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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71044
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My tenants have approximately 11 months minimum period left

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My tenants have approximately 11 months minimum period left to run on a 24 month minimum term AST in England.The deposit was protected within the first 30 days.They were due to pay on 1st Jan 2016 They did not pay and I’ve had no communication from them. Assuming they don’t pay by Feb 2nd 2016 I may serve them with a Section 8 notice.No complaints of any kind nor requests for repair have been received from the tenants as of 10th Jan 2016.Once they get the Section 8, I expect the following:1) They will get free legal aid2) They will make a counter claim for harassment of some kind or repairs not being carried out.Will I probably lose the case if I serve a section 8 and they then pay some arrears off so they owe less than 2 months money at the time of the hearing?If so, if I call the hearing off in advance, do I have to pay their legal costs?I’ve heard 2 different versions of a section 8 hearing. One is a casual discussion, just me, them and the judge that lasts 10 mins. The other is that they will get legal aid, their solicitor can make a counterclaim for some kind of damage to the house or harassment at the last minute and we’re off and running again with letters to and fro, 15k costs for the loser to pay and 6 months delay until the next hearing. Which scenario is correct?
Why should they make a claim for harassment?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo,I have not even been to the house in a year and have not seen them for a year. Having said that, they will lie about the most unpleasant things if they think it will help avoid paying rent. My wife (who is a primary school teacher) was accused of stealing money from them during the original eviction for example. It is for this reason I'm reticent to go anywhere near them.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, to be clear, they have not been harassed in any way. Neither is the house in a state of disrepair (unless it's got that way since they entered the house). I've read that these 2 excuses are the favourite choice for a tenant to avoid an eviction ruling when they have not paid the rent.
Well they could do that but it is not a reason not to take action. It is fair to say that harassment is a very easy allegation to make but you cannot just let them live there forever to avoid it. In fairness, sexual abuse and domestic violence are favourite allegation from women at the family court but men still have to go there. You need a resolution on this.
They won't get legal aid but there are organisations with nothing better to do with their lives than get involved with victims so they may be represented.
It is fair to say that a S8 can be avoid if they attend court and reduce the arrears to under two months but if you cite grounds 10, 11 and 8 you will still have a chance even if they do.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your reply Jo.When I go here: select: Start>Housing>Living in rented accommodation>Eviction It seems to suggest that they will get legal aid (they fit the monetary criteria)?(They got legal aid last time and the legal costs mounting up were the reason we settled and agreed to them coming back.)Sorry to question you, but my mum lost all her savings last time.
I can't imagine they will get legal aid for this. I have rarely seen it with housing cases.Even if they do though, it doesn't detract from the fact that you still have a perfectly valid case. Just because they have legal aid and representation doesn't mean they will win.if they haven't got any evidence of harassment then a Judge is not going to find they are being harassed. Judges are quite well aware that tenants do make these allegations to escape their responsibilities. Some young ladies seem to think that if they say their landlord has a sexual interest in them that means they can live there rent free forever. They are brought to their senses.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo,I’ve got some more questions and clarifications. I’m happy to open another question to cover the additional work for you. Let me know how we manage that.Is my attached Section 8 Valid if signed?Will the previous case be something that is/can be discussed in court?
Should I object to discussing it because it was settled?Assuming they don’t owe 2 months rent just before the hearing, if I call the hearing off in advance, do I have to pay their legal costs?They:
Have a dog,
They refuse to provide their employment statuses (hence stopping me getting LL insurance)
Female tenant smokes in the house
Police called out for violence (tenant A on tenant B)
Has a proper scrap metal collection in back garden
Has altered house (installed decking and security cameras to protect scrap metal collection)I shouldn’t mention any of these things in court? (as they are hard to prove because I cant go to the house or because of privacy rules)To continue with my fear of them getting legal aid, could you explain why the government website and the Citizen’s advice bureau say they will? What are the additional criteria that decide eligibility? snippet from the website above:
What cases can you get civil legal aid for?
You can only get civil legal aid for the following types of cases:
• court action to evict you from your home because of rent arrearsOnce again, sorry to re-question you on this, but I’m very worried about the 2 sites saying they do. If they get legal aid, I will not fight the case, because I feel it would put my mum’s house at risk as she has no savings (she is the actual LL). This link below is what I’m afraid of:
I'm really sorry but I struggle to follow these questions.
Could you try asking one at a time?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK Jo no problem, my main question is:Could you explain why and the CAB Website say they will get legal aid and you say they won't?Are there additional criteria that decide eligibility?Many thanks in advance
I wouldn't take any notice of the CBA website. They have no idea.
I can't really comment on the views of other websites anyway.
All I can say is that I have rarely seen it and I do some housing work for landlords.
They won't get legal aid just because they are having a dispute with their landlord. It doesn't cost to go to court very much on a S8 anyway.
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