PDA

View Full Version : Landlord lost tenancy agreement, tenant in rent arrears, tenant saying no agreement



rachelpeacock
03-10-2011, 10:06 AM
Anyone got any advice?

LL did tenancy agreement himself using Assured Shorthold Pack. It commenced in April 2007 for one year. Now periodic tenancy.

Tenant in rent arrears since June 2010.

LL wants to claim rent arrears and evict tenant. He can find all of the pack of documents except his copy of the tenancy agreement.

Tenant is now saying that she denies he ever gave her a formal agreement although she did pay rent from April 2007 to June 2010 and is still in the property.

LL has served s.21 notice based on tenancy having commenced on 1 April but if tenant does not leave he has no documents for a court application. Should he also do a s.8 notice?

Advice please?!

Snorkerz
03-10-2011, 10:13 AM
Don't panic.

You can still evict under section 21 even without the agreement - you just won't be able to use the accelerated procedure.

Section 21 will not get you a court order for the arrears.

Before June 2010 did the tenant pay well - ie do you have proof of a regular amount of rent being paid (so you can establish the rent amount)?

Can you answer...

Did the tenancy definitely begin on 1/4/07?
Is rent paid monthly?
How much is the monthly rent?
How much is currently unpaid?
Is the tenant on Housing Benefit?
Did the tenant pay a Deposit / is it protected?
When did you serve the s21? Do you have proof?
What was the expiry date of the s21 - exact wording.

rachelpeacock
03-10-2011, 10:20 AM
Before June 2010 did the tenant pay well - ie do you have proof of a regular amount of rent being paid (so you can establish the rent amount)?

- Tenant paid twice a month into Landlord's bank account.

Can you answer...

Did the tenancy definitely begin on 1/4/07?
- LL is fairly sure this is the case.
Is rent paid monthly?
- It is supposed to be; LL was accepting twice monthly payments.
How much is the monthly rent?
- £450, arrears now stand at £3000 ish
How much is currently unpaid?
Is the tenant on Housing Benefit?
- unclear. deposit paid by Council
Did the tenant pay a Deposit / is it protected?
- Deposit received 16 March 2007 so not protected.
When did you serve the s21? Do you have proof?
- posted through letter box over weekend, to be served today. wording states that it expires after 31 December. this should have been witnessed.
What was the expiry date of the s21 - exact wording.
- "after 31 December 2011" [LL then revealed this morning he'd changed wording to say after 1 January 2012. Advised that was inaccurate and he'd have to serve another one stating after 31 Dec 2011.

Snorkerz
03-10-2011, 10:37 AM
I presume you're an agent?

Fairly sure will not wash with the courts if the tenant disputes the date - a perfect way to sink the s21.

There is no actual need to put a date on the s21 - if the following wording is used "TAKE NOTICE that possession is required, by virtue of section 21(4) of the Housing Act 1988, of the dwellinghouse known as .............. at the end of the period of your tenancy which will end after the expiry of two months from the service upon you of this notice". (Lower Street Properties Ltd v Jones [1996] 2 EGLR 67, CA)

This would have the added advantage that the tenancy period (which it looks as if it would be difficult to prove) is also not relevant. The only - although I'll admit it is quite major - downside is that in order to ensure the correct date is passed before commencing court action, the landlord would have to wait 3 months from the date of service.

You seem to appreciate that the s21 needs proof of service - make sure the landlord knows that too.

Section 8 (grounds 8, 10 & 11) may be a better bet. As your s21 will need a court hearing it has no time advantage, and s8 needs only 2 weeks notice on these grounds. If done online, it is cheaper than s21 and (as you know) can come with a court order for the missing rent. Section 8 IS defeatable by the tenant, and the query over tenancy periods may be relevant, so I would serve a section 21 to run parallel.

As we have no proof of tenancy commencement date the tenant may claim the tenancy began 1 week later - and if a judge believed her then the s21 would be sunk due to no deposit protection. I would protect the deposit for free and serve the schemes 'prescribed information' (with proof of service) before serving the s21. Protect for free at www.depositprotection.com (http://www.depositprotection.com)

Landlord should ask Housing Benefit office to pay LHA direct.

Section 21: http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index/ast_tenants_not_in_breach_of_contract/0-37
Section 8: http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index/ast_tenants_in_breach_of_contract/0-36