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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71030
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I rented out a room to a tenant who now won't leave. On

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Hello, I rented out a room to a tenant who now won't leave.
On the tenancy agreement, I cackhandedly wrote:
"The Term shall be for a definite period of one year from and including 15th October 2014 to and including 14th April 2015"
"Subject to the Landlord’s consent, the Term may be extended for a further period from 14th April 2015"
I meant to write "for a definite period of 6 months".
I wanted to give her a six month contract, not a one year contract.
However it's clear from this to me that it runs to 14th April 2015.
She may feel differently.
It's nearly 4 months later and the tenant is refusing to leave.
Though the tenant may feel she is justified to stay for one year because of my mistake.
At the back of the tenancy agreement, I provided a Section 21 Notice of Repossession, requesting she vacate on 14th April 2015.
(It says on it: DATE OF EXPIRY After: 14th April 2015).
I also served her a Section 21 Notice of April 23rd 2015, giving her a further two months to move out - asking her to leave by July 15th - thus giving her more than the required two months.
On 15th July, she was still there.
So I've served her two section 21 notices - for April 14th and July 15th.
Three weeks on from the most recent S21, and she's still there.
The tenant is one month arrears in rent, though I have her deposit to cover that, and I have a feeling that in seven days' time when her rent is due, she won't pay.
Am I on shaky grounds if I seek an accelerated possession order because of my blunder saying "a definite period of one year" when I meant 6 months. Furthermore, does the fact she's still paying rent give her a right to not vacate or any other additional rights as a tenant that I'm unaware of?
Very many thanks.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Is this a room in your house?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No. It's a single self-contained bedsit on the third floor of a building I own. Apologies for the confusion.

Ok. No problem.
Is this headed assured shorthold tenancy agreement?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, it's on a standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.

The short answer is that there is a risk.
Come what may, there is an ambiguity in the contract. The general law is that ambiguities are to be held against the party seeking to rely on them.
However, if you want her out then, since it is cheap enough to seek possession, it is probably worth pursuing it. You might be lucky and get a DJ that finds in your favour as it is clear what you meant. The worst that will happen is that you will have to pay a small amount in costs.
The fact that she is paying rent just means you cannot rely on S8. If the Judge find that the AST has come to an end then she is on a periodic. If not then she is on an AST. Either way she has to pay rent.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you - I'll press ahead with possession then.

Many thanks,

No problem and all the best.
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