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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25424
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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my landlord came on Saturday and started banging like a bailiff

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my landlord came on Saturday and started banging like a bailiff and threatening me. I am a solicitor and my rent etc is up to date. But there have been problems from the inception of the tenancy because upstairs, her tenants have been causing noise and anti social behaviour which in the end I had to take to the local authority. It has been revealed that the lady tenant is stating that she is single parent but her boyfriend I am told by the council is not meant to be living there and is registered at another address possibly claiming benefit elsewhere. He is at home all day and has made harassing me his project since I have made complaints. I work from home and it has been hell, I have had no quiet enjoyment from the start. Landlord knows this and knows that what upstairs are doing is unlawful and possible fraud. The landlord came over the week end with her own boyfriend on the pretence of doing repairs but instead verbally attacked me and had to be pushed away by her boyfriend making futile allegation and telling me that I should mind my own business. It was out of the blues and a shock and had made me frightened all week end and on edge in case she might come back and do it again. She lives in Manchester. Do I have any rights against an aggressive, threatening and underhand landlord. Whilst she was here she was loudly coaching them how to protect themselves from being caught - telling them that she has got their back. I live in Hampstead and felt humiliated in front of my neighbours in the way that she yelled and screamed and then having seen me visibly shocked and intimidated, she came back for me again 20 mins later. I did not let her in but opened the window and told her that she did not have permission to come to my property whilst I was in occupation. But trying to assert my legal rights did not prevent me from being frightened all week end. She has given me an ultimatum that either I shut up and mind my own business or she will evict me. I believe I must have a right not to be harassed or intimated by her in this manner but I do not know this area of the law. Can you help?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Jo C. :

Hi. Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo I look forward to the answer.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Just to let you know, I've passed this onto somebody else who will probably be better able to help as my internet keeps cutting out.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

ok

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

May I assist you with the above?

  1. could you tell me if your landlord also owns the upstairs flat as well please?
  2. at this stage, do you prefer to leave or remain?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it is a large property converted into 2 flats. We occupy downstairs and she has tenants upstairs. she finished converting upstairs as we moved in and put a kitchen above my bedroom. No sound proofing was put in but I have been told by the Council that it falls outside the regulations since the actual split up was done before the regulations came in.


 


The first option would be to remain although her behaviour has been despicable. she also said that she will evict me because I do not know how to shut up and mind my own business about upstairs noise nuisance, anti social behaviour and the fact that he is not suppose to be living there under HB requirements. I don't believe that this option will be available since she has threatened to serve me with notice saying that she will move in herself to get rid of me. Which I know is rubbish but she will use it as a ground for eviction. But I want to withhold rent if possible since it could give me some form of leverage.


 


If she goes ahead with the threat and evicts me I would like to get compensation for lack of quiet enjoyment and withhold rent until the matter is resolved. She is probably waiting for this months rent which is due in a few days before she issues me with the notice.


 


Is it possible to get an injunction against her since I was visibly shaken by what she did and it seemed to make her feel powerful to want to come back again for another session of banging the door and screaming abuse. She is from up North and may repeat this again this week end. It was a scare tactic and I know legislation is supposed to protect from heavies threatening tenants. But does the law protect in practice if a landlord is determined to behave in this manner.


 


I look forward to your reply.


 


Thanks

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Thanks. Has your initial fixed tenancy period expired?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it has.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry, it expired on May 2013 and is now on monthly periodic with 2 months from the landlord end.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
thank you. Accordingly, as you will know, the starting point is that the landlord can serve you with a section 21(4)(a) notice to evict you under the provisions of the Housing act on the basis this is a short hold assured tenancy agreement because the landlord has an absolute right to obtain possession after the expiry of a fixed term of tenancy.

The requirements for such a notice that the landlord gives you two clear month's notice and the notice can only expire the day before rent is payable under the tenancy.

any attempt to evict you without providing you with a section 21 notice which is valid in the above context or alternatively a section 8 notice if the landlord can demonstrate that you have breached the tenancy which from what you say is not the case, will be unlawful and a criminal offence under the protection against eviction act for which you can claim damages and seek prosecution.

The landlords behaviour would appear to be contrary to the Prevention from harassment act and again can constitute both a criminal offence and a basis for a claim of civil damages. The local authority's housing officer can assist with the prosecution if there is evidence of harassment and in extreme cases, the police can be involved.

It may be worth confirming that your deposit assuming you have paid one, is protected in an approved deposit scheme by the landlord. If the landlord failed to protect your deposit within 30 days of receipt, then you have a claim for the return of the deposit as well as up to 3 times the amount of the deposit in compensation. The regulations were toughened up by the localism act last year and now significant penalties to landlord that fails to protect the deposit whereby court must order the return of the deposit and at least one times the amount in compensation but can award up to 3 times the amount where it finds fault on the part of the landlord. In addition, the landlord cannot serve a valid eviction notice as above until the deposit dispute is resolved if he has failed to protect the deposit.

In respect of the upstairs tenant, it is not possible to make a claim in respect of day-to-day activities which happened to be causing nuisance because of inadequate soundproofing however, the landlord can be vicariously liable for his upstairs tenant's actions on the basis that is causing nuisance beyond ordinary day-to-day events. Ideally you will keep a diary of events so that you can demonstrate nuisance and harassment but you have a basis in principle to make a claim against the landlord in respect of his tenants behaviour

on the basis the landlord can in due course likely serve a valid eviction notice, it may be sensible to consider beginning to look around from tentative accommodation given the issues you are suffering however in the meantime, you may wish to consider writing to the landlord setting out a full set of your complaints referring to some or all of the above legislation and preserving your position entirely in respect of civil claims against her and where appropriate criminal offences having been committed setting out your proposal for settlement.

From there, should you wish to, you can issue proceedings in the County court using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk for a claim in respect of any failure to protect deposit if applicable, harassment you have suffered from the landlord, and nuisance that you have suffered from the upstairs tenant there in the case of the latter two points, you would need evidence to support any such claim. you can also ask the local authority's housing officer to assist you in respect of the landlords breaches of legislation.

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can I withhold rent due to the problems and can I obtain an injunction against her to prevent her from intimidating me.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
withholding of rent is a basis for which the landlord can subsequently served a notice under section 8 for eviction although in practice it makes for differences the landlord can serve notice under section 21 as we discussed above in any event..

Withholding rent unilaterally without a court order is not looked upon favourably by the courts though in practice there is a limited way in which this is likely to disadvantage your position legally at this stage. do consider that it makes pays you have two County Court claim together with the relatively low court costs and statutory interest that the landlord could claim

Is there anything else I can help you with?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Joshua


 


Thank you for your reply and it confirmed what I thought but it was very helpful. Please can you let me know, in the worst case scenario if I withhold rent can there be accelerated proceedings against me ie can the 2 month notice period be reduced.


 


Thanks.


 


 

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
I'm glad it was of assistance. no possession for rent arrears would be under s8 which is not suitable for accelerated possession proceedings. only s21 with two months notice can be pursued under accelerated possession .

is there anything else I can help you with?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. If section 21 is pursued. what is the impact of accelerated proceeding?

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
If s21 is served then subject to landlord giving the correct form of 2 month notice as above then landlord can pursue accelerated possession. if the notice is valid there is no defence to a s21 possession claim. It will take the landlord between 3-6 weeks usually to obtain a possession order depending upon court workload and from there they would need to seek a warrant if you continued to refuse to leave. There is no impact beyond that she can seek to claim court fees in addition to any rent owed though would need to sue separately for this which you could seek to defend in part at least to account for loss of amenity as a result of the behaviour you have expeirenced.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25424
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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