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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23761
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My landlord gave me a notice with no valid excuse. Does he

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My landlord gave me a notice with no valid excuse. Does he have the right to do so?
JA: What state is the property located in? And has anyone consulted a local attorney about this?
Customer: Chingford, London, United Kingdom
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: One year lease to be renewed every year. Eventhough I lived there, i made the lease in my business name. I paid 6 months upfront and spent a lot of money to furnish the place.
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 specified that I am a photographer and told them I was going to have a studio on site where I have my photography equipment. I used the garage for studio but I did photoshoots in the garden as well. I worked with other photographers sometimes. We received no warning or complaint from him or any of the neighbours. So the notice came as a surprise.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
The landlord also backed out on the initial offer which he agreed to when I told him I had a small child. He increased the amount of the rent and asked for up front payment. I believe they also deducted the agency fees from my deposit without checking with me. I paid my rent on time. And during the whole quarantine period, I paid my rent on time and have always been a perfect and quiet tenant. His house was located right next to my garden (which I realized later that was my biggest mistake to rent a property where the landlord lived nextdoor). I had only one gathering with friends in the garden where we did not make any noise. But next morning he came to my house to complain about the noise and he said my garden was next to his bedroom. He lives in a mansion with his wife alone which is spread of 5000 sqm but he chose to place his bedroom next to my garden. Only to be snooping on my property apparently. I could not even use my garden properly not to disturb him. I feel like I was conned by him and the agency and used me to pay rent to him during the lock down and get rid of me as a tenant for his future projects about the property. I would like to find out if he can give me notice to move out with only 40 days notice (I hear that because I paid 6 months up front he is required to give me minimum 6 months notice) and/or can I ask for compensation on the money I spent and invested in the property after I moved in.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as 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.

When did you take on the tenancy?

did he show you evidence that he had protected your deposit?

and what type of notice has he given you and when?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I started lease July 1st, 2020. He did not show me evidence that he protected deposit. I don't believe he put it in an escrow account. He sent the agent to my property last week on the 5th or 7th saying that it was for yearly inspection. And the agent handed over to me notice and told me I had time to leave till the 31st of July. He said landlord has some plans with the property. He lives in a huge mansion next to mine stretched over acres of land and a big house at least 10,000 sqft where he lives only with his wife
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I am happy to pay for the fee to talk but I want to give more information on the case so we don't lose time over the phone.
The house is only in my name but I asked to put the name of my company on my lease. I don't believe it was set up as a commercial lease. I was allowed to have one tenant whom I named to them that would be living in one of the rooms. I told them I do photography and i was going to set up a photography studio in the garage. I have a full-time job as a kitchen designer. I periodically did photoshoots at the property and sometimes in the garden because that was the main reason I rented this huge property only by myself. It is over priced for a two bedroom bungalow only because of the garden. I sometimes worked with other photographer and models who came in to do shoot. We were never loud and got no complaints from anyone including him during the whole period.
He is now using my photography as the cause of the friction which i do not believe. I only think he used me to pay rent during the lock down the country was going through. I spent a lot of money to furnish the property and set up photography equipment. I also was forced to pay 6 months up front. In total it cost me over £20k to get my business started. I paid thousands of pounds to hire models to build my photography portfolio. Just when I just started building my photography business he is asking me to leave which I think is unfair and he should compensate for my losses if he asks me to leave.

The landlord must not put the deposit in an escrow account it must be in a government approved scheme otherwise you have a claim for compensation of up to 3 times the deposit plus the return of the deposit.  Further, he has to give you the details of that scheme within 30 days of you giving him the deposit otherwise once again, you have a claim.

He cannot give you notice to quit unless he has protected the deposit although if the tenancy has come to the end of its term and rolled over into a periodic tenancy he does not have to have a reason.

Section 21 notice is given to vacate at the end of the term or section 8 notice in respect of arrears or other breach of tenancy.  That can be given at any time.

Section 21 must not be given within the first 4 months of the tenancy and currently, the notice periods have just reduced although they are higher than they were before the pandemic.

Any notice must be in the statutory format in writing.

The notice period originally was 2 months under section 21 and it could be as low as 2 weeks under section 8 but it changed to 3 months on 25 March last year and to 6 months on the 31st of June last year.

From , 1 June 2021, those notice periods are now generally 4 months.

However certain notice periods are shorter such as rent arrears but there have to be far more rent arrears now than there were before.  It used to be 2 months, notes 6 months.  So it appears to be more favourable to the landlord but in actual fact it isn’t.

The government have produced this webpage on exactly this subject:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/technical-guidance-on-eviction-notices

whilst it’s unfortunate that you have built your business, the landlord doesn’t have to let you stay beyond the contractual period of the tenancy

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I have no rent arrears. I was always on time. I am confused with your response. Do you mean he has to give me 4 months notice? or is he okay with the period he gives me?
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
my contract ends at the end of June but it looks like he is giving me one extra month.

Under the Corona Virus Act he has to give you 4 months notice in the majority of circumstances.

Details on the webpage link which I sent you.  Have you studied that?

If your contract finishes at the end of June and he wants you to leave at the end of June then he is not going to get you out at the end of June unless he gave you notice six months ago because that was the relevant period at the time although on 1 June this year it reduced to 4 months.

So if he gives you notice now you have 4 months to leave.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Does it matter that I put the name of my company on the lease? He might say that I don't qualify for rights as a tenant.

If the name on the lease is a company then you don’t have tenants rights but you still have the right to the same notice period.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Looking at the tenancy agreement the article says the following
Option to Renew
36.1. The Landlord and Tenant agree that if the Tenant shall want to
continue the Tenancy hereby created for a further period of one year from the
expiration of the Term granted under clause 1 of the Agreement; and gives to the
Landlord or the Agent one month’s notice in writing prior to the end of the Term
or any Extended Term to extend the Tenancy; and shall throughout the Term of
the Tenancy have paid the Rent specified in clause 2 of the Agreement; and
performed and observed all of Tenant's obligations under this Agreement; then
the Landlord will let the Premises for a further period of one year from the
expiration of the Term granted under clause 1 of the Agreement with the
exception of this clause, at an increased Rent. The increase in the Rent is to be
calculated according to the rise in the Retail Price Index during the year, but the
increase shall be not less than 3% nor more than 7% of the existing annual Rent.
So does this mean I have the option to request renew the agreement.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I am looking at the agreement in detail and see that my deposit was not placed in any government approved place. They also deducted the agency fees from my deposit. I believe they have broken the law in a couple aspects. Can you please help me what kind of letter I should write to the agency or my landlord?
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Also please take a look at the attached agreement which appears little bit strange after reviewing it.

You are not a tenant, your limited company is and there is no obligation to put the deposit into a scheme.

It doesn’t matter what the tenancy agreement says with regard to notices, the current notice required is in accordance with the Corona Virus Act as modified.

I have already given you the link to the government webpage explaining what is what.

Without going through the document in minute detail which is going to take me half an hour and for which there would be an extra charge, I don’t know what it is that you think is odd about the agreement.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
what is the additional charge?
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
It is odd because it is neither a tenancy agreement or commercial lease
It also gives me an option to renew as long as I am paying my rent
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Also I am a tenant according to the agreement and it gives me right to have one lodger

I charge my time at GBP110 per hour and it would take me between half an hour and three quarters of an hour to go through the document in detail.

However I could have a quick look at it in a couple of minutes if you tell me what your concern is.

The tenant is quite clearly your limited company.  Not you.  There are 2 allowable occupiers Mr  Adan and another.  It is for residential purposes only.  Hence, it would be a breach of the tenancy agreement to use it as a photographic studio.

I don’t know why the landlord’s taken exception to that as long as you were paying rent, I wouldn’t have thought he should have been bothered.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I specified in the beginning that I would be doing photography at the property and it was agreed by landlord so this is not a breach
Also this was a tenancy agreement and it was only converted to this form because I wanted to put my business name to show in my business expenses.
Also if you read the agreement that it gives me option to renew. Why can I not excercise this option?

It is a breach because it’s in the tenancy that its residential only.  You should have had that removed from the tenancy agreement before you signed it.

There is an option to renew but you cannot renew if the landlord has already given you notice to quit.

Notwithstanding, the landlord wants you out and you don’t want to go, he’s going to have to make an application to court for possession

Stuart J and 2 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I told the agency today that I would like to take advantage of the option to renew clause to renew for another year. He told me that I should have sent it before May 31st. However I did have a message chat with Landlord on May 21st asking him what we would be doing at the end of the term and if we should renew it and he told me that it would go on a month to month basis.
I also told the agency that they should give me a 4 months notice as the guidelines during the pandemic. But he responded telling me that my contractual agreement did not allow me to take advantage of the housing act. Is this true? I thought the notice period covered all contracts where commercial or residential.

The housing act and the notice period is a statutory obligation.  What he has told you is incorrect.  It does cover residential and commercial tenancies.

I see that you have requested a telephone call.  Please let me know when you are free.  Thank you

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
i am free that I would like to receive the call.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
i requested the call so that you would not think i was using your kindness to answer my questions for free. :)
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
nobody on the end of the phone

Good to talk on the telephone.  I said I would confirm the legal situation and this is what you need to convey to your landlord.

I will tell the landlord that you have no spoken to a UK solicitor and exchanged emails.

An agreement is either residential or commercial.  It could be residential and commercial but there is no will the category so when your landlord said that it was neither one thing nor the other, he was incorrect.

There is a property here which happens to be a residential property and its rented to your limited company.  Hence, it is a commercial lease.  Absolutely straightforward.  It’s a commercial lease with an element of residential use but nonetheless, it’s a commercial lease.

Under the Corona Virus Act the extended notice period applies to both residential and commercial leases and from 1 June the landlord has to give you 4 months notice.  If you don’t move out once the 4 months has expired the landlord has to make an application to court for an order for possession and if you still don’t move out he needs to make a further application for a warrant for possession for bailiffs to evict you.

There is a huge backlog and there is going to be months of delay so you could easily be in the property still in 6 months, 8 months, or even 12 months potentially.

I would suggest that you tell the landlord that he has to give you 4 months notice therefore under the Corona Virus Act but that you will endeavour to move out during the four-month period although you have no obligation to do so until the end of that four-month period.

Meanwhile, you are responsible for the rent.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I hope you are right about the 4 months because I sent the agency an email telling them they should be giving me a four months notice but they totally ignore me and did not answer. does it mean they will expect me to move out or force me to move out with bailiff?

The notice period originally was 2 months under section 21 and it could be as low as 2 weeks under section 8 but it changed to 3 months on 25 March last year and to 6 months on the 31st of June last year.

From , 1 June 2021, those notice periods are now generally 4 months.

However certain notice periods are shorter such as rent arrears but there have to be far more rent arrears now than there were before.  It used to be 2 months, notes 6 months.  So it appears to be more favourable to the landlord but in actual fact it isn’t.

The government have produced this webpage on exactly this subject:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/technical-guidance-on-eviction-notices

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
i understand but the agency is claiming this is a contractual agreement and he insists that i need to go by the contractual terms as the government notice period does not apply. is he correct?

We’ve already covered that.  It’s a commercial tenancy and it still 4 months.  If he feels differently he’s going to have to go to court and claim that you have to go immediately and see what the court decides.  My answer remains the same

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
thanks for affirming. i am just worried that he will put a bailiff at my door to kick me out. because he was unresponsive to my email saying that he needs to give me 4 months notice

He has to get an order for possession first and then you still don’t move make an application for a warrant for possession otherwise if he just tries to boot you out, you have a claim to make against him for unlawful eviction.

It may be worthwhile getting a solicitor to write to the landlord because clearly the landlord is taking no notice of you.