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Revenge eviction

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305 views 1 replies latest reply: 12 March 2017
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Tenant

My landlords agent asked me to sign a new lease and pay to sign again. I said yes I’d sign a new lease (lived here 2 yrs), but no I’m not paying anymore illegal fees. Few days later, they said owner is selling and I’ve been issued with my notice to quit. Can they do this?

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Tenant

Hello, 

Unfortunately, the landlord can probably do this. You have an assured shorthold tenancy, which entitles the landlord to request back their property when the fixed term ends. 

The Section 21 notice you were served with actually doesn’t require the landlord to provide a reason. They may simply request their property back. 

Unfortunately, again, this is not a “revenge eviction” in the sense in which it is considered and punished by the law. Revenge eviction is only related to disrepair in rented property and for the laws to be effective, you must undergo a specific procedure. We published a new blog post a few weeks ago explaining how this works in details and what you must do to make use of this law. Please read that article here, but keep in mind it’s only relevant if you have serious disrepair issues. 

Your issue is related to contract renewal fees, which, although we may argue endlessly about the moral aspect, are perfectly legal and available. Of course, depending on the charges, they may be unfair. For example, if you’re required to sign an ideal copy of the tenancy agreement for your last year, the landlord should not be charging you for drafting a new tenancy agreement, because they just printed a new copy. 

For example, if you’re required to sign an ideal copy of the tenancy agreement for your last year, the landlord should not be charging you for drafting a new tenancy agreement, because they just printed a new copy. 

However, for example, they may charge you for doing a new reference check, but they should show you the actual refreshed reference / background check.

Because you didn’t give us the exact situation, we can take forever in guessing various scenarios. 

In any case, you have three options: 

If you believe your landlord’s renewal charges don’t reflect on additional work / services required to renew the tenancy, then you should seek a solicitor’s advice on the following: 

Although it is the landlord’s right to serve you section 21 notice, without reason and request you to move out in 2 month’s time, you can (hopefully) prove that this is retaliatory action for you not agreeing to their tenancy renewal charges BECAUSE you believe that the charge is not reflected in actual work done or services required to renew the tenancy for another term. 

The landlord is not entitled to profit from tenancy setup charges or renewal charges. They may just recoup the cost of their own expenses or time setting the tenancy up. 

The solicitor will advise you on the likelihood of the above convincing the judge in your favour. 

If you have a solid chance, you may simply not move when the section 21 expires. The landlord will have to initiate court proceedings and you will get a chance to appeal the case with preparation from your solicitor. However, please note that if the judge doesn’t rule in your favour, you will need to move on very short notice (e.g. 2 – 4 weeks) and you will become homeless if you can’t. 

If you have a low chance, it’s best to simply come to terms with the loss and either accept the new charges OR start looking for a new accommodation. 

The landlord’s right to use a section 21 notice is dependent on them following proper procedures and honour their responsibilities. If your landlord has missed / skipped on a basic responsibility like protecting your deposit or serving you important documentation like the government’s How to rent book, they may not have a right to serve you with a valid section 21 notice. 

You can find more information on the above in our dedicated guide on Section 21 notice

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