Please help! Letting agent making threats>

I've been through a terrible 6 months health-wise and as a result have got into 7 weeks of rent arrears. I'm a longstanding tenant (coming up 5 years) of a flat rented through a buy to let landlord I've never met. I deal just with the letting agency who are not that pleasant.

These 7 week arrears happened this year. I am in a Periodic Tenancy. I am in a position to repay the arrears at the end of June. The letting agency are unwilling to accept this though and they have told me that they are going to now advise the landlord to commence proceedings to recover arrears and/or take possession of the property.

Anyone got any idea what is likely to happen? I believe that a tenancy has to have 2 months arrears for a possession order to be automatically granted. I do not have 2 months arrears and by the time any case made it to the court I would no longer have *any* arrears.

What should I do?

Would it not be in the landlord's best interests to get the arrears off me voluntarily in June when I can pay it? Would that not be quicker than going through the courts?

Should I just sit tight and carry on paying rent or should I try to move out ASAP?
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  • theartfullodgertheartfullodger Forumite
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    Sorry to read your story Beryl:

    Suggest you contact Shelter for advice (free helpline usually..) 0808 800 4444 but expect a wait with these excellent but overworked charity guys...

    Sadly a landlord does not need a reason to end a tenancy - he can use the "Section21" route.. see.
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/renting_and_leasehold/ending_a_tenancy_or_licence/ending_a_periodic_agreement

    - now you are in periodic he just needs to given at least 2 months notice, ending on end-of-period. You don;t have to leave, if you don;t he then goes to court & eventually gets bailiffs (maybe 1-3 months longer..)

    However, nothing to be lost by writing a calm, polite letter outlining the issues, that you are otherwise a "good" tenant (rent normally paid in full on time, house immaculate, no complaints from neighbours etc etc..) and stating how you will be paying the rent in full in the near future.

    Write to Landlord, copy agent, and write to Landlord's address. Not got one?? Write & ask agent, they MUST tell you..

    Have you applied for all benefits (eg Housing Benefit/LHA??) etc etc?? Might help ..

    Best of luck
  • I am a landlord and i am having a similar issue with my tenant who is actually 2 months in arrears. Ill tell you this but I prob shouldn't. they cant hand a notice for possession until you owe 2 months in arrears. When they do give you this you could not pay anything OR you can pay as little as £5 meaning that the court will throw it out and by the end of june you could catch up with your arrears. as long as you dont owe the full 2 months by the time it goes to court (and yes as little as a fiver will do it) the judge will not proceed.
    I would still try and move however once your tenancy ends as the landlord will prob not renew your tenancy and there will be bad blood.
  • I am a landlord and i am having a similar issue with my tenant who is actually 2 months in arrears. Ill tell you this but I prob shouldn't. they cant hand a notice for possession until you owe 2 months in arrears. When they do give you this you could not pay anything OR you can pay as little as £5 meaning that the court will throw it out and by the end of june you could catch up with your arrears. as long as you dont owe the full 2 months by the time it goes to court (and yes as little as a fiver will do it) the judge will not proceed.
    I would still try and move however once your tenancy ends as the landlord will prob not renew your tenancy and there will be bad blood.

    Thanks for your reply. So if I was your tenant and I had a nearly 5 year track record of paying the rent, never causing any problems to the property etc, would you just wait until June to get your arrears? End of June is only 2 months away and from what I'm reading it seems if the landlord went the court route it would take him several months to get the money that way and cost him more hassle etc.

    Also they are threatening a Section 8 for arrears NOT a Section 21. Apparently you can get a Section 8 for arrears less than 2 months but it is "discretionary" and not guaranteed to go through.

    The latest from the agent is that if they don't have the full 7 weeks arrears from by 6pm today they are "advising" the landlord to start proceedings against me.
  • £5 to an agreed charity if Section 21 does not exist (I think it should be repealed btw...)

    Beryl, they can also go S8 route with 2 months rent outstanding, but if you get that below 2 months by date of court case it should fail...

    Thanks. The arrears are less than 2 months. Since the arrears are not going to increase then can they still go the S8 route?
  • No they cant. And I have been advised on this by many people including from my ll association and a solicitor. Call there bluff tell them simply to start the proceedings as you dont have the money. I personally would hand you a section 8 for the simple reason that if you can not afford to pay the next month it would be a months delay on things and most LL do have mortgages to pay on properties they let out. Harsh but it is a business and in my case one that is costing me!
  • No they cant. And I have been advised on this by many people including from my ll association and a solicitor. Call there bluff tell them simply to start the proceedings as you dont have the money. I personally would hand you a section 8 for the simple reason that if you can not afford to pay the next month it would be a months delay on things and most LL do have mortgages to pay on properties they let out. Harsh but it is a business and in my case one that is costing me!

    but surely you couldn't hand me a section 8. After all, I do not have 2 months arrears. Can you actually send a tenant a section 8 stating two months arrears when they have not actually reached two months arrears??
  • No as I said in the other post until you owe 2 months arrears they can not do anything which is why I told you to call there bluff. They should know this as agents and chances are they are using scare tactics to try and get you to pay up. After all what do we all do when a reminder comes through our door not had one but i will assume that people panic into paying especially when its the roof over there heads.
  • No as I said in the other post until you owe 2 months arrears they can not do anything which is why I told you to call there bluff. They should know this as agents and chances are they are using scare tactics to try and get you to pay up. After all what do we all do when a reminder comes through our door not had one but i will assume that people panic into paying especially when its the roof over there heads.

    Oh right I see where you are coming from. So I will sit tight, continue paying my rent and try to calm down about it. I feel really bad to have the arrears that I have but on the bright side I am clearing them in a few weeks time plus I've been a pretty good tenant considering they've been more than happy to keep renting to me for nearly 5 years and never once has there been a complaint or problem with anything. I told my sister about the arrears and she advised me to sign up as an escort or go to a red light area. She said it's worth it to avoid losing your home. Jeez!!!!
  • Just to throw this in- they can still send you a ssction 8 notice, they just can't use ground 8, I think it is, which is the one that requires 2 months arrears. In this case, though it's still valid, the outcome is at the judge's discretion, and it could go either way.
    If it rains, it rains.
    We'll be in the street, looking thunder in the face,
    Singing la la la la la,
    I wont change
  • edited 30 April 2012 at 7:28PM
    WerdnalWerdnal Forumite
    3.8K Posts
    edited 30 April 2012 at 7:28PM
    I am a landlord and i am having a similar issue with my tenant who is actually 2 months in arrears. Ill tell you this but I prob shouldn't. they cant hand a notice for possession until you owe 2 months in arrears. When they do give you this you could not pay anything OR you can pay as little as £5 meaning that the court will throw it out and by the end of june you could catch up with your arrears. as long as you dont owe the full 2 months by the time it goes to court (and yes as little as a fiver will do it) the judge will not proceed.
    I would still try and move however once your tenancy ends as the landlord will prob not renew your tenancy and there will be bad blood.

    If you read OP's post correctly, they are already in a periodic tenancy, therefore out of their fixed term, so an S21 notice can be issued now, giving 2 months notice with no need for any reason from the LL. Also there is no tenancy to renew, so no "bad blood" between tenant and LL to worry about.

    You are correct in the statement that an S8 on grounds of rent arrears cannot be used if less than 2 months rent owing, but there are other grounds that an S8 can use.

    OP do you know your LL's address? If not, write to the agents asking for it - by law they have to give it to you within 21 days. Then write the the LL explaining the "blip" in your finances, how you are in a position to settle all your arrears in June. Hopefully a little negotiation between you and the LL might avert the notice. However, you perhaps should have addressed this in writing before you got this far in arrears, as LL may have been more sympathetic if you had explained earlier, rather than just allowing the arrears to build up this far.
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