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  • FIRST POST
    • JackJones456
    • By JackJones456 7th Feb 18, 12:33 PM
    • 14Posts
    • 5Thanks
    JackJones456
    Assured Shorthold Tenancy Problem
    • #1
    • 7th Feb 18, 12:33 PM
    Assured Shorthold Tenancy Problem 7th Feb 18 at 12:33 PM
    Please can anyone advise me?

    In September 2017 I signed a 12 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement with Estate Agent/Landlord for a private letting. I have 3 children, 2 of which are disabled and in receipt of DLA. All children are settled into the local school with the 2 disabled children being supported by teaching assistants.

    I am also the DWP appointee for my mum who is in social housing (small 2 bed bungalow) 2 minutes from where I live as I am her full time carer.

    I have never missed a rent payment everything has been paid by direct debit every month since my move.

    I do have to say that I am having to 'top up' the rent by £150 per month which is a struggle.

    The Estate Agent called me yesterday and told me that the Landlady wants to sell the property I am renting and that he will be serving a Section 21 Notice on me shortly. I have only been in the property since end September 2017 and the tenancy is for 12 months. I am absolutely shocked and upset to say the least.

    I've been in touch with social housing who are going to get back in touch with me in the next 2-3 weeks. I have also spoken to Shelter. Shelter told me that if I move out upon receipt of Section 21 then the council will consider me as being intentionally homeless.

    I am worried sick as I need to stay in the local area as I have to care for my mum and also my 3 children are established in the local school.

    I have read my Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement and there are no clauses about the Landlady breaking the tenancy, I am not in breach of my tenancy. I am worried sick. I would really like to be socially housed as I had to move previously when my tenancy came to an end as my other Landlord wanted to sell the property.

    All this disruption is unsettling and I have had to tell the children a little lie that I am thinking of moving as the house is too small as they are too young to hear this news.

    Please can anyone advise me, do I just sit it out and make the Landlady get an eviction in the Court as otherwise the council will say I have made myself intentionally homeless. The thought of living in a hostel is worrying and it has been said that if I don't agree to a hostel they may put my kids in care! One child is autistic the other is under CAHMS, Please advise me.
Page 1
    • bowlhead99
    • By bowlhead99 7th Feb 18, 12:57 PM
    • 7,289 Posts
    • 13,310 Thanks
    bowlhead99
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 18, 12:57 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 18, 12:57 PM
    Your landlord / lady can't serve a valid s21 in the first 4 months in the tenancy, but you're beyond that point. So she can tell you she's seeking possession after the term of the tenancy expires. That may be at the end of the 12 months assured term, or at some earlier point if there's a 'break clause' which allows you or the landlady to end it earlier with notice outlined in your agreement.

    If there isn't a cause for a break earlier than August '18, you have until then before she could then start going through the courts for an eviction if you weren't moving out.
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 7th Feb 18, 12:59 PM
    • 11,693 Posts
    • 16,448 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 18, 12:59 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 18, 12:59 PM
    Please can anyone advise me?

    In September 2017 I signed a 12 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement with Estate Agent/Landlord for a private letting. I have 3 children, 2 of which are disabled and in receipt of DLA. All children are settled into the local school with the 2 disabled children being supported by teaching assistants.

    I am also the DWP appointee for my mum who is in social housing (small 2 bed bungalow) 2 minutes from where I live as I am her full time carer.

    I have never missed a rent payment everything has been paid by direct debit every month since my move.

    I do have to say that I am having to 'top up' the rent by £150 per month which is a struggle.

    The Estate Agent called me yesterday and told me that the Landlady wants to sell the property I am renting and that he will be serving a Section 21 Notice on me shortly. I have only been in the property since end September 2017 and the tenancy is for 12 months. I am absolutely shocked and upset to say the least.

    I've been in touch with social housing who are going to get back in touch with me in the next 2-3 weeks. I have also spoken to Shelter. Shelter told me that if I move out upon receipt of Section 21 then the council will consider me as being intentionally homeless.

    I am worried sick as I need to stay in the local area as I have to care for my mum and also my 3 children are established in the local school.

    I have read my Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement and there are no clauses about the Landlady breaking the tenancy, I am not in breach of my tenancy. I am worried sick. I would really like to be socially housed as I had to move previously when my tenancy came to an end as my other Landlord wanted to sell the property.

    All this disruption is unsettling and I have had to tell the children a little lie that I am thinking of moving as the house is too small as they are too young to hear this news.

    Please can anyone advise me, do I just sit it out and make the Landlady get an eviction in the Court as otherwise the council will say I have made myself intentionally homeless. The thought of living in a hostel is worrying and it has been said that if I don't agree to a hostel they may put my kids in care! One child is autistic the other is under CAHMS, Please advise me.
    Originally posted by JackJones456
    If there is no break clause in the tenancy agreement then any Section 21 your landlord issues now will be invalid. The fact that your landlord wishes to sell the property is irrelevant, you have a 12 month AST for you cannot legally be evicted any sooner than this unless you agree to a mutual surrender of the tenacy. If your landlord does sell the property the new owner would simply become your landlord.

    Read G_M's guide to Ending/Renewing an AST for further information.
    • JackJones456
    • By JackJones456 7th Feb 18, 2:36 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    JackJones456
    • #4
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:36 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:36 PM
    Thank you bowehead and Pixie. There is no clause to 'break the tenancy' in the tenancy agreement. All I know is that she wants to sell the property and that I will be issued a S21 to take me up to the 6 months into my tenancy contract. The agent is adamant that I have to get out in 2 months time.


    I hate the thought of all this upset, eviction etc. Will the Bailiffs turn up at my home? Will I have to keep the doors locked?

    It's obvious I should leave when the Tenancy expires end Sept 2018, but I've been told by Shelter not to leave even if they don't issue S21 and to get evicted at the end of the Tenancy by the Court if I want to be socially housed otherwise I will have made myself intentionally homeless.

    I feel absolutely sick with worry.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 7th Feb 18, 2:40 PM
    • 2,422 Posts
    • 2,316 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #5
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:40 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:40 PM
    Please can anyone advise me?

    In September 2017 I signed a 12 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement with Estate Agent/Landlord for a private letting. I have 3 children, 2 of which are disabled and in receipt of DLA. All children are settled into the local school with the 2 disabled children being supported by teaching assistants.

    I am also the DWP appointee for my mum who is in social housing (small 2 bed bungalow) 2 minutes from where I live as I am her full time carer.

    I have never missed a rent payment everything has been paid by direct debit every month since my move.

    I do have to say that I am having to 'top up' the rent by £150 per month which is a struggle.

    The Estate Agent called me yesterday and told me that the Landlady wants to sell the property I am renting and that he will be serving a Section 21 Notice on me shortly. I have only been in the property since end September 2017 and the tenancy is for 12 months. I am absolutely shocked and upset to say the least.

    I've been in touch with social housing who are going to get back in touch with me in the next 2-3 weeks. I have also spoken to Shelter. Shelter told me that if I move out upon receipt of Section 21 then the council will consider me as being intentionally homeless.

    I am worried sick as I need to stay in the local area as I have to care for my mum and also my 3 children are established in the local school.

    I have read my Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement and there are no clauses about the Landlady breaking the tenancy, I am not in breach of my tenancy. I am worried sick. I would really like to be socially housed as I had to move previously when my tenancy came to an end as my other Landlord wanted to sell the property.

    All this disruption is unsettling and I have had to tell the children a little lie that I am thinking of moving as the house is too small as they are too young to hear this news.

    Please can anyone advise me, do I just sit it out and make the Landlady get an eviction in the Court as otherwise the council will say I have made myself intentionally homeless. The thought of living in a hostel is worrying and it has been said that if I don't agree to a hostel they may put my kids in care! One child is autistic the other is under CAHMS, Please advise me.
    Originally posted by JackJones456
    You wont have to move before 2019 realistically. The Landlord selling is not your problem. In fact you could ask her to buy you out of the contract by paying your moving costs etc.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 7th Feb 18, 2:41 PM
    • 2,422 Posts
    • 2,316 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #6
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:41 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:41 PM
    Thank you bowehead and Pixie. There is no clause to 'break the tenancy' in the tenancy agreement. All I know is that she wants to sell the property and that I will be issued a S21 to take me up to the 6 months into my tenancy contract. The agent is adamant that I have to get out in 2 months time.- the agent is incorrect.


    I hate the thought of all this upset, eviction etc. Will the Bailiffs turn up at my home? Will I have to keep the doors locked? - Bailiffs will only turn up AFTER the court case. And they will notify you in advance. - You should keep your doors locked, but that's just general good practice, nothing to do with this.

    It's obvious I should leave when the Tenancy expires end Sept 2018, but I've been told by Shelter not to leave even if they don't issue S21 and to get evicted at the end of the Tenancy by the Court if I want to be socially housed otherwise I will have made myself intentionally homeless.- indeed

    I feel absolutely sick with worry.
    Originally posted by JackJones456
    What is worrying you most. Just calm down and read the replies.
    • dimbo61
    • By dimbo61 7th Feb 18, 2:42 PM
    • 9,754 Posts
    • 5,256 Thanks
    dimbo61
    • #7
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:42 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:42 PM
    Please check your AST very carefully and check if there is a break clause after 6 months.
    If NOT the landlord has to wait 12 months unless you agree to end the tenancy early.
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 7th Feb 18, 2:46 PM
    • 1,207 Posts
    • 816 Thanks
    m0bov
    • #8
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:46 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:46 PM
    Change your locks asap. Dont allow viewings.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 7th Feb 18, 2:48 PM
    • 2,422 Posts
    • 2,316 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #9
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:48 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Feb 18, 2:48 PM
    Change your locks asap. Dont allow viewings.
    Originally posted by m0bov
    Maybe this. It might be sold to a landlord, which would solve this
    • JackJones456
    • By JackJones456 7th Feb 18, 3:40 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    JackJones456
    Thanks for all your very helpful replies.

    There is definitely no break clause after 6 months in the Contract.

    The property has not yet been sold as the Agent said he has to serve me with the the S21 for me to vacate the property. Then he will put a 'for sale' board up.

    Based on the information on this thread, I will change the locks and not leave until a Court orders my eviction.

    Thanks everyone.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 7th Feb 18, 3:52 PM
    • 1,122 Posts
    • 755 Thanks
    saajan_12
    The landlord selling doesn't affect you, you have the right to stay there under your tenancy, until properly ended. The tenancy can only end in one of 4 ways:

    1. By your agreement - you can choose to leave at the end of the fixed term, or serve notice to leave after, or mutually agree a bespoke end date with the LL, under whatever terms you both negotiate. If the LL is keen on selling, you could suggest you agree to move out early if they pay you £x, which covers your moving costs, deposit, etc to somewhere else in the same area for your kids etc.

    2. Section 8 notice - only if you materially breach the tenancy agreement e.g. do not pay rent or something very extreme, then the LL can serve Section 8 notice. Then LL applies to court > (judge may give you a chance to resolve or defend) > gets possession order > gets bailiffs. All in ~2-4 months

    3. Section 21 notice - can be served anytime after the first 4 months, giving 2 calendar months notice, but must expire on or after the fixed term ie Sept 2018 unless there is a break clause. The notice is invalid if the LL hasn't followed all the rules of gas safety certs, deposit protection, PI etc, which means the LL has to start again with the notice. If valid, the LL applies to court > by default gets a possession order > applies for bailiffs > bailiffs visit.. earliest you can be kicked out Nov 2018.

    So, as long as you don't agree to anything and don't do anything wrong e.g stopping rent, then you are safe there until Nov 2018. However the LL can eventually get you out, so it may be beneficial for you to look for another property you can afford, and see if you can negotiate a smooth move out date (so no baiiffs, hostels etc) with the LL paying you £x for your moving costs etc.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 7th Feb 18, 5:06 PM
    • 16,438 Posts
    • 40,815 Thanks
    FBaby
    What's the date stated in the S21? Are you sure it is asking you to leave in 2 months time?

    Assuming it is, call the agent first thing tomorrow morning and say that you believe there has been some confusion as your ast is a fixed term until next Summer and you can't see any reference to a break clause in your contract, so unless they can provide evidence to the contrary, you will ignore the S21 and take action to change the locks in case they intend to do viewings without your agreement.
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 7th Feb 18, 6:32 PM
    • 1,207 Posts
    • 816 Thanks
    m0bov
    Was your deposit protected? If it makes you feel better, I'd WRITE to the landlord pointing out you have a contract till Sept 2019 and you have no intention of leaving before that.
    • LocoLoco
    • By LocoLoco 7th Feb 18, 7:17 PM
    • 175 Posts
    • 230 Thanks
    LocoLoco
    Thanks for all your very helpful replies.

    There is definitely no break clause after 6 months in the Contract.

    The property has not yet been sold as the Agent said he has to serve me with the the S21 for me to vacate the property. Then he will put a 'for sale' board up.

    Based on the information on this thread, I will change the locks and not leave until a Court orders my eviction.

    Thanks everyone.
    Originally posted by JackJones456
    I do feel for you; we've been homeless twice and I have a disabled child and the worry and stress is just horrendous. The advice you've had here is good and I would say keep checking and rechecking everything you're told and write everything down as well. Personally I wouldn't say much now to the agent or the landlady; it sounds as if they're getting things wrong and quite honestly the longer they get it wrong the longer you'll have where you are at the moment so I'd be inclined to sit tight and don't give them a heads up on what you're doing. Just keep taking appropriate advice and respond when necessary. And don't mention changing the locks, either, just do it and keep it to yourself. I hope things get sorted for you fairly soon
    • theartfullodger
    • By theartfullodger 7th Feb 18, 7:36 PM
    • 9,337 Posts
    • 12,416 Thanks
    theartfullodger
    The landlord can (may, legally entitled to) sell the place any time they like: They do not need your permission.

    However selling the place does not end your tenancy nor require you to leave: Even if the new owner is outside with a huge removals van, 3 bonkers kids & a screaming hubbie.

    Sit tight, do nothing, take it easy, you are safe till at least Sept 2018. Even then likely eviction timescales are 40+ weeks -- see
    https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/forum/residential-letting-questions/77351-time-to-repossess-statistics

    However, problem is, thanks to Thatcher's 1988 Housing Act a landlord CAN (may, legally able to) evict you for no reason at all after serving valid section 21 notice. Even the "perfect" tenant who pays in full, on time,looks after the place, gets on with neighbours & landlord: Can be evicted, no reason needed. fyi Scotland has abolished this sort of eviction.

    Best wishes, hope the next tenancy is better.
    Last edited by theartfullodger; 07-02-2018 at 7:38 PM.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 7th Feb 18, 9:26 PM
    • 5,127 Posts
    • 7,194 Thanks
    deannatrois
    The LL can not even start possession proceedings until your term is up. This is the day before whatever date you moved in in September 2018.

    The Lettings Agency is wrong. Ask them to write this instruction to you and explain how eviction can occur with a TA up until September 2018. I doubt they will if they know anything about the law. This will reduce the hassle a little bit.

    I went through exactly the same process and was topping up rent by exactly the same amount, with two children with diagnosed ASD, in receipt of DLA. Was extremely depressing to spend money that was supposed to help with their challenges on rent top up but there was no choice. I suppose the cynics among us will say it entitled them to a place to live in.

    OK, the council. I found the council did everything possible to make the process as stressful as they could, including inferring initially they didn't have to rehouse me (when they did). Caused some weeks of stress til I found confirmation that what they said wasn't true at all. Its called Gatekeeping. This is when the council says things/infer there is doubt to their duty to help you when actually there is none (sometimes there is, but not as you have presented the situation). They do this to make people give up any hope of having help and find another way to be housed, like sleeping on a friend's/relatives floor. This reduces their housing list. They aren't supposed to do it, but they definitely do.

    Your kids will not be taken into care unless there is some other cause for concern. If they did this the social care system would be even more overwhelmed than it is. You probably don't need to be placed in a hostel. I was threatened with single room housing for the family, until I made a case with supporting letters from doctors and a social worker that such housing would be totally unsuitable and present dangers to my children with ASD (like them not being aware of boundaries so could be at risk from other inhabitants of the building, needing access to own cooking facilities etc etc). BUT the evidence had to be from professionals, not you. So start sounding out any professionals involved in the care of your children (and your mother, if there aren't any start getting your mum assessed, get yourself a carers assesment as well - see your councils website for how to do this) and see if they will help. You have a bit of time yet so can build up some evidence hopefully. i was given a maisonette because I had shown with medical evidence that a single room lettings would put my children in danger of harm. There was no threat ever of them being taken into care. Policies in councils differ but try to push for not being placed in single room accommodation (like a hostel).

    I don't know if you are aware but to evict you, your LL/LA will need to issue a S21 that can't end before September 2018, then go to court for a Possession Order, wait for at least two weeks (minimum time the court will put on a possession order) then wait for a bailiffs warrant. I am afraid you will find the judge will also put on the order that you will have to repay the LL (in my case) within 30 days.., but he pays the fees initially which are around £500. I paid the fees from my deposit. As some areas have extended waiting times for court dates, this will delay the process further. You could still be in that house at Xmas (but no guarantee, court waiting times in my area only added another month to the process).

    The council are able to say that if you leave the property before the bailiffs call at the house to evict you, you will make yourself voluntarily homeless. They aren't supposed to (they are supposed to find you somewhere to live before this point) but many councils do operate in this way. I wasn't given keys until the afternoon of the day the bailiffs came round.

    So its not a pleasant process, but you do have some things you can do to protect yourself.

    Also phone Shelter. They might help. I personally didn't find them a lot of help because they only would help if the S21 was invalid, but there is lots of information on their site about eviction.

    I hope this helps. If you need advice later on in the process, PM me. I will do what I can.

    BTW It was stressful but I am now in permanent accommodation, in a maisonette (I am 12 miles from London so there are houses but very glad to be in a maisonette rather than a flat lol). The estate is not one of the best but a quiet paradise compared to the temporary accommodation estate. The temporary place was awful (sink estate) but it was a roof over our heads and there was no iffy Private LL to deal with lol). I also wasn't having to pay £150 top up (just £60 a month extra on council tax and rent which was nothing by comparison). I was in temporary accommodation for 18 months. This will obviously vary according to council. Some councils will place you in another private rental and say that relieves them of any further obligation because you aren't homeless anymore. Unfortunately this is when you will need evidence to show you need to stay in the area because your children are provided services in that area that will take time to set up in other areas (Like social work help/hospital appts etc). I was even able to keep my children in the same schools.

    I am afraid as you won't know until the last days of the process or even the last day what you will be placed in, try and find storage for your furniture and places for any pets. You may not be able to put them in whatever is offered to you. You have months to go yet, but clear the house of stuff you don't need on an ongoing basis. Don't leave it til the last minute. I put a lot of stuff into charity shops but you might be able to sell some things.

    I asked my council what they did with homeless families right from the start so i knew what to worry about. At the time they didn't place families in private rental properties in cheaper areas of the country, but they are starting to now. Also look online for your council's housing policy. This will give you some information on what to expect and what boxes you have to tick to get any extra help. Your council may give help for the first months deposit and rent to help you find alternative private rental properties, but only to the value of LHA in most areas (in my area actual private rental rates are double that even for the most basic properties so their offering of this help always made me hurt more). However, you may be better off finding a private rental in a cheaper area of your choice, if the council does place people in out of area private rentals, so keep an open mind. Councils just don't care what happens to kids who are moving every time a TA ends because the LL wants to sell. its bad but nothing you can do.

    But as I have said, inspite of all this, we did find permanent housing we will be able to live in for some time.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 07-02-2018 at 9:53 PM.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 7th Feb 18, 9:43 PM
    • 43,214 Posts
    • 50,792 Thanks
    G_M
    There seems to be a misunderstanding by either you, or the agent/LL, about the contract.

    You say it is 12 months from sept 2017.
    The agent says it is 6 months.

    So check (then check again) - who is right?

    Please quote here for us the exact wording on your contract, with dates, about the length of the agreement.

    Then read it again, from start to finish, looking for a Break Clause.

    If you are right, you are secure till Sept 2018 t the earliest. If the agent is right.....
    Last edited by G_M; 08-02-2018 at 10:02 AM.
    • JackJones456
    • By JackJones456 8th Feb 18, 3:36 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    JackJones456
    Hello Everyone and many thanks for all the valuable advice you have given to me, it has made me feel so much better.

    My AST is definitely a 12 month contract with no break clauses. The tenancy started late September 2017.

    The Agent called me to say that the Landlady wanted to sell the property and that he would be shortly issuing me with a S21 and that I must vacate within 8 weeks of the date on the notice. I was shocked as I don't know the law. The Agent said that the AST contracts are not worth the paper they are written on.

    Now I know better. I will get the locks changed, I have advised the local Council and they said they will peruse the S21 when I receive it and will challenge the Agent about it.

    By the time I receive the S21 in the next few days, add on 8 weeks = 6 months and the Agent said I will have to vacate, but the AST is defnitely 12 months upto end September 2018 with no breakage clause.

    Thanks everyone
    • scriv
    • By scriv 8th Feb 18, 3:58 PM
    • 84 Posts
    • 64 Thanks
    scriv
    Re-iterating what everyone has said above, as long as there is def no break clause, you are protected by your twelve month AST.

    The owner will have to sell the flat subject to your tenancy. The new owner then has to take you on and if required, give you the necessary notice to leave at the end of your tenancy.

    Make sure everything is put in writing. And as for ASTs not being worth the paper they are written on - Rubbish!
    • G_M
    • By G_M 8th Feb 18, 4:03 PM
    • 43,214 Posts
    • 50,792 Thanks
    G_M

    My AST is definitely a 12 month contract with no break clauses. The tenancy started late September 2017.
    Originally posted by JackJones456
    Please quote here for us the exact wording on your contract, with dates, about the length of the agreement.
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