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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 8984
Experience:  Solicitor
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I am a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy - I have

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Hello, I am a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy - I have lived at the property for 3 years undisturbed by the landlords until recently. They two weeks ago they sent me an email saying they would be visiting the property for a routine inspection, on arrival they went sniffing around and have decided that there is a faint cigarette smell in the lounge. They threatened that if the faint cigarette smell remains they would terminate my tenancy. Two days later they sent me an email stating that I needed to make a statement declaring that no one is smoking in the flat and that they will be inspecting the flat again in a couple of weeks and if the smell persists they will simply terminate my tenancy without further discussion or warning. I want to know if a landlord can tell me what my guests can and cannot do in what is my home while I live here and can they just threaten me with termination?
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Not that I'm aware of
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have not responded to their email demanding I send a statement declaring neither I nor my guests smoke in the premises without receiving legal advice, today they sent another email demanding I respond with a statement in 2 days.

Hello for clarification - what does the tenancy rules state about smoking?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
4.10)
It is hereby agreed thattheTenantorany person residing or sleeping in orvisitingthe Premises is prohibited from smoking in the Premises at alltimesforthe duration ofthe Tenancy. In the event theTenantoranyguest(s) orvisitor(s) has smoked inthe Premises, the Tenantwill be responsiblefor all costs relating to any damage, discoloration or odour caused by smoking. This relates to the premises and all communal areas.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Before signing the tenancy I did ask the letting agent about this and they said under quiet enjoyment a landlord cannot dictate what your guests do in your home, since I told them I have friends who smoke. They said it was a grey area and not to worry about it since the previous tenants had been smokers.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hello?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
this is the email they sent me
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hello are you still there?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I guess you're not there, please refund my money

Thank you. It doesn’t matter that the previous tenants were smokers. It doesn’t matter that the landlord may be a smoker.

If the landlord doesn’t want smoking in the premises, that’s the end of it. There is then no smoking in the premises.

What you have been told about the landlord not being able to dictate this is incorrect.

The landlord would be entitled to serve you a Section 8 notice to quit for breach of tenancy.

I’m sorry, I know it’s not the answer you wanted but the question is not uncommon.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
How do I respond to the email without incriminating my guests or myself, or what can I say to get them to leave me alone keeping in mind I've lived here for 3 years without so much as a routine inspection
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
how do I terminate my tenancy early in a way that would make it OK
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I clearly don't want to continue to be here and feel harassed, intimidated and threatened, so I'd rather find somewhere else to live
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
do you think, them sending that email demanding I respond is that start of them applying for a Section 8?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
How much notice would they give me if they served me with a section 8? two weeks? or the tenancy notice period here is 2 months?

Your guests have no liability.

I cannot tell you to lie and either people have been smoking in the property or they haven’t.

It appears that they have and that’s a breach of the agreement.

Whether they terminate the tenancy or you terminate the tenancy, it’s highly likely that you are going to get stung for a large cleaning and decorating bill to get rid of the smell.

You can give one month notice but you can’t give that to expire before the end of the term.

I’m going to be brutally honest with you and tell you that if they don’t want smoking in the property, regardless of what your response is, they are likely to give you a section 8 notice anyway.

For breach of tenancy agreement they only need to give you 2 weeks notice.

If they give you a section 8 notice, could use that to your advantage to leave you wished

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I only just signed a new tenancy agreement, there is a 6 months break clause, which means I can hand in notice in 4months and leave 2 months later
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
2 weeks is not a lot of time to find a new flat!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Can't I email them and say stop with the crap, just give me my two months notice and be done with it! when they were here 2 weeks ago and came up with the light sent of smoke by the windows, I told them I was happy for them to terminate my tenancy if they felt they needed to, they responded with 'but you've been a great tenant for 3 years', and I said, yeah but I'm over the threats do what you need to do.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
those windows are directly above the Ladbrokes where their patrons smoke outside, that smoke does come into the flat.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
in summary as a tenant I have no rights, I can't break my tenancy for breach of quiet enjoyment, harassment or threatening behaviour, but they can kick me?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
lastly, does a section 8 carry a CCJ? will I have a county court judgement against my name? if it gets to that?

That’s correct, you can only leave in six months time unless landlord agrees which he could well do particularly if he is going to give you a s8.

If you don’t leave in two weeks if he gives you notice then he has got to make an application to court to get you out and it’s not a compulsory order, it’s at the discretion of the judge.

I appreciate what you’re saying about Ladbrokes and the smokers outside but you did admit to me that your friends smoked in the flat and I cannot suggest for one moment you lie.

You do have rights. You have the right to quiet enjoyment and the right not to be harassed and the right not to be threatened. In exchange, you have to comply with the covenants in the tenancy agreement and pay the rent. Sometimes there is a covenant not to have a pet, sometimes the covenant not to paint the property and sometimes there is a covenant there is no smoking. Not having pets and no smoking are probably the two most common restrictions. Extremely common. You are expected to comply with those covenants in exactly the same way as you are expected to pay rent and not, for example, damage the property through smoke stains or smoke smell in exactly the same way that you are not expected to damage the property by smashing the windows the doors all the walls to bits.

Provided you do what’s listed in the tenancy agreement and you don’t do what you are prohibited from doing, they cannot give you notice.

Section 8 notice and a order for possession and eventually warrant for possession (bailiffs to evict you) does not affect your credit history.

Before you go (you can come back at any time), please don’t forget to use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! The thread remains open. We can still exchange emails.

Kind regards.

FES

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Will receiving a section 8 record me in any database? I don't want a judgement against my name or a black mark against my name because my landlord is acting like a dick. I ask this because my job requires me to have multiple background checks credit and criminal every year
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
How about this! I email them and say before this escalates any further, I am happy to submit two months notice as per the AST, if I am able to move before then I will let you know!?

It will not be recorded on any database that I am aware of.

There is no harm in asking the landlord and saying that if he is not happy, you are willing to move out and give two months notice. It’s unlikely that even he gives you a section 8 notice, by the time he’s gone through all the court process, he’s going to get you out before then

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
How long does it take for them to get a section 8 notice in place?

Five minutes!

They just draft it and give it to you.

If you don’t move out, getting it into court could take weeks or months depending on the court loading. I think that’s what you are asking rather than how long does it take to get a notice in place.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That just makes me feel sick to my stomach. Ok so back to the topic at hand: My query was what are my rights regarding this and how do I respond to their email which I had attached for you. And so far in this regard I have no rights and am in the wrong, so onto how to respond to their email.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have drafted a response apologising for the late response (they have been waiting a week) but that I have conducted my own enquiries into their assessment of a 'light odour of smoke near the windows' and have found out who it was, also that I have changed cleaning companies since my regular cleaner also owned up to smoking at the windows while I was out (which the landlord suspected) and that I have engaged with a new cleaning company who will be attending this weekend to hopefully remedy the 'light odour of smoke near the windows'
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Can I assume that they'll let me get on with that, then turn up next week for another 'routine inspection' only to serve the section 8 to which I respond, fingers crossed I can move in the two weeks (does a section 8 carry a two week notice period?) if not I'll be out as soon as I can find suitable accommodation!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
There email had stated: We are continuing to monitor and will carry out another inspection within the next few weeks. If we suspect that, despite our discussion and our written notice, smoking is still happening, we will have no alternative but to serve notice to terminate the lease. No further warnings will be issued.
Meanwhile, would you kindly confirm to us in writing that neither you, nor anyone else entering your flat is smoking within the building?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
To which I'll reply: I can confirm that I have recently investigated for myself your assessment of ‘a light odour of smoke near the windows’ and I have spoken with the guilty party who was extremely apologetic and I have also since terminated the services of my regular cleaner as mentioned to you that I would.
I am currently engaging with a new cleaning company to attend this weekend who can hopefully remedy the ‘light odour of smoke near the windows’.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
How's that plan?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Do you think I'll get a reply today? because I'm waiting on your go ahead to send that email reply
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I'm waiting over 3 hours for a reply!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I needed a reply!

I have not been able to deal with this because I had clients and travelling all afternoon.

As you have given a negative rating, I am unable to proceed with this. I will opt out and leave it open to all experts.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

I see the expert has opted out - what else do you want to know?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I wanted to know if my approach was a good idea

Yes, your approach is a good idea.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
my response email I'm sending is a good idea? Can I assume that they'll let me get on with that, then turn up next week for another 'routine inspection' only to serve the section 8 to which I respond, fingers crossed I can move in the two weeks (does a section 8 carry a two week notice period?) if not I'll be out as soon as I can find suitable accommodation!

Yes, I have read the response and I think it is acceptable.

They can only do routine inspections as per the Tenancy agreement.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Yeah I just want to know that I'm handling this in the correct way and the comeback is predictable as in: I'll have cleaners come this this weekend, they'll come and possibly inspect the flat again, if they are not happy they will try and section 8 me, which gives me two weeks to move out, on the upside I don't have to move out in the two weeks I can take a little longer if need be, and then they will have to go to court to force me out if they can't give me another week or two if I need it?

If they serve a S.8 and you don't leave, then they cant just get you out.

They need a Court order which can take a few more weeks

Does that assist?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Great! or at the next inspection if they show they are dissatisfied I can at that point say: if you are not happy I am happy to hand in my two months notice as per the AST? and are we sure that I wont get a CCJ if they do take me to court, not that I would let it get to that point?

No. If you give notice you can leave. They have clearly acted appallingly.

It won't get that far though

Does that assist?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
F E Smith said I can't leave until my tenancy is up or I reach the six months clause which would be later in the year, he said I'd only be able to leave early if they decided to section 8 me or give me notice but that I would not be able to hand in notice until the break clause or end.

Yes if they S.8 then you can end it.

If they do not then you can't leave early.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
are we sure that I wont get a CCJ if they do take me to court

Even if they do, only if they win. Then even if they win if you pay it in a month then you won't get one.

Does that assist?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Pay for what? my rent has never been late and the landlords consider me a good tenant other than this business with a faint odour of smoke by the windows

Exactly. That is why they won't win.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok so in summary - they can section 8 me but if I need more time to move than the two weeks allow for, I can stay longer and if they take me to court they won't win since I've been a great tenant and always paid my rent on time?

Correct

Does that help?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That is the best news I've had in two days! thanks so much Jamie!

Can I clarify anything for you about this today, please?

If not, I would appreciate a 5-star rating for my answer. If you need anything further I am available for a follow up at no extra cost.

Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 8984
Experience: Solicitor
Jamie-Law and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Enjoy your evening, you've earned 5 stars

Thanks