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Ask LondonlawyerJ Your Own Question
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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We have rented a property for 36 years, our landlady die in

Customer Question

We have rented a property for 36 years, our landlady die in July 2013. House left to nephew. It was her wish which she had communicated to us for us to remain in the property as tenants for as long as we wanted, nephew had also written to confirm that he was in agreement with his. In August 2013 he visited us at the property during which time he again advised verbally that he was happy for us to remain as tenants, he followed this up with an email confirming he was happy for us to remain as tenants. However out of the blue in October 2013 we received a solicitors letter given us notice that he would be renewing the Lease in May 2014, this in spite of the fact the house was actually in probate at that time and he wasn't the official owner.
Our question is, with the documentary evidence we have to this effect could be we "sue" him in court for breaking his agreement to remain as tenants, and for the emotional stress and expense we are now incurring?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 4 years ago.

LondonlawyerJ :

Hello. I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

LondonlawyerJ :

Can you just clarify a few things please. Do you have a written tenancy agreement? I think that there may be an error in your question, is the nephew demanding that you leave in May? Did your bold landlady put hervwish for you to stay in writing?

JACUSTOMER-c63mxtyn- :


JACUSTOMER-c63mxtyn- :

Yes there is an error in my question. We do have a lease which he inherited with the house and there is a lot of emails and letters stating he agrees for us to remain as his tenants. However he has been so difficult and unpleasant to deal with we have decided enough is enough and not wanting the cost or stress of a long winded Court battle to seek our rights as protected tenants, we have decided to move out and will be doing so in due course.

JACUSTOMER-c63mxtyn- :

Further, my question is simply this. Can we sue him for the cost of our move.focusing in on his breach of an agreement.for us to stay.?

LondonlawyerJ :

Ok thankyou for that I will reply later today.

LondonlawyerJ :

You anticipated where I was going with protected tenancies. My answer assumes that you are correct that you are a Rent Act protected tenant. As you will be aware protected tenants have a great deal of security of tenure and generally a landlord cannot gain possession of premises unless you are in breach of a term of the tenancy and it is reasonable in all the circumstances for a possession order to be made.

You may have a below market rent and there are restrictions on increases to this as well.

Your situation is that the nephew who has succeeded to the ownership of your property has been difficult and unpleasant to deal with. You have therefore decided to leave your flat.

As a first point in the absence of serious breach of a term of the tenancy I don’t think the proceedings would be difficult or protracted at all. You do not have to seek out your rights you have them. You would win easily and quickly and I doubt the landlord would even start proceedings. The letter from the solicitor may be an attempt to intimidate you. There are also prohibitions and protections for tenants who are the victims of harassment.

You are therefore legally secure in your home and have a very defendable position. Depending on means you might be entitled to legal aid. If you are successful you would get your costs back.

However if you simply abandon your tenancy I don’t think you will be able to claim any damages against the new landlord. Unless the conduct of the new landlord is so outrageous that you have had to flee then I don’t think you can claim.

You have the right to remain in your home and if you leave then it is likely that a court will think you have brought the costs of doing so on yourself.

However, if you want to leave then you can always negotiate. The property will be worth a great deal more without a protected tenant in occupation. You may be able to find out what the difference in value is by asking local estate agents or researching online. That difference in value could be the starting point for negotiations where you seek a payoff from the landlord to leave.

I do not have any knowledge of your general situation but if you are in receipt of means tested benefits or tax credits receiving a lump sum may have an effect in reducing them or removing your entitlement to them entirely.

I hope this has answered your question but please do not hesitate to ask further questions. I would also be grateful if you would please take the time to rate my service.

LondonlawyerJ :

Hello again. I note that you have not responded to the answer I gave you nor have you rated the service I provided please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this and also I would be grateful if you would please rate my service.