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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have a flat that I let out. A new tenant moved in six weeks

Resolved Question:

I have a flat that I let out. A new tenant moved in six weeks ago. We agreed that as she could not afford the full deposit, that it would be split into two payments - one up front and the balance when the first month rent was due. When she moved in - she advised that as English was not her first language that she was having problems with the tenancy agreement. I let her a stamped addressed envelope to return it, but despite multiple contact attempts, I have not received a signed tenancy agreement. She has now defaulted on the rent and is attempting to claim housing benefit which I understand may take some time. I am not averse to a DSS tenance, I just want to understand my legal position as there is no tenancy agreement in place?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 4 years ago.

Josh-2010 :

Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied

Josh-2010 :

To be clear please you only hold half the agreed deposit and allowed her into occupation before she signed the tenancy agreement. Is this correct please?

Josh-2010 :

Has she paid any rent payments whatsoever to date?

Customer:

She's paid £450 rent for the first month and £170 of the £450 deposit. Without a tenancy agreement, am I able to evict her without two months notice? Or am I still obliged to meet this requirement?

Josh-2010 :

Thanks. Is the rent £450 month?

Customer:

Yes

Josh-2010 :

Thanks. On the basis you reached and agreement regarding the tenancy terms and reduced that agreement into writing and she has paid rent under that agreement then there is a strong implication that she has accepted the terms of that agreement despite not signing it. In any event even if she were able to prove that she did not accept the terms of that agreement a 6 month assured shorthold tenancy would be deemed to exist by virtue of the Housing Act.

Customer:

Ok - is there anything that I can do, or do I need to pursue this via debt collection?

Josh-2010 :

Evicting her however is not entirely straightforward. She obviously owes you rent as agreed and in this respect you have a relatively straightforward financial claim. However from what you say she is unlikely to have much money.

Customer:

Recommendations?

Josh-2010 :

She has security of tenure for the 6 month period. You can acquire possession at the end of that period by serving a s21 notice on her now. However evicting her earlier that that requires grounds for eviction. Most of the grounds give the court discretion as to whether to evict her. There are only a certain number of compulsory grounds for eviction.

Josh-2010 :

To evict her earlier than 6 months you will need to serve notice under s8 on the basis that she is in breach of the tenancy agreement. Once she is in 8 weeks arrears or more you ave a compulsory ground for eviction. Until then the ground is discretionary and courts are reluctant to evict tenants without giving them a second chance often. To evict on the basis of 8 weeks arrears or more you need give two weeks notice and can then issue proceedings to evict her.

Customer:

How do I raise an S8?

Josh-2010 :

The tenant can further frustrate the process and the length of time it will take for the matter to be decided if she alleges disrepair issues as these can be deducted fro the rent she owes for calculating the 8 week arrears process. It can be frustrating for a landlord particularly if she can retain a solicitor on legal aid who knows how to best exploit the system.

Customer:

The flat has just been fully refurbished - however, she has caused damage to the lock on the internal door - does that help?

Josh-2010 :

You can create a s8 notice and s21 notice here. You can issue both notices but can only issue proceedings under one or the other not both.

Josh-2010 :

http://www.lawdepot.co.uk/contracts/eviction-notice-forms/

Josh-2010 :

You can find the full set of grounds you can use in a s8 notice here:

Josh-2010 :

http://www.yourinsurance.co.uk/blog/landlords/guest-grounds-for-eviction.aspx

Josh-2010 :

Consider that you cannot issue a notice for eviction unless you have proteted her deposit in a protection fund. If you have not done so do so immediately as you can be sued for compensation if you have not done so.

Josh-2010 :

That the flat has been fully refurbished will make it more difficult for her to claim disrepair. If she has damaged the lock providing you have a proper inventory you should be able to make a claim for this damage against her deposit.

Customer:

I haven't done that - what do I need to do?

Josh-2010 :

There are several protection funds available... just a moment...

Josh-2010 :

https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview

Josh-2010 :

Most landlords prefer the custodial scheme because it doesn't cost anything. Do get it done or the tenant can claim compensation. You only have 30 days to do it so technically you may already be too late but the earlier you do it the more limited compensation would likely be if you at least do it quickly thereafter were she to try to hit you for compensation.

Josh-2010 :

Is there anything else I can help you with?

Customer:

Thanks - very helpful. Is this full conversation stored to my account so that I can come back to it?

Josh-2010 :

Absolutely. I you need further assistance please do not hesitate to revert to me.

Customer:

Great - much appreciated.

Josh-2010 :

A pleasure.

Josh-2010 :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me.

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