) your landlord does not have to protect it.
I have two very long term tenants in this situation …where the only evidence of their deposit is in their original contract (hence it is also a very low deposit which would be increased if we ever made a new agreement)

However in those circumstances the landlord would have to return the deposit before issuing a section 21 notice or protect it.

This would not effect an eviction on the ground of a sale though!

With an unprotected the deposit there is nothing to stop you and the landlord agreeing that two equal transfers don’t happen - but you should get it in writing that you rent has paid in full and you should give your landlord a reciept for the returned deposit!

If you don’t do this you have no protection against your landlord pursuing you in small claims court for unpaid rent -= as you won’t have any bank transfers etc to rely on as evidence you paid!

Many landlords won’t agree to this until after the final inspection after keys are handed over.

BUt you are free to negotiate with your landlord - just make sure you get everything in writing. But in my experience just paing the rent and and then reclaiming the deposit is much quicker and more efficient than when a tenant withholds rent which could delay the sale and give you and you landlord a lot of extra hassle !

Hi, thank you for info. I wouldn’t withhold rent unless LL gave agreed to my request. Since my original post I have indeed paid the rent to LL has as you have advised, I moved in on Feb 2023 and paid £850 deposit to LL by bank transfer, I have emails from LL and bank statement confirming this.

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Stephen34 - I have only just seen this thread. I am a landlord. You need not worry about landlords on this forum shooting you because most of us want to do things right and it annoys us when incompetent landlords get us all a bad name.

In my opinion the advice you have received from others here is sound. You are in a very strong position.

If this matter is still on-going I’d like to know whether the landlord has sold your home with vacant possession. I think the implication is that they have done this and the buyer expects you to have gone when they complete the purchase. If so, and if you (1) continue to pay your rent on time (and re-pay it if the landlord knows your bank details and returns it), and (2) perform all the other tenant’s obligations under the tenancy agreement, you certainly have this landlord over a barrel. It’s a hard world and we are all entitled to look after our own interests. Your interest here is best served by a departure time which suits your convenience, no loss of deposit or other money, and full reimbursement of your removal expenses. You could get a lot more than that if you wanted to stay where you are and put the landlord under pressure. For example, if the landlord really needs to sell the property and cannot get vacant possession they could be looking at having to sell to one of the vulture buyers who will offer no more than 80% of the value, sometimes as low as 65%. But I suspect you may not be the sort of person who wants to go through an acrimonious dispute.

I suggest that you ask Shelter’s helpline for advice, but if you don’t want to do that and the matter isn’t settled yet you should consider writing to the landlord, an old fashioned letter with a stamp. Keep a copy. Head the letter ‘Subject to Contract’ which means the letter itself is not binding, you can change your mind later if you want to. Do not head the letter ‘Without prejudice’ because if the landlord is stupid enough to institute possession proceedings you will want to show it to the court. List the landlord’s breaches of its obligations beginning ‘You are in breach of a number of your obligations, including…’ (use of ‘including’ means if you are made aware of another breach later you can include it later). State the terms under which you are willing to vacate the property, being very specific, and stating dates and deadlines where appropriate. The terms should include some money in advance of your vacation date and the balance in cash or a verifiable BACS payment on the day you vacate. Say that if your terms are not agreed in a written contract by a stated deadline you will refuse to vacate. State that harassment of a tenant is a criminal offence. If you can, serve the letter on the landlord in person, and take a photo showing them receiving it, or send it by Royal Mail Special Delivery and record the tracking information to prove it was delivered. If you do reach a settlement with your landlord make sure it is on paper, signed by all parties, dated, and if it includes a surrender it should be a deed.

Please report progress back here.

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Thank you for taking the time to help. The LL has lost the sale as I didn’t sign the deed of surrender that was sent from the buyers solicitor, I tried to reach a solution for us both to benefit from, but LL wasn’t having any of it, so now I am most likely stuck until eviction as that was the only house I had been accepted for in 3 months of searching, I did feel guilty about having to stay and putting LL through the possessions process, I was willing to take a house far away, even though it was to make my life more difficult with work and getting my kids to school, but now my mindset is, I tried but LL has chosen the hard way.

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There will be no eviction without the deposit being protected. Your landlord is either very ignorant or just insane.

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Nothing is ever a cast iron certainty in law, but in the current circumstances it does seem very unlikely that you can be evicted under s21, and if you comply with your obligations you can’t be evicted under s8. I agree that your landlord is either ignorant or insane. I strongly recommend that you find the time to read Shelter’s excellent website so that you have a thorough knowledge of your position. I think from the tenor of your posts you should be able to cope with the section which is offered to professionals, here: Possession and eviction - Shelter England.

A good trick is to try and put yourself in the landlord’s position, hoping to get their tenant out, and wondering how to do it. It’s a trick i used to use when preparing for court cases - what is my opponent likely to say and how will I respond?

[I should say I don’t support Shelter because I have known the organisation since it started - I watched Cathy Come Home as a live broadcast - and they have achieved no tangible alleviation of the housing crisis in all the years of their existence. I think they exist to fund the salaries and pensions of their paid staff. But the legal content on their website is second to none with everything referenced to impeccable sources. It is the best free source of legal commentary on housing law you can have]

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Thank-you. Their legal section looks quite extensive, I agree having spoken to Shelter and asking for help that they seem to me no more than a go to for helpful information, but nothing more.

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Since my post, estate agent phoned to ask if buyer could come over to measure up, I was surprised as surveyor cancelled visit weeks ago citing buyer had pulled out and gone for another house!
Now received section 21 and asked if I could leave before it runs out as house has now sold, I don’t believe house has sold as it’s a residentual mortgage as mother and son want to move in, how are they able to exchange contracts with out vacant possession?

Many houses get sold with tenants still residing and it may well be sold , a LL has to notify a tenant of he name etc after buying from memory sect 48
I know it’s wrong what the LL is doing but I would seriously think about getting a good reference as no LL would take on a tenant who has been evicted .

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Thank you. I found somewhere a month ago and I tried to leave with minimum impact on LL, unfortunately LL wasn’t accommodating given the situation.
The time I have now to find another house given past experience on how difficult it is to rent in and around my area will now most likely go beyond my notice, giving LL no option but to start court proceedings.

as a LL, I have to disagree with that. In this day of “no-fault evictions” LL’s would be ignorant if they simply rejected any applicant who had been evicted. Every applicant is an individual with individual circumstances. Steven34 is a case in point. It’s absolutely no fault of his own that he finds himself in this difficult situation.

A reference from a current LL is worth almost nothing as a LL who wants vacant possession will say anything to get it. It’s your previous LL you want a good reference from.

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Thank you for your understanding.

Hi Stephen,

While it is true that no landlord will refuse a tenant who has left after being issued a section 21 It is a very different matter if the tenant has refused to leave and the landlord has been forced to go to court.

The vast majority of section 21 “no fault” notices are issued tenants who have rent arrears or or anti social behaviour.- but also sometimes where a landlord is selling. or wants to move into the property

The landlord could easily evict on al these ground under sections 6 but this requires a court hearing - but section 21 notice makes it easier for the tenant to leave without the court being involved - and find another home as the tenant won’t show up in court records!

So if you wish to be rehoused in the private rented sector with a decent property then do try to avoid any court judgments against you or calling out of bailiffs . You just go down the queue with many landlords who naturally want to avoid unnecessary court costs with their future tenants !

Stand your ground within the law - but try to avoid court where possible - it can be better to put possessions in storage and sofa surf if you have to and have great references!

Just a general observation - but only you can decide what is right in your situation.

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Mark, genuine question, if a tenant does end up in court because they are fighting an unjust S21 and bailiffs are called out and that’s how they end up leaving the property, how does this show up on their record when future LLs run checks? Is it in effect a CCJ?

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Hi, thanks for insight. Unfortunately I have 2 children so need another home, it’s a shame LL didn’t compromise, would have avoided the court process and I could of moved on with no cost to LL.