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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 823
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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My landlord has died & his wife has given us the choice of

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My landlord has died & his wife has given us the choice of buy the property (which we cannot afford)or move out by the New Year. We have been excellent tenants for 20 years. What do we do?
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.
In order to answer this I need to know what type of tenancy you have.
Most tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy if they rent from a private landlord.
But if you moved in between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 your landlord had to give you a notice before your tenancy started saying you have an assured shorthold tenancy.
You probably have a regulated tenancy if your private tenancy started before 15 January 1989.
Do you know the year when you moved in? Do you have a written agreement and if your tenancy started between 15.01.89 & 27.02.97 were you served the notice?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We moved in on May 1995. We signed tenancy agreement to say we had 6 months tenancy to start with, but I don't recollect getting anything else. It was word of mouth really with the landlord, basically we could have the property for long term let if we got along with each other! He was quite a character, to say the least, but had a portfolio of other properties too!
OK that means you moved into the property during the period when in order for a tenancy to be an assured shorthold tenancy (as opposed to an assured tenancy) the landlord needed to serve a notice before the tenancy commenced. If one was not served then you will be an assured tenant with a good deal of security of tenure. This is true even if your tenancy states that you have an assured shorthold tenancy
If you are an assured tenant your landlady can only get the property back if you are in arrears of rent or have engaged in some sort of misconduct.
If you are an assured shorthold tenant then your landlady can get you out by giving 2 month's notice if the period of your tenancy has expired.
It may be that the way forward for you is to write to your landlord saying that you believe you are assured tenants because no notice was served and that therefore she has no right to take the place back except in particular circumstances, none of which are present as far as you are aware.
Set out below is a summary of the grounds on which an assured tenancy can be brought to an end.
Reasons for eviction of assured tenants
The reasons (or 'grounds') that landlords can use to evict assured tenants are in two groups. These are 'mandatory grounds' and 'discretionary grounds'.
Mandatory grounds
If your landlord is using a mandatory ground the court has no choice but to make a possession order if it is satisfied that the ground exists.
Examples of mandatory grounds include:
more than eight weeks rent arrears owing, or two months if you pay your rent monthly, at the time the notice was served and at the date of the court hearing
repossession by your landlord's mortgage lender (if prior notice of the possibility of this was given)
redevelopment of the property
antisocial behaviour, if the tenant (or a member of her/his household, or even a visitor in some cases) has already been convicted of antisocial behaviour in the courts
Discretionary grounds
If your landlord is using a discretionary ground for possession the court only makes a possession order if the ground is proven and it is reasonable to do so.
Examples of discretionary grounds include:
some rent arrears
persistent late payment of rent
breach of tenancy agreement
antisocial behaviour
damage to the property
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