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  1. Painsmith Soilicitors have just posted a new blog entry at http://blog.painsmith.co.uk/2010/08/23/after-a-section-21-notice-expires which clarifies matters very nicely. I have found considerable confusion amongst landlords and commentators on some aspects of the uses of these notices. It reads: "We are often asked the question of what the situation is once a notice pursuant to section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 expires. Thanks to the decision of the House of Lords in Knowsley Housing Trust v White it is known that a tenancy agreement for an assured or assured shorthold tenancy does not in fact come to an end until the Court Bailiff has executed an order for possession. Therefore the service of a section 21 notice does not in itself bring a tenancy to an end. This means that the measures of only referring to rent as mesne profits after the service of section 21 notice are not necessarily required (although they may be a good idea so as not to confuse busy District Judges!). If a tenant wishes to stay after the expiry of a section 21 notice for a short period this can easily be dealt with by simply sending a letter advising the tenant that the landlord will not be enforcing the expired possession order until a specific date. Subscribers to the PainSmith helpline service will be able to obtain a suitable letter from the document vault on their website. Section 21 notices have no finite lifetime in which they can be used, they oldest reported case involves a section 21 notice which expired 6 years before the possession action began. Therefore agents should not be overly focused on the section 21 notice and tenants staying on after it has expired and more on making sure they have not offered a new tenancy which might override the notice." It seems to me that LL's now have a clear procedural route to follow: protect the deposit serve the deposit info sheet along with a Section 21 notice specifying the final day of the tenanc allow the tenancy to become a statutory one if you ever need to give notice, merely send a letter to the tenant quoting the Notice and saying that you want them gone in 30 days (or later if you wish and specify).
  2. Hello all. Are there any rules governing or guiding out of court settlements for non protection of our deposit? We've moved out of our property and discovered the estate agent/landlord never protected our deposit. Instead the money was scooted into a black hole by the estate agent, and the police are following up on this. However our legal claim (i believe) is with the landlord not the agent, and any 'understanding' the landlord had with the estate agent is a secondary legal matter. Over 1 month later, we still don't have the deposit back, as it's tangled up between the loss adjusters/insurers/police. We've notified our landlord that it's his responsibility (he says it's not) and said that we'll go to court for the deposit, costs and non-protection fee of 3x deposit. This is the third message we've served to the landlord, and the first time we've threatened to go legal. We are entitled to almost £10,000 from a successful court judgement, but are not particularly inclined to go to court unless we have to. My question is what is a reasonable claim for an out of court settlement? Also, could we liable for the landlords legal costs if the courts fail to award the non-protection penalty? (there seems to be less clarity in practice on this issues than the letter of the law might suggest) Lastly can we ask for a nominal amount to cover the stress and time spent as a result of non-protection/non-return of deposit or would this weaken our court case if it comes to that? (Say, £600 - on top of our deposit for example) I'm naturally disinclined towards litigation culture, but the fact that our landlord is taking no responsibility for our situation (and charging us £25 to replace a lightbulb on top of this) makes me want to assert our rights here. Lastly, we do in some ways feel sorry for our landlord, who may have innocently (if not rather lazily) assumed that the estate agents had done this... Any advice appreciated!
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