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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26408
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I am hearing about the Queen's speech yesterday. I have a

Customer Question

Hello
JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: Hello, I am hearing about the Queen's speech yesterday. I have a buy-to-let flat which I need to sell. The reason is I am buying another house for myself and have found out that the Land Tax (the house is in Wales) will be 10s of 1000s of pounds more because I have a second property. My tenant has been there for 9 years. I have talked to her about selling about 3 years ago but she was so resistant I let it go. I tried to talk to her a week ago but she is on holiday so I am waiting for her to come back. The tenancy is up in October. What I am concerned about is that I heard the new regulations which mean that you can't ask a tenant to leave if they have done nothing wrong (they haven't) are coming in in June. So I am wondering if the best thing to do would be to serve a Section 21 notice before June. That's a bit scary for the tenant though.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: I live in the Uk. The buy to let flat is in the UK. I am moving to Wales. No I haven't talked to a lawyer. Was looking one up when I saw your site
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: none
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I am a bit worried about a situation I know about. A guy who had been in his flat for 17 years was given notice by the landlord. The tenant took him to court and he won. The judgement said that 2 months notice after 17 years was unreasonable and the tenant was awarded £25kCustomer: Chat is completed
Submitted: 8 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.
I have been in the legal profession, in high street practice, for 30 years so I have wide range of experience in a great many different aspects of law.
Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.
To clarify - you wish to sell this property but you are worried about how to tell the tenant and when?

have you made sure to protect the deposit and EPC and gas safety cert?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I am worried that if I don't do something before June (because of possible legislation mentioned yesterday in the Queen's speech), I won't be able to ask her to leave unless she has done something wrong which she hasn't. The deposit is with the DPS. There is no gas there - only electricity. I'm not sure about EPC.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Hello - I have just been asked to pay £44 which I am willing to do but first of all I would like to know if you are aware of what was proposed yesterday in the Queen's speech and when possible legislation might come into force. A commentator on the radio this morning said there is a possibility of June
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

Firstly, we don’t know when the legislation will come in force. All of this lease hold and rental reform is being done in dribs and drabs and has been over several years. It started about 15 years ago.

They have been talking about scrapping the gargantuan charges for lease extensions for quite a long time but it’s not yet happened.

The latest proposal about scrapping section 21 notice is doesn’t mean that the landlord cannot get a tenant out. It means that the landlord cannot get a tenant out except in certain circumstances which usually would be that they have done nothing wrong.

The reality is that the landlord will not want to get a tenant out if the tenant is playing by the rules and paying the rent. Why would they want an empty property? There are already provisions in section 8 to get the tenant out if the landlord wants to sell the property or there are rent arrears et cetera et cetera and there are no plans to scrap section 8.

The reality is that although landlords give section 21 notices, there is usually no need because section 8 covers it all. So I would be relatively relaxed if the government does scrap section 21 notices. There is talk however of reinforcing section 8 grounds to get a tenant out and that has to be good.

You have to remember however that the landlord as the poor relation in the government is looking after tenants even scumbag tenants.

I’m not familiar with the case that you are talking about but the two months notice is a statutory right. There is no statutory right to any more than 2 months so there is clearly more to that. With that level of compensation I strongly suspect that unlawful eviction was involved.

I’m not certain whether deals with the matter for you or not, because you haven’t actually asked a question.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question. I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Stuart

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Hello Stuart - have you read the Queen's speech? They are proposing a departure from the current rules. They want to protect people from homelessness. They are proposing making it very difficult for landlords to evict tenants. There was talk on the radio this morning about the new rules coming into force as early as June. I hope I am not misreading what you have said but it appears to me that you are advising me on the current rules without taking into consideration the fairly draconian measures that are being proposed.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I did actually ask a question - is there anything in my situation - given possible changes in the rules - that would necessitate me trying to do something - like serve a Section 21 notice - before June (when commentators surmise the new regulations may be enacted).
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

I have only read the commentary on the part about tenancy agreements.

If they scrap section 21 notices, that would not unduly bother me because in section 8 you can still get tenants out for trashing the place, unsociable behaviour, because the property needs to be sold, because it needs to be improved, rent arrears, et cetera et cetera.

They are not proposing that scumbag tenants live free for ever rather than be homeless.

You have to ask yourself why do you want the tenant out? Why would you want to serve a section 21 notice?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I put in my original message why I want my tenant out. I am moving home and have found out that because I have a second property the stamp duty will be about £50k more.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I think from your message you say a Section 8 notice will suffice. Do I need to do it before June when the proposed changes may come into force?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

I apologise. You did indeed.

Here is an article on the potential effects:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/buy-to-let/evicted-tenant-government-makes-illegal/

Although whoever wrote it clearly doesn’t know the law because it says that abolishing section 21 would make tenants feel less obliged to pay rent”

We already have section 8 which covers that.

What is going to happen is that a whole load of landlords are going to sell the property because the legislation is getting more and more Draconian.

Here are section 8 grounds:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_8_notice

Section 8 is a nonstarter if the tenant is squeaky clean except for certain mandatory grounds.

I am not aware that you pay the extra rate of SDLT and replacing your main home just because you own another one. I’m fully aware of the extra on second properties but I was always under the impression it didn’t apply to a replacement main home. So in that respect I bow to your superior knowledge that there would be extra stamp duty because you are moving house. It was my understanding so thank you.

Moving back to section 21. Remember it has to be two months notice and what you don’t want to be caught is when the government passes the legislation to come into effect not leave you enough time to give notice.

As you read the previous article, all landlords are now serving section 21 notices in a spate of panic selling. They are also being extremely choosy as to who they take on but that shouldn’t really make any difference because scrum tenants fall under section 8. What we don’t know is what the sexually changes are.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thanks for that. So I think I need to serve the Section 21 notice asap? I guess I would just have to hope the govt would change the legislation within 2 months. Should I serve the Section 21 through a solicitor?
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
correction - would not change the legislation
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

To get a tenant out is a job and a half and depending on the reason, the landlord has to either serve a section 21 notice or a section 8 notice.

Sometimes the landlord can do both.

Section 21 notice is for someone to vacate at the end of the term or on a rolling contract, two months notice.

It has to be at least two months notice and that must cover to rental periods and two calendar months. The majority of first-time section 21 notices are invalid because they are short on time. One day short and it will get thrown out. To cover to rental periods and two calendar months may need it to be almost 3 months so if in doubt a landlord should give three months not 2 months to the day. A landlord cannot cannot serve it during the first four months of the term of a new tenancy.

If the tenant has complained of disrepair than the notice is classed as “revenge notice” and is invalid so any repairs would need to be completed before giving notice.

There are other reasons to get tenants out such as the property is being sold, the landlord wants to live it themselves, or there are arrears or other breaches of the tenancy agreement for which it needs section 8 notice. Here is some reading on section 8 notice

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_8_notice

Please note that grounds 1-8 are mandatory and if notice is given on the basis of one of those grounds, the court judge must grant possession.

Grounds-17 are discretionary depending on the all the circumstances.

In respect of grounds 8 rent arrears there must be 2 months at the time of the hearing and unfortunately, the tenant can bring rent arrears down on the day of the hearing, two minutes before the hearing, and the application will fail.

Please note that before giving any notice the landlord has to have

1 protected the deposit in a statutory scheme within 30 days of the start of the tenancy and
2 has to have given details of the scheme to the tenant within that period.

If the landlord hasn’t, the tenant is entitled to substantial compensation.

3 No notices valid unless the landlord has also given the tenant:

4 energy performance certificate

5 gas safety certificate

6 Electrical safety certificate

7 guide to renting in England booklet if the property is in England

8 a copy of the tenancy agreement

9 AND depending on the local authority, the authority sometimes require the property and the landlord to be registered with them.

Unless everything has been complied with, then any notice is invalid.

You can see now why many landlords are selling their buy to let property notwithstanding the Queen’s recent speech

If you want to make sure that you will notice is not invalid, get it served by a solicitor and I would always suggest giving three months notice, rather than 2. We don’t actually know whether there would be a saving provision whereby existing notices are still deemed to be valid. However probably better not taking the risk..

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question. I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
thanks Stuart, so I think my only option is Section 21 at the end of the term (which is October)? None of the mandatory or discretionary reasons for Section 8 on Wiki apply. But you mentioned a reason could be because the property needs to be sold. It's not on the list but could that be an option?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

You have plenty of time. Get the section 21 notice in now. Don’t wait till the last minute.

As far as I am aware, and I have dealt with a lot of these, property being sold used to be an option Once upon a time but for some reason, it’s been removed. I don’t know when that happened. So you can write that bit off I’m afraid.

You can of course always so with a sitting tenant but it depends if the buyer intends to rent it out or whether they want to live in it. A property with a good tenant who pays on time and looks after the property is very attractive to anybody wanting an investment property.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thanks for all this Stuart. Can I just make sure I am understanding exactly what you are say - I need to get the Section 21 notice out with a date in December 2022 (2 months after the end of the tenacy?). That's the only way?
And if the legislation changes in the meantime I will just have to take that on board at the time?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

Apologies, no. You give the section 21 notice now expire the day after the tenancy ends. You cannot give it in the first 4 months of any new tenancy but that doesn’t apply to annual renewals. The notice can be given now but it must not expire before the end of the term. So make it expire a day or a week after.

Before the rules changed a few years ago, some landlords would give a section 21 notice on day one of the tenancy just in case they wanted to get the tenant out. Just because they gave notice didn’t mean they had to proceed to eviction.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
thanks Stuart, that's been very helpful.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

It is my pleasure to help.

If you don’t have any further questions, I will mark this question thread as complete but don’t worry, the thread stays open if anything else crops up over the course of the next days weeks or months.

I’m glad that I was able to help.

Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem.

By the way, if you would like to ask me a new question in the future, (not just clarification on this thread, then please just type @ (the at sign) followed by my name and you’ll be able to select my username to tag me in the question.

If you like, you can also put “For Stuart J only” in the question thread and then the other experts will know that it’s for me.

You can also tag me as one of your favourite experts.

Thank you

Kind regards.

Stuart

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
will do, all of that. thanks again
Expert:  Stuart J replied 8 days ago.

Glad to help. If you don’t have any further questions, I will mark this question thread as complete but don’t worry, the thread stays open if anything else crops up over the course of the next days weeks or months. I’m glad that I was able to help. Thank you for trusting Just Answer with your legal problem. Kind regards Stuart