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Lea_HTH last won the day on January 26 2016

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  1. Firstly, and most importantly, what type of tenancy do you have? I can deduce from what you say that it is probably an assured tenancy - but check your tenancy agreement to be sure as it might be a shorthold. Secondly, what notice was served on you? It should say on the notice whether it is a s8 or a s21 and should indicate clearly if the former, which grounds they intend to apply for possession under. What are those grounds? They will be listed as numbers, anything from 1 to 17 or any combination of those numbers. It may make sense for you to scan and redact the notice and post it up. 1. Two months arrears means two months rent - if your rent is £400 a month, you would need to be £800 in arrears on the date the notice was served on you. If not, then the two month ground (ground 8) cannot be used. 2. If your housing benefit has not been paid, or is late (it's paid in arrears in any case), then the rent it should have covered is also late and will be counted as arrears. The HA are not obliged to reduce the arrears by the missing housing benefit until that money has been paid to them. The reason for this is that housing benefit is not responsible for paying your rent, they are responsible for paying you anything you are entitled to in order to help YOU pay your rent, but the contract for your property is between you and the HA and you remain responsible to them, hence your letter from them detailing the full amount of the missing rent - even though your entitlement to HB will reduce it to a smaller amount (once they receive it). Thirdly, let me reassure you that there is no judge hearing a possession list that is going to grant a possession order (or even a suspended order) on the basis of £160 of arrears - so please stop worrying. There is zero chance of you being evicted for that level of arrears. It also seems to me that your HA haven't followed the possession proceedings pre-action protocol for social housing...they should have contacted you to discuss what the issue was, checked to see that you were getting all the benefits to which you are entitled, and allowed you to come to an arrangement to pay the arrears off. Only IF you then breached the agreement to pay the arrears off would they be entitled to proceed to issue possession proceedings. But again, on such a tiny amount of arrears they are not even likely to get a suspended order and will have spent over £300 taking you to court...which you would strongly object to having to pay given the tiny amount of your arrears and the fact that they have not followed appropriate protocol. Lastly, you MUST make a complaint about the idiot who told you to get a pay day loan out to pay the rent arrears. That is one of the stupidest things anyone could tell someone in rent arrears to social housing to do. If this does end up in court, be sure to include that in your statement to the court. Never, ever take out payday loans, or any other kind of loan, to repay rent to a social landlord. They do not add interest on rent arrears and will accept low payments to clear the arrears - so there is never a good reason to take out a loan to repay them. (My advice would be different if it was a private rental or mortgage repossession.)
  2. There is no legal obligation to have a written tenancy agreement. Guidelines are guidelines, they are not law.
  3. Your understanding is wrong, the contract cannot be 'changed', it will be ended by the joint tenant giving notice and a new tenancy agreement will need to be created, hence the fee.
  4. It was acerbic - nothing wrong with that. Re council tax - liability ends on moving and notifying the council that the move has taken place. The council or the LL would find it impossible to enforce against someone who informed the council of the correct dates of leaving. Also, OP can legally vacate the property on the last day of the term without notice - LL does NOT remain entitled to rent until notice is given. The legal term is over - it no longer exists and therefore, so long as no property remains, the tenancy is over on that day and so are all liabilities. If you have been informed otherwise (I know from other posts that you are a LL), I'd suggest changing your solicitor. The DPS certificate in this instance isn't even really relevant. What is relevant is that OP appears to have left in month 4, so may have a problem without proper notice to quit...
  5. Whilst it may appear 'harsh', Mariner's post is actually fairly accurate - it is your own fault. Notwithstanding that, your situation isn't as dire as you, or the others responding, seem to think. Firstly, in the absence of a signed, written agreement, the verbal agreement is perfectly valid. The issue each party would have is proving that what they say is accurate is in fact accurate. In this instance, it goes in your favour, as the default position would be for a 6 month tenancy, which the documentation you have, and your version of the verbal agreement matches. So, you have a 6 month tenancy. The LL/LA would probably not waste time chasing after you without concrete evidence that you agreed to a 12 month term, because as experienced landlord/letting agent, they'd know it wouldn't be worth the cost of risking a court finding in your favour (which they probably would). That said, you are not entitled to leave after 4 months with only a month's notice. You must pay for the full six month term, and then you can leave on the appropriate day. E.g. if your tenancy started on the 5th of the month, you MUST leave by the 4th of the month - you cannot stay longer than that or you will need to pay extra. You can leave earlier, but you remain responsible for the rent up until the sixth month. You are not responsible for the council tax once you move. Write, by recorded delivery, to the local authority council tax department and inform them that your tenancy is up and you have moved out and provide the date. Keep a copy of the letter. If you haven't paid your rent, pay it. The deposit is for damages to the flat, and you cannot use it to defray the cost of rent unless the LL agrees to this. It will be easy to claim your deposit back, and the 12 months indicated on the protection certificate is largely immaterial once you inform them that the tenancy is over and the 12 month protection was an error on the LL's part - provide them with your paperwork to prove the 6 month term.
  6. If the LL has served a s21 (two months notice would indicate that is precisely what he has done), and if he returned your deposit (for whatever reason), then the s21 is valid and there is no defence you can put forward. The most you can hope for in these circumstances is for the judge to give 42 days - however, given the date of the notice (March) and the date of the hearing (September), I would expect the judge to give a possession order within 14 days. None of the rest of what you have said is relevant in relation to the actual possession proceedings in relation to a s21 notice. There is no defence to such a claim. The LL didn't even have to do a POC, he could simply have served the s21, made the application to court for possession and said 'I want my property back' and the court would have to award possession so long as the s21 was valid and appropriately served. End of. The 'transcript' you give in relation to the deposit, is clear that the LL is saying he returned it because the other tenant could not raise his share of the deposit. It's not evidence for you, it's supportive of the LL that he does not hold a deposit for the property. You are 'joint defendants' because there is ONE property - it doesn't matter how many tenancy agreements there are.
  7. The mortgagor will find a buyer as quickly as possible as there is not much equity in the property and the longer they hold onto it, the more at risk is their security. It would be nice to think they'll do all they can to get the best price possible, but that is not the same as them actually doing so. ALL repossessed properties sell at lower than market rates - GUARANTEED. This is why judges are so keen to allow a mortgagee the time to sell the property themselves...in order to realise the best possible price. It's not an option as OP already stated they had refused. Also, I have never, in all my years of dealing with repossession cases, seen one mortgagor agree to allow a tenant into a residential mortgaged property without changing the interest rate. There is a very simple reason for this - a tenant will gain rights of their own in the property, and a residential mortgage is not designed for this. Such costs are not even proportionate to the value of the property - so two properties worth £74k can be repossessed and sold, and one might attract costs of £15k and the other costs of £25k. I have only ever seen cases where fees are in the tens of thousands, it's rarer for them to be less than £15k than it is for them to be over £20k. And I have dealt with thousands of repossessions. Your response is misleading. It is a legal requirement as it is part of the residential mortgage contract. There is every point in accepting it. An offer (which may well be in cash for all you know) is an offer and a judge will likely allow some time to sell. However, having read earlier posts, it seems a 56 day order was already granted last year, so it is eviction that is pending, and the OP would need to make an N244 application to stay the warrant and use evidence of the buyer as the reason. However, this appears to have been done before, so whether the judge will be amenable is less likely. It's not an impossibility. CAB's advice was shocking. OP should make every effort to sell and get herself out of this mess without any further delay...he/she has been lucky up until now, but it is likely that luck is about to run out unless he/she does something to show that the sale will go through. OP, if the purchaser is a cash buyer, have him/her attend the hearing with you if you make a stay application and show evidence that he/she is willing to purchase and has the funds to do so and to complete within a reasonable time. That's likely your only option at this very late stage. To the other poster to whom some of this post is directed: I won't be responding to your posts any further as it is just derailing the OP's thread.
  8. CAB's advice is shockingly wrong. You have a buyer for £64k, and your outstanding mortgage is £58k (does that include the £4.5k of arrears?). If the mortgage company repossess and manage to sell the property for £64k, you are going to be left with a horrendous shortfall, as they will add all manner of fees to the mortgage for the cost of repossession, preparing the property for resale, security etc., and those costs are often in the tens of thousands. Even at the lowest end, you are looking at around an additional £15k of costs on top of what you already owe. If you sell, you will have the costs of selling (an agent if one is used for example), and if no agent is used, then just the costs of the solicitor, which could be as little as £1000 if you shop around. Anything left over from the sale after you have discharged the mortgages, is yours to help you set up home again elsewhere, or help you to discharge some of your other debts. Don't hang about - sell, sell, sell...yes your buyer is getting a bargain, but so are you if you are definitely not in a position to pay the mortgage. (Have you applied for statutory mortgage interest payments if you are on ESA?) Renting it out isn't an option as it's a residential mortgage, so even if the mortgage company agreed your payments would go up accordingly as it would be a rent to buy.
  9. I don't think, given your response above, that you actually read what I wrote. 1. 'Play nice'...I'd say you're stuck between a rock and a hard place - deposit was in old tenant's name, not yours, and also seems the tenancy agreement was a joint and several one...that means that if the LL wanted to 'not play nice', he or she could claim the full rent for the three months you occupied the property alone and 'rent free'. 2. Your bargaining position is much weaker than you appear willing to acknowledge. 3. You cannot give valid notice to quit by 4th April, LL would be entitled to pursue you for rent for April to May. 4. Your LL seems generous - they gave you three months free accommodation and now you want to screw them over. Your option is clear - TALK to the LL, explain you don't want to sign a new contract and say you can be out by 4th April if they agree. I am fairly sure the LL would probably be happy to see you go.
  10. Notwithstanding the 'advice' given in this thread, the OP has a couple of difficulties. He/she wants to leave - great, give valid notice to quit and go...BUT if the new tenancy started on 5th March, that means the old tenancy ended on 4th March, or became periodic on 5th March...which means rent was due on 5th March and OP is still in occupation and hasn't given notice. Too late to give one month's valid notice to quit for 4th April, valid notice to quit would now end on 4th May. Secondly, 'advice' has been given about the 'illegality' of not protecting a deposit of £520, but nothing in conjunction with the financial penalties available to the court to award to the tenant if a claim was made, would negate the fact that the LL could legitimately claim rent for the six months of free accommodation and bills the tenant had for six months...presumably in or around the region of 6 x £520. Not protecting a deposit is against the law, it's not an 'offence' as it's not criminal. LL sounds inexperienced, so if deposit has not been protected, court would take any inexperience into consideration and award a lower penalty...LL's claim for unpaid rent far exceeds that amount (or even the highest penalty available to the court) and therefore there would be great incentive for the LL to sue tenant. The easiest way out of the situation is negotiation with the LL...say you'll leave if they return your deposit and ASK if you can leave on 4th April. They may be happy to get rid of you.
  11. There's your problem...you agreed to the referencing and that is what your money paid for. Rather than kick up a fuss and pull out, you should have stuck to your guns and started re-negotiating. The LL was clearly keen not to have a void period, and he would likely have accepted the lower rent rather than miss out on maybe two months rent looking for new tenants. Too late now...but in my view a court is highly unlikely to rule in your favour - there was no acceptance of your offer as in between that and the contract was the matter of referencing. The referencing took place, therefore it has to be paid for. You might get money back if the referencing costs were unreasonable, but I think you are barking up the wrong tree with the argument you are planning on putting forward.
  12. What was your response to 'shall I give the OK to start the referencing'?
  13. No. Unless you are in Scotland or Wales. Worse, SMI is changing from a 13 week wait following applying for benefits to a 39 week wait...and from 2018 it'll be a loan. Silly, unnecessary changes that mean homeowners who fall into difficulties due to job loss are far worse off than renters.
  14. The above is untrue. Where a mortgage term is expired, a judge has no jurisdiction to stay a possession claim - s/he will be obliged to grant possession.
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