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Help! Fixed term Shorthold Tenancy, lanlord wants to evict


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Hi, am hoping to get some decent advice on where I stand.

 

I live in a house with 3 other people. We all signed (april 2007) separate shorthold tenancy agreements with the landlord (one tenant's name on each contract - so not joint liability). Contract has a 10 month Fixed Term running from 1st September 2007. Contract was supplied by landlord as separate tenencies, we got that checked by my uni's SU.

 

When we signed up, we were all students. Since then, I decided to take a year out and work - needed the money. Because we have no joint tenancy agreement, the council will not register us for council tax, but obviously I am now working.

 

It seems the council tax liability has been passed to my landlord, who is unhappy and duly presented me with a huge bill, suggesting I persuade the council it should be in my name and pay it. My contract says "the tenant agrees with the lanlord to pay any council tax which the tenant is obliged to pay under the Local Gov Finance Act 1992" - but the council say I have no liability. Obviously, I don't want to pay the council tax for a 4-person flat!

 

I have just received 2-months notice to leave from the landlord, but I got thought he couldn't do that. I've not broken any part of my contract, he's just slightly annoyed with his bill. Looking through these forums, is he trying the "Assured Shorthold Procedure", and can he even do that?

 

There is nothing that resembles a break clause in the contract, only a "This agreement creates an assured shorthold tenancy within part 1 chap2 of the housing act 1988. this means that when the term expires the landlord can recover possession as set out in section 21 of that act, unless the landlord gives the tenant a notice under paragraph 2 of schedule 2a to that act stating that the tenancy is no longer an assured shorthold tenancy."

 

The only other clause about recovery starts "if the tenant (1)is at least 14 days late in paying the rent or any part of it... or (2) has broken any terms of this agreement ... then subject to statutory provisions, the landlord may recover possession.

 

The landlord wants to meet me this evening :shock:, so hope for some advice!

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What exactly is the notice he has sent? He cannot evict under a Section 21 procedure right now. However, he can attempt a Section 8 procedure, and may well be successful. You have signed a contract to be liable for the council tax - and hence you are liable for the council tax. If anything, it is the council in the wrong, I have never heard of this policy of being unable to register you for council tax if you do not produce a joint tenancy - I suspect someone at the council has misread the rules. Certainly, there is no such policy in place at the LAs in my area, and I would be amazed if any LA have this policy.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Notice was sent by email, more of a strongly worded conversation actually: reads as follows:

 

From: Landlord

To: Me

Subject: Notice

 

Dear (me)

 

I am not going into details anymore.The bottom line is that I cannot afford to receive £ 150-00 per month for your room . If this is going to be the case , I am giving you a 2 months notice to move out . This is dated 1 December 2007 . If you could go before 31.1.2008 do let me know.You know perfectly well that I signed tenancy agreements with 4 fulltime students back in April and the rent was £1000-00 per month which is the amount I expected to get.

 

 

I explained the situation to your housemates, I hope they mentioned it . Their rent is not going to be affected if you leave - you can tell them that. We have overlooked a few things in the past like moving furniture but you paying de facto only £150-00 for your room per month is not something I am prepared to put up with.

 

[Contact details for landlord]

 

 

Regards from [landlord]

Obviously the whole letter is conditioned on "if this is going to be the case", which we will discuss this evening, but other than that, it's a notice, is it not?

 

Thanks for the swift response; am watching the thread, obviously.

 

 

Am obviously pondering whether I should just pass my landlord a cheque for the tax he has to pay. The council said in their email on the matter

As you and the other tenants are renting individual rooms and do not hold a Joint Tenancy Agreement, I am unable to register you for Council Tax as a group. The Council Tax liability will be amended to your landlord
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Ultimately and legally, the owner of the property is responsible for the Council Tax being paid to the Council, in the eyes of the Council - that's why the LL is rightly worried about it. Unless your tenancy stated that CT was inclusive of rent, then you as tenants would be expected to pay it between yourselves, either to the Council or to the LL; if you cannot or will not, the Council will recover it from the LL himself. It usually works one of three ways in practice - the LL is registered for and pays CT hirself; the LL is registered for and pays CT, and the tenants reimburse; the tenants are registered and pay for CT.

 

My contract says "the tenant agrees with the lanlord to pay any council tax which the tenant is obliged to pay under the Local Gov Finance Act 1992" - but the council say I have no liability.

 

You have no liability to pay the Council in the Council's eyes as you are not registered with them - you do however have a contracted stipulation in your tenancy agreement to pay your share of the tax. IMHO not doing so will breach your agreement.

 

I am curious - what does the LL intend by stating that your housemates' rent 'is not going to be affected'? If you each have an individual agreement for your rooms, with no joint liability, then they have no obligation to pay your rent to the LL if you leave.

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This is bizzare, i've never heard of a council not collecting tax! I do know that if you're not all students there is a reduction of 20% in the council tax bill and everyone in the house is liable for this - student or not.

Any posts submitted here on the Consumer Action Group under the user name GlasweJen may not necessarily be the view of the poster, CAG or indeed any normal person.

 

I've become addicted to green blobs (I have 2 now) so feel free to tip my scales if I ever make sense.;-)

 

 

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I understand that a house occupied wholly by students receives 100% exemption. In our case, I don't know if everyone can be liable - because of our seperate agreements.

 

Other pertinent (but here irrelevant) fact is that a student who is "intercalating" (taking a year out) and remains registered at their university is treated as a student (so say the NUS). I, unfortunately, am not registered at uni for this year, so that doesn't apply.

 

 

you do however have a contracted stipulation in your tenancy agreement to pay your share of the tax. IMHO not doing so will breach your agreement.
Have been looking at the council tax rules - apparently its partly on the occupants and partly on the building. Looks like they discount the student occupants, but the liable person still get hit with the cost of the whole property (even the student-occupied proportion of it). Am wondering whether to approach the landlord about splitting it. It's just a rather large bill (more than I ever would have expected).
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APK here in Scotland at least all occupants are jointly liable for council tax regardless of wether or not they are students. I know this to be true because a friend is in the same position, 4 students and 1 non-student and all 5 of them are billed for council tax on the property. They do pay at a discounted rate though.

Any posts submitted here on the Consumer Action Group under the user name GlasweJen may not necessarily be the view of the poster, CAG or indeed any normal person.

 

I've become addicted to green blobs (I have 2 now) so feel free to tip my scales if I ever make sense.;-)

 

 

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Legally, I dont see any way in which you are not wholly responsible to pay the council tax in question. In addition, this is one of the few breaches of contract which could well actually result in the courts granting possession via a Section 8 notice.

 

That said, you may as well sit tight for now, as that is clearly NOT a section 8 notice you have been issued. Therefore, he cannot evict at the end of the 2 month notice he has issued.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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The tax bill should be split thusly:

Say the bill is £100 per month (I know, we wish). The student discount will take £25 off that bill. Remainder £75. Each tenant should pay £18.75.

 

Alternatively, if the students in the house feel aggrieved about paying the same rate as a non-student, then:

The bill is £100. After discount: £75. The students pay £14 each, and the non-student pays £34, allowing the students to benefit from their discount.

 

In the part of my post that you quoted above, APK, I was talking about a breach of your tenancy agreement. If it undertakes you to pay your part of the tax on the property, by not paying it then you are indeed breaching, and the landlord is within his rights to serve (proper) notice upon you for this breach.

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Thank you all for the advice. I spoke with the landlord, have agreed to pay. It seems there was a second page to the bill, which I didn't get copied in on :confused: which had payment options broken down into a more managable amount. The figure I was initially presented with was truly outrageous. Same total though, but I don't want to breach the contract, and installments are much easier.

 

If it undertakes you to pay your part of the tax on the property, by not paying it then you are indeed breaching...

 

This was the way I was wondering if it could go - if I pay my portion of the tax, rather than all of it. (much as you outline, in fact).

 

In the end, though, I don't feel right asking students for council tax they wouldn't pay if I weren't living with them. Am post-rationalising it as a good deed for the year :rolleyes:.

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I am curious - what does the LL intend by stating that your housemates' rent 'is not going to be affected'? If you each have an individual agreement for your rooms, with no joint liability, then they have no obligation to pay your rent to the LL if you leave.

 

Stating the obvious, I think. I discovered in our little chat this evening that the landlord had not entirely considered all the implications when he offered the separate contracts.

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Ha! at least you scored that point!

 

The large lump sum must have been the entire year's bill; thankfully, the Council usually allow you to pay in ten or so installments. However, if even one payment is late/not made, then they have the right to demand the whole amount, in one go, right now, Mister. I know of no other body with that much power. Pff.

 

It's nice of you to take on the entire amount; I'm not sure I would have been so accommodating if I were in your position, but I'm mean. :)

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Click the scales if I've been useful! :)

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Indeed, you are now paying something that your flatmates are liable for which is grossly unfair, they are only entitled to a 20% discount! You're a lot more generous than me.

Any posts submitted here on the Consumer Action Group under the user name GlasweJen may not necessarily be the view of the poster, CAG or indeed any normal person.

 

I've become addicted to green blobs (I have 2 now) so feel free to tip my scales if I ever make sense.;-)

 

 

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