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Landlord threats and uninterested Letting Agent.


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Sorry to wade in with a new thread as a newbie but I need help.

 

I have been living in my Flat for 3 years now and I have always paid the rent. Recently I've got into severe cash flow issues and fell behind with the rent. A Section 28 notice was served I managed to catch up again and then fell behind again to the point that I am now 4 months in arrears due to ill heath and subsequent lack of income. The Landlord is aware of the situation as is the letting agent and I have promised to make good on arrears payments as soon as I can. Obviously another Section 28 notice was served but I was told that if i cleared the arrears I could stay. Since then things have got much worse.

 

My agreement as I understand it is that the letting agent are responsible for all communication regarding the tenancy.

Despite this the Landlord continually and persistently has harassed me for months even when I wasn't in arrears.

 

He regularly enters the flat, without a care in the world. On two occasions he has entered whilst I was naked and my girlfriend has had to hide in the bathroom naked and hold the door shut whilst I tried to make him leave.

 

I have hand delivered letters of complaint to the letting agent about this unacceptable behaviour but to no avail. They simply don't want to know!

 

The Landlord does not have a good grasp of English so conversations are pointless really as they end up with him shouting at me in a foreign language and me trying to tell him in English that he can't just walk in when he feels like it.

 

He has confronted my Girlfriend on several occasions and intimidated her in my absence, despite the fact that she is not a signatory on the tenancy agreement and I have asked the Landlord on 3 separate occasions and once in writing to the letting agent insisting that the Landlord stop harassing her. It's almost like a game to him.

 

Today he had a go at my Girlfriend in the street as she was leaving for work the only words that she could understand were that he was changing the locks on the Flat. I understand this to be illegal without him serving notice or going to court first but I have had no communication from anyone regarding this solicitors, letting agent or otherwise prior to this.

 

I contacted the letting agent about the Landlords threat and they said nothing more than the Landlord is taking legal action. They didn't want to know about anything else.

 

Where do I stand? Surely the Landlord can't change the locks without court action. His harassment is now beyond a joke and if he wasn't prepared to allow me time to clear the arrears then why has he not served 2 months notice? My Girlfriend is a nervous wreak today and I just want to get out. But I need time to do so which I won't have if the Landlord changes the locks and forces me out. What do I do if his does do this?

 

I've read these forums a lot in the last three weeks and I know much more about what is what but I am still screwed at the minute and any advice is appreciated. Who do I deal with the letting agent or the Landlord?

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Thoughts:

 

- Deal with letting agent.

- Write to letting agent, stating that if the landlord enters the property once more you will be changing the locks due to the severe infringement on your quiet enjoyment of the property, and billing them for this.

- If he does enter once more, change the locks and deduct the cost from the rent. Do NOT supply them with a key.

- Also mention to the letting agent that the landlord has implied that he will unlawfully evict you.

 

Bear in mind that you will almost certainly end up being evicted after this though.

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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Thanks for the reply. I'm not bothered about being kicked out as the situation is such that I can't bear being there any longer as soon as I can escape I will.

 

What does worry me is that he will evict me and basically not give me any time now to find somewhere else to live.

 

How long do I have if he goes to court and gets a eviction order? 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 months?

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litebox,in reply to your posts and in my view:

 

1.Do as Mr.Shed has already suggested.

 

2.A notice gives you 2 months and if you are not out by the end of the 2 months the landlord cannot evict you without a court order.

 

3.If the landlord changes the locks you could apply to the county court for an injunction to make the landlord allow you to re-enter the property.If the landlord does not abide by the injunction this becomes contempt of court and your landlord could end up in the nick!

 

4.You say that your are sick and your income has dwindled - Have you applied for help with paying your rent?I am sure you would be able to get some form of help and get the application backdated from when your income became lower/became ill.

 

Anyway,I hope you find this information useful.

 

If you have any questions,just ask.

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Thanks. I am self employed so doubt that I can get financial help.

 

Anyway things have taken another nasty turn. I wrote to the letting agent about the landlords threats and harassment of my girlfriend.

 

Today my girlfriend called be to say that she got in and the flat was unlocked and the lights on with a note on the stairs. The note said; "We will be back!"

Nothing else. (The note was written using one of my post it notes on my desk.)

 

The landlords 2 nephews then walked in and told her that they had an eviction order and that if we weren't out by Friday 6pm they would throw our belongings out onto the street.

 

I got back and found one of the nephews waiting for me in his car. I asked him what he was doing and he stood over me shouting at me; "Where's my money! Where's my money! Why haven't you paid me! I want my money! Answer me! Why aren't you answering me!" Because I couldn't get a word in and I was shocked and pretty intimidated.

 

I asked him why he was threatening me and being aggressive and told him to calm down. I asked him if he wasn't prepared to allow me to try to settle the arrears and stay then why didn't the landlord serve notice? or go to court? I also asked him why he thought he could just go into the flat.

 

He just started shouting at me again and said, "Do you want this to get nasty!" All the time standing over me toe to toe so to speak. If I took a step backward he just thrust himself towards doing the hard man bit. He didn't have anything from the courts and he eventually drove off sticking his finger up at me. My Girlfriend is still in pieces.

 

What the hell do I do now. Call the Police?

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litebox,in reply to your post and in my view:

 

1.You should be able to apply for housing benefit/council tax benefit and Family Tax Credits.Being self-employed would not make your application declined because of these reasons.It would depend on your income over say the last 12 months.Anyway,if I were in your position I would contact both the council and the Family Tax Credits office.

 

2.Regarding the threats etc you should go to the police as the police have the powers to interfere in this sort of situation but equally you should try to sort out paying the landlord the rent.A good starting point would be for you to do as I suggested in point 1 above.

 

I hope this helps.

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It does help and thank you for the reply. But I'm pretty disturbed right now and I'm thinking that I can't risk having all my possessions thrown into the street on Friday and I've nowhere to go anyway.

 

I'm going to the Police first thing in the morning. I know that I have serious arrears for the rent but I've also been 100% up front about that with the letting agent and have been told that if I pay I can stay. Because before now I've had a total of 6 years good history with the letting agent through my renting property with them. They even told me that I was a good client!

 

Now the letting agent don't seem bothered and have just said well it's gone legal and it's the Landlords family that are making threats. I've have absolutely no communication from the courts or any solicitors and have not been given any date by which to move out. I've not been asked to go to court. And I don't understand.

 

If my promise to make good the arrears wasn't acceptable and I would understand that why haven't they or the letting agent given me a date to leave by? It makes no sense. I'm just getting threats instead and am being bullied. I don't want to be somewhere where I'm not wanted so I would have gone earlier if this was not agreeable to them.

 

I'm seriously worried about Friday now as their is no way that I can find somewhere else and move out in that time. How can they have obtained an eviction order without letting me go to court to discuss it? and if they have got one why did they not show it to me? None of it makes sense.

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litebox,I would just like to add:

 

1.You should try and bring down your arrears to less than 2 months arrears otherwise you will be at risk of being evicted - here I mean the proper legal process and not the owner/his mob physically thowing you out of the property.

 

2.If you were given a proper notice - Section 21 you would have two months to remain in the property and if you had not moved out by the end of the two months the landlord would need a court order to evict you.

 

3.If you are physically removed from the property the landlord and whoever is involved are committing a criminal offence which could also have a jail term/fine attached to it.

 

4.Another suggestion would be for you to contact your local council's private tenancy officer explaining the current situation in full detail.This service is free and he/she can contact the landlord and warn him about his dealings with you which fall in the realm of illegal activities i.e. threats etc and if he continues he will be potentially prosecuted.

 

Also it is the council that would normally prosecute a landlord and not the police should an illegal eviction occur.The police prosecute in event of actual violence on the person i.e. gbh/abh etc.

 

5.See how you get on with the police and update us.

 

All the best!

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The harrassment is more than just harrassment also. Unlawful eviction, a serious criminal offence, is based upon intent, not reality. In other words, the attempt to unlawfully evict you is in itself an offence of unlawful eviction - they do not have to succeed in evicting.

 

Pretty shameful display by the landlord to be honest. This is definitely rapidly becoming a criminal matter. Needless to say, I think you need to be looking elsewhere ASAP.

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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Today's events.

 

8 O'Clock this morning the Landlords nephew knocked on the door and shouted, "If you don't open up I'm coming in!"

 

I'm beyond arguing about the trespass thing because they just don't care and I was on my way to answering the door anyway. As soon as I opened the door I got a face full of verbal. "Where my f******g money!, Where's my money! Your making my look like a t**t! Give me my f*****g money!" etc..etc.. I said "Look I had all this last night. I don't have the money right now" etc..

 

The jist of the rest of the discussion if you can call it that is the nephew swearing at me and then telling me that his brother was going to do me in.

 

I asked why if he didn't like the proposal made to the letting agent to repay the arrears, he didn't serve notice instead of threatening me and making false claims about eviction orders?

 

He told me that I have until "the end of the weekend" to get out and that "My brother wants to do you in! If you are still here after the weekend I can't guarantee what's going to happen to you!" He then told me that he wasn't threatening me! Yeah right!!!

 

He told me that he could go to the courts but it would take too long and if I wasn't out by the end of the weekend he couldn't guarantee my safety.

 

I was pretty shocked to say the least and said you can't expect me to go that quickly I've nowhere to go. He didn't care and left.

 

I've not gone to the Police because I'm too worried about what the pair of these psychos will do. If I do he can quite easily torch my car and no one will be able to prove anything.

 

I just said I'll get out and I've started boxing everything up. I've gone and got a lock up that I can't afford to be honest but I have to and I will have to sleep in my car.

 

Then to top it all the most amzingly crazy thing!!!

 

I read my post and I have a letter from the County Court. It is a General Form of Judgment or Order.

 

Addressed to me it says:

 

Before DISTRICT JUDGE etc....

 

Upon reading the court file

 

IT IS ORDERED THAT

 

1. Dismissed.

 

2. The claimant has not given notice as required by S.21 Housing Act 1988.

 

This is dated the 5th Sept which is when the Landlords nephews suddenly blew up at me.

 

So they went to court without service notice and tried to blind side me with the Judge who thankfully has Dismissed it completely!

That's why they are threatening me.

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I am going to go to the Police and report all of this. But only after it's safe to do so. As at the moment I've been told that I'm going to be done in if I don't do what they say and that "You have a car don't you!" Which I know exactly what they mean. If I go to the Police before I am out and safe or I don't do as they say I'm going to get it and no one will be able to prove a thing!

 

I know what the Police will do. They will go round it will be denied by smiling faces and kind words about how they are no threat and then I will get set upon.

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I just came across this browsing the forum. Jesus, you've had a really hard time.

 

One thing that might help is that you may be able to get Income Support for the period that you were off work sick. My girlfriend is self-employed and got knocked off her bike by some guy who ran a red light and then failed to stop, and it looks like she'll get Income Support - althought it might be too late for you to claim. Probably worth a go though.

 

On that note don't expect anything out of the dole office - I think they are the only organisation in the world whose business model means they have to provide the worst possible service. If you were in Scotland I'd recommend Edinburgh Claimants - Edinburgh Claimants - who are a really great bunch of guys. You might still get something out of calling them; they might be able to recommend a similar service in your area.

 

I hope you manage to go to the police over this, although I do understand the problems involved with doing that. Have you considered filming them when they threaten you? You can get some very discrete cameras from Maplin. Not sure if this would be admissable as evidence though.

 

Good luck. All this sort of stuff should have been sorted out in society many years ago, but with everyone going freelance it just makes things more difficult.

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Keep a full log of all incidents for the police. Get secret recordings where possible also.

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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Harassment is a criminal offence under section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The police have power to prosecute in the Magistrates Court. This offence carries a term of 6 months imprisonment.

 

Where the harassment consists of the landlord entering premises let to you, the police should be quick to act. The existence of the tenancy gives you a legal right to exclude the landlord from the premises entirely, except to carry out repairs, when he must give reasonable notice (in writing).

 

You can also sue the landlord for compensation in the County Court. Sums of thousands of pounds have been awarded against offensive landlords!

 

Secondlt, a landlord harassing an occupier of residential premises also commits a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

 

For example, if he fails to give you at least 4 weeks notice to quit the premises, in the prescribed form, he commits a criminal offence. He also commits a criminal offence if he evicts you before obtaining a court order for repossession.

Note

 

This is a self-help forum in which users share their experiences. Assistance is offered informally, without any assumption of liability. Use your own judgement; obtain advice from a qualified and insured professional if you have any doubts.

 

This posting gives general guidance only. It is not an authoritative statement of the law. Consult a Solicitor for specific advice before deciding on any course of action.

 

 

Further information:

 

Assured and Shorthold tenancies - A guide for tenants

 

Renting and Leasehold - Advice from Shelter

 

 

All posts are opinion only

 

 

If you've found my suggestions useful, please click on my star and add a comment

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Report the incidents to the court, they should be able to help as the landlord clearly is in breach of the order now and could be done for contempt of court.

 

DO call the police, you don't need to personally visit the station to make a complaint, explain the situation to them (and explain about the court order being dismissed) and they should be able to do something. At the very least you need a restraining order on the landlord's family... I don't know how you go about this though.

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Report the incidents to the court, they should be able to help as the landlord clearly is in breach of the order now and could be done for contempt of court.

 

DO call the police, you don't need to personally visit the station to make a complaint, explain the situation to them (and explain about the court order being dismissed) and they should be able to do something. At the very least you need a restraining order on the landlord's family... I don't know how you go about this though.

 

 

No. There are no current court proceedings and no one is in breach of any court order, so there are no grounds for contacting the court.

 

A harassed tenant can sue in the county court, under the civil jurisdiction in the 1997 Act, but it is easier and more effective to let the police prosecute.

 

A hefty fine or 6 month jail term for the landlord will be more effective than any civil remedies in the county court.

Note

 

This is a self-help forum in which users share their experiences. Assistance is offered informally, without any assumption of liability. Use your own judgement; obtain advice from a qualified and insured professional if you have any doubts.

 

This posting gives general guidance only. It is not an authoritative statement of the law. Consult a Solicitor for specific advice before deciding on any course of action.

 

 

Further information:

 

Assured and Shorthold tenancies - A guide for tenants

 

Renting and Leasehold - Advice from Shelter

 

 

All posts are opinion only

 

 

If you've found my suggestions useful, please click on my star and add a comment

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Agree 100% with Ed - contacting the court is a waste of time. There is more than one breach of criminal law in this example, and the police are the people to go to.

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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