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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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On 23/3/16 my landlord sent me a section 21 notice terminating

Customer Question

On 23/3/16 my landlord sent me a section 21 notice terminating my statutory periodic
tenancy with the minimum 2 months notice. His reasons for wanting me to leave are so
that he can renovate the property and re-let it at a higher rent to a new tenant.
As I have been happy at the property for 3 years and good rentals are hard to come by
in my area, I made an offer, in writing, to move out temporarily for this work to be
done, with a view to beginning a new tenancy agreement thereafter at the higher rent.
The landlord replied by letter, turning down my offer and stating that he still wants
me to leave on, or before, 23/5.
I therefore made plans to leave before 23/5 and sent him another letter on 7/4
notifying him that I would be moving out on 15/4 and asking for half of the monthly
rent, which had been paid in advance via standing order, to be repaid for the period
16/4-30/4.
My landlord lives next door and so on 8/4, the day after he received this letter, I
spoke to him in person and asked whether this was acceptable to him. He replied that
this was acceptable and we had a verbal agreement that I would leave on 15/4 and
receive a refund for the overpaid rent.
On 12/4 I had not received any payment to my bank account and so I spoke to the
landlord again in person. Without his knowledge, I recorded this conversation in full,
using my mobile phone. Our voices are clearly audible and identifiable on this
recording. I referred to our verbal agreement regarding vacating the property on 15/4,
the refund of the overpaid rent and that I would not be held liable for any rent after
15/4. I was very clear on all of these points and asked whether he still intended to
honour our agreement. In response I was told that yes, we still had an agreement, and
that I would receive the refund on 15/4, the day that I vacate the property.
However, later that same day the landlord put a letter through my door, advising me
that I needed to give at least one month's notice and that he expected full payment of
the rent until the end of the notice period.
I feel that morally, at least, he is on shaky ground, evicting me so that he can
renovate the place and charge a higher rent, but forcing me to pay for the full notice
period, particularly when it would benefit both of us in terms of being able to
progress with our plans, if I leave early.
I would like your advice as to where I stand legally on these points:
1. Do I have grounds for expecting him to honour our agreement on the early
termination of the tenancy and repayment of rent, given that he asked me to leave, in
writing, on or before the end of the notice period, and given that we have a verbal
agreement, which is recorded?
2. Is the recorded conversation where we discuss the agreement legally binding in
any way?
3. Should I still move out on 15/4 as planned and continue to negotiate with the
landlord on the point of when the tenancy ends and what are our individual obligations
in this regard? Or should I remain in occupation of the property for the time being
while trying to negotiate.
4. Do I even have grounds for continued negotiation?
5. What are my other options?
Any legal advice on this would be gratefully received.
Thanks,
Mike
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello Mike my name is ***** ***** I will help you. What does the tenancy agreement say about notice please? Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex.To answer your question:Section 9 of the agreement "Notice of Termination by Tenant" says: "(a) The Tenant may terminate this Agreement by giving to the Landlord or the Landlord's Agent one calendar month's notice in writing (not necessarily to the end of a calendar month) effective not sooner than the end of the Term of this tenancy without prejudice to the rights or remedies of either party against the other in respect of any antecedent claim or breach of covenant The Tenant is not at liberty to leave at the end of the Term if such notice has not been served and if they do so then rent will be charged in lieu of notice. (b) In the event of the tenancy not being terminated as in clauses 9(a) or 10 the tenancy will continue after the end of the Term becoming a statutory periodic tenancy on the same terms and conditions". As the six month assured shorthold period expired on 25/10/13 this clause has applied to my tenancy since that date.Section 10(1) of the agreement "Termination of Tenancy" says: "The Landlord or the Landlord's Agent may terminate this tenancy at or after the end of the Term by giving to the Tenant two calendar month's notice in writing (not necessarily to the end of a calendar month) in accordance with Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 without prejudice to the rights or remedies of either party against the other in respect of any antecedent claim or breach of covenant"There are also additional paragraphs to section 10, starting with "BUT ALSO", which speak about unpaid rent, being in breach of the agreement, death, bankruptcy, damage by fire or otherwise. However none of these following paragraphs apply to my own situation.Do you need any more information?Thanks,
Mike
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
1. Yes the verbal agreement to leave early is BINDING2. Yes it is, it can be used as evidence in Court3. Yes move out, because that is what was AGREED4. You dont need to negotiate, but I would as a matter of goodwill5. If the Landlord does not know where you are moving to then he can not pursue you for any 'unpaid rent' during that period.But the agreement to move out is binding in law.Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Alex. Your advice has been helpful.
Mike
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Alex,The landlord has also told me that he intends to make a claim against the security deposit for moth damage to the bedroom and ensuite bathroom carpets in the property. He is also trying to hold me responsible for the cost of fumigation once I have moved out.I know that there was an infestation already present when I moved into the property, because I was seeing the moths from the first week of occupation, although early on I did not realise that they were in fact carpet moths, as I had no experience with any type of insect infestation.He has admitted that there was an infestation in the property prior to my tenancy. He has also confirmed that the hall and living room carpets were replaced due to moth damage before my tenancy began, and that he also had the property fumigated before I moved in. I have these admissions recorded on my mobile phone.There is plenty of evidence available on the Web that records just how difficult it is to eradicate an infestation of carpet moths. Often several fumigation treatments are needed and a very strict end extensive cleaning regime is required - far beyond what would normally be carried out as part of normal household cleaning.However my landlord did not make me aware of the moth issue before or after I moved in, so I was not forewarned with knowledge that might have helped me to spot and control the infestation before further carpet damage became extensive.On the matter of infestations my contract states: "To pay and arrange for the removal of all vermin pests and insects if infestation begins during the term (woodworm and wood boring insects excepted) unless such infestation occurs as a failure of the Landlord to fulfil his repairing obligations"I suspect that the landlord does not have a case for making deductions from the deposit for moth damage. An infestation was present before I moved into the property and I have a recorded conversation between us where he admits to this.Furthermore, when I moved in I was not given an inventory of the contents of the property, or the condition of those contents. Therefore I think it could be difficult for him to substantiate any claim against me for damage that might have occurred during my tenancy. Yesterday, when I queried the landlord on the absence of an inventory, he replied saying "I did not think that I needed one". I have also captured this admission in a recording taken on my mobile phone.In your opinion do you think the landlord has a case against me for any liability in relation to the carpet damage and fumigation that will be required after I move out? Or for any other damage caused; e.g. a stain on the carpet?The deposit is lodged with mydeposits.co.uk, a government-backed scheme. In your opinion what would be best way to present my case to them to try to ensure that I have my deposit returned to me in full?Thanks,
Mike
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund of the deposit within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

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