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Deposit move and possible Section 21 ? Please help !

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772 views 1 replies latest reply: 31 March 2015

Brief History : We have been renting for 5 and a half years, our original landlord went bust and since then the development we are on has been sold off to various parties, who in various guises seem to be divisions of multi national banks. For the last 2 years we have been dealing with a multinational agent Arim. ( Who I have posted about on here previously ) 

Problem : We don’t have a fixed contract and have not been able to obtain one, we have a rolling month by month contract, this has been the case for the last 3 years. In Oct 2014 we was served with a section 21 out of the blue, which was somewhat of a shock and was given 6 weeks to leave the house…we was devestated that the landlord / Arim showed us little regard and considering we have been renting the same house for several years, it would of been a struggle to find a house and move within 6 weeks as we have children in local schools and work commitments etc. 

Out of the blue they dropped the section 21 and we received a letter stating that the ‘ house had been sold again to another faceless landlord’ we could continue to rent on a month by month basis.

In Feb 2015, I was verbally asked if we would move our despoit from our original DPS to another scheme ( TDS ) I refused to commit myself and asked for this request in writing, which I didn’t receive.

The agent has been in touch again and is now pressurising me to move the desposit. 

Am I right in thinking ??? That the original section 21 may of been served incorrectly ?

If the desposit was lodged with our ( original landlord )  on a fixed term basis a section 21 can only be valid with that landlord. And since the property has changed hands several times, the previous landlords section 21 was not valid, because they didn’t originally lodge the deposit ? 

If I agree to move the deposit to a new scheme on the landlord / agents request, the new landlord / agent could issue us with a new section 21 because the deposit has been moved ?? ….as the deposit would now be linked with the new landlord and as a resullt and we could be handed a new section 21 and asked to move again at short notice because we don’t have a contract ? 

What rights do we have and what happens if I don’t agree to comply with their request ?

Any advice would be really helpful as the agent is very instistant that it’s for our benefit and keeps chasing me for an answer which I am reluctant to give without proper advice.

Many thanks, 

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Hi Elizabeth

If you’re on a monthly rolling contract (a periodic tenancy) then as far as I know the minimum notice period the landlord must give you is two months (Section 21(4)(a) of the Housing Act 1988). The day on which the notice expires must be the last day of a period of the tenancy.

In terms of the deposit, it is the landlord’s responsibility to protect the deposit so it’s also their responsibility to transfer it – i.e. that falls to your new landlord so I’m not sure why the agent is asking you to do it. The DPS themeselves state that here (see the FAQ on ‘The property has just been sold and new agents/landlords will be taking over the tenancy. What do we need to do to transfer agents/landlords?’)

When an AST becomes a statutory periodic a new tenancy is created and the deposit protection rules must be complied with again. That means that when your tenancy became periodic the landlord at the time should have reprotected the deposit and sent you the information within 30 days in order to be able to issue a section 21.

Essentially, if your current landlord hasn’t protected your deposit then I imagine that would make the section 21 invalid. I don’t know what your agent is doing asking you to make the transfer – or issuing you with six weeks notice rather than two months – I can only imagine that they’re inept or trying to cover their own mistakes somehow by forcing you to act, as is normally the case when agents start bullying like that.

I’m not a lawyer but I would:

– point out to the agent they need to give you two months notice

– ask why you never received information (called the Prescribed Information) within 30 days, as required by law, when the tenancy became periodic (i.e. a new tenancy that required fresh deposit protection)

– ask why the current landlord didn’t issue you with new information when the deposit was transferred to them (we know it hasn’t been but this might highlight to the agent that it should have been)

-note that as you don’t have information on where your deposit is currently held that means it could be unprotected, which would invalidate the section 21 and give you the opportunity to apply to court for compensation for an unprotected deposit.

If you want to stay in the property then you could use the problems above as a negotiating tool to try and secure a fixed term AST. Remember that to remove you from the property the landlord/agents would need a court order – they can’t show up and start harassing you and they can’t touch your things. Only a court appointed bailiff could remove you and for that the section 21 notice would have to be valid.

Does that help?


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