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Hi, I am hoping to receive some advice please. My situation is pretty messed up, I have a lot of debts due to a gambling addiction but I am trying to sort things out. I still have a job so still have income. Any advice on my renting situation would be appreciated.

 

I moved into a property in October. I paid the deposit and first months rent. I was due to pay rent on 6 November and 6 December neither of which have been paid. I keep telling the letting agent that it is coming but I never have it. He is coming around tonight at 10:30pm to collect 1 months rent but I don't have anything to give him and will need to cancel. I think after this the landlord will want to evict me.

 

I have a 6 months assured shorthold tenancy and the deposit is in a tenancy protection scheme. Regarding rent arrears the contract says:

 

---

If the tenant - (1) is at least fourteen days late in paying the Rent or any part of it, whether or not the Rent has been formally demanded, or

(2) has broken any of the terms of this Agreement

then, subject to any statutory provisions, the Landlord may recover possession of the Property and the tenancy will come to an end. Any other rights or remedies the Landlord may have will remain in force.

 

Note: The Landlord cannot recover possession without an order of the court under the Housing Act 1988.

Note: This clause does not affect the Tenant's rights under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

---

 

I've been trying to read of on my rights on the Shelter site and on here. I've phoned Shelter but been unable to get through to an adviser.

 

I think the first step is that the landlord has to give me notice asking me to leave. Is that right? What is the shortest term it can be? This is my main concern, on some places it says 2 months and on some it says 2 months or 14 days depending on the reason. 14 days and I would have a big problem!

 

Any advice on what I can do? I will have some money at the end of the month but the absolute most I could pay is 1 month. After that at the end of each month I should be able to pay a bit more than 1 month but it will take several months to catch up on the arrears.

 

As a side note, when I moved in the heating/hot water was not working. It took 6 weeks for the agent to get it sorted. Then it broke again yesterday so I am freezing - guess I should get used to it! Do I have any rights at the moment to ask the agent to sort it? I really don't want to let him in if I don't have to given the situation. Also, the flat is a big house converted into 4 flats so has some communal areas - I have never received a key to the back door and I have never received keys to unlock the bathroom window. Also, the agent has a key for the front door. I'm not sure if any of these things matter.

 

Any advice on this would be massively appreciated. I'm going through a lot of stuff at the moment I'm really trying to make a change and sort them out. I want to be able to set out a plan wit the agent, making an offer on how I will catch up with the payments. Or, be able to say, look I understand you want me out but please go through the correct process and give me time.

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Also, one more thing - the period notice they have to give me. I think I read somewhere that it has to fall in with a rent payment date? So if they sent me the letter how the earlier eviction date would be 6 March? I'm really getting muddled up with this. If I make a proposal to the agent I would like to know the dates and my exact rights so I can put down exact figures.

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You say you have loads of debts , by this I assume you mean Consumer Credit Debts, if this is the case forget them and prioritise your rent at all times. Shelter have had a severe funding cut but may be able to help if you are referred through one of the charitable advice organisations such as CAB.

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Yes that's right Crocdoc. Unfortunately I do not think I'll be able to recover this situation with this landlord - after the problems don't see why he would give me an extension beyond the 6 months. Do you have any advise on the points I've raised? Have I interpreted the legislation correctly?

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You're already two months in arrears, so the LL can serve you a s8 notice, using grounds 8,10 and 11. This requires only 2 weeks (14 clear days) before the LL can proceed to court to get possession.

 

If you want to try to resolve this you will have to stop lying to the agents. Meet with them this evening, explain that you cannot afford to pay immediately, but that you will be able to pay at the end of the month, and thereafter you will pay the rent plus an amount to clear the arrears. They may consider this, they may not - they may accept and proceed to court anyway in order to ensure that if you miss future payments they have not wasted time.

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Thanks for the reply Lea. Does the notice have to end on the last day of a tenancy period? So it would be 5th Jan or if the notice is not served shortly move to 5th Feb? I'm not trying to get out of paying the rent I'm just trying to get all of the information in front of me before having dealing with the agent as he is understandably upset with the situation.

 

Also, would I have any grounds to come back to them because of things like the heating being broken for most of the tenancy? I still have not received all keys. Or do thing like that not matter?

 

Again, thanks for your help.

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Thanks for the reply Lea. Does the notice have to end on the last day of a tenancy period? So it would be 5th Jan or if the notice is not served shortly move to 5th Feb? I'm not trying to get out of paying the rent I'm just trying to get all of the information in front of me before having dealing with the agent as he is understandably upset with the situation.

 

Also, would I have any grounds to come back to them because of things like the heating being broken for most of the tenancy? I still have not received all keys. Or do thing like that not matter?

 

Again, thanks for your help.

 

No, the notice just has to give you 14 clear days. If it was served today, it would expire on 28th December and the LL can proceed to issuing court proceedings on 29th December - the courts are likely to be closed, but I believe (though am happy to be corrected) that one can still use possession claims online during the holiday period. Once that is filed, it could be two or three weeks before he gets a hearing, but could be sooner or later depending on how busy the local court that deals with possessions is.

 

Your issues make no difference to the serving of a s8 notice. You are not suggesting you withheld rent because of these issues, merely that you simply could not pay the rent - the two are therefore separate issues.

 

However, despite not paying the rent, you are still entitled to ask the LL to effect repairs on such things as the heating and hot water. He cannot say he is not doing repairs because you haven't paid rent.

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OK thanks for that Lea I understand.

 

Can I just ask, is it section 8 as opposed to section 21 as it is the first 6 months of the tenancy?

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It will likely be a s8 because you are in breach of your tenancy agreement. s21 would take too long for the LL to get rid of you (can't be actioned in first 6 months, only after term has ended). Though I'd expect any savvy LL to serve both notices just in case they didn't secure possession under the s8.

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OK thanks I didn't realise they just had choice like that. Thanks again for your help.

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OK thanks I didn't realise they just had choice like that. Thanks again for your help.

 

Of course LLs have to have a choice - when someone doesn't pay their rent there has to be a quick way for them to re-gain possession of the property in order for them to minimise their losses.

 

It would be unfair if a LL who is getting no rent from a tenant had to wait until 6 months passed before being able to gain possession.

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Lea, I was just meaning I didn't realise they had choice over which section of the law they could use. I thought they applied to different circumstances.

 

Anyway, I told the agent everything via text tonight before our meeting. He has postponed the meeting to tomorrow night - I guess to 'mount up'.

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They do apply to different circumstances: yours warrants a s8 due to breach of tenancy. A s21 is a no fault claim (usually).

 

I expect the agent will turn up with a s8 notice - but that is to be expected and the appropriate move for the LL to make. Be prepared to make the offer of clearing the arrears alongside making regular rent payments.

 

See CAB for some advice on reducing your payments to other debts, or telephone one of the helplines available to assist with that. Rent is a priority payment and should not be foregone in favour of paying other debts.

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As advised above, RENT is priority no.1, all other debts must wait and can be frozen at their present level, with a minmal amount paid each month.

If you have no other assets their is little they can do.

Please seek advice on here or CAB about this.

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One way I had it explained by Shelter was:

Food, warmth and a rof over your head are basic priorities for any human being

Whilst addiction may have a medical root cause, addictions such as drugs, alcohol. gambling, shopping are personal choices, for which there are support agencies avail. If you can afford any of these personal compulsions, without compromising the 3 basic priorites for you or your family, then fine, otherwise seek help.

 

Your T is only 'assured' for as long as rent is paid on time. LL will get mandatory repo with s8 g8 if rent is more than 2 months owing on due date.

At your meeting with LL/LA you should have reduced rent owing to less than 2 month and endevour to keep it below 2 months from then on. Also propose an affordable arrears payment schedule at say 25%. / month, in writing & signed by both parties. Any T lapse could esult in mandatory repo order.

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