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Section 21

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881 views 1 replies latest reply: 08 January 2015

We moved to our home 31st October we were told to take tennacy before as lanlord was desperate but it was in middle of being ruferbished . We were not happy but did not wont to lose the hosue but we did mention the boiler in the small bedroom and we could smell gas . We did move in but the smell of gas was so strong by 9 went to have a shower which blow all the electrics but thank god it did as we had a gas leak . Wiht no hot water heating and being disabled called lanlord who said he would get some one out but rang back said would be four days . So we moved in to a hotle at a cost of £450 to us , he did agree to cover.  When we did move back in one problem after the outher even blaming us for the leak got so bad we went to stay wiht friends . We said how unhappy we were with the way he was carrying on etc then got email saying best we leave before Febuary . We did stop paying rent last month as he has a depoit now served a section 21 but being very demanding so were do we stand as its costing us to move again and some one said its a brech of contract our they right . Just so worried 

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Hi Anne

This does sound like a very stressful situation, especially in winter.

Does your tenancy agreement have a fixed term? Normally this is 6-12 months (most assured shorthold tenancies will have a fixed term of some sort). If so then your landlord normally can’t ask you to leave before the end of that period which, if you moved in on 31 October is probably still in effect. There’s some information here on section 21 notices but essentially you must normally be given two months to move and the date on which you have to move out shouldn’t be before the end of the fixed term. It’s worth noting that unless your deposit has been protected in an official Tenancy Deposit Scheme (and the details given to you) then the landlord can’t serve a section 21 notice at all (and you could apply for compensation for the unprotected deposit – see here.)

The landlord has a basic responsibility for the repair and maintenance of heating and hot water and installations like the gas – they can’t pass this on to you (info here). I’m not sure how long you’ve been without it in total but if the landlord has had reasonable time to fix these issues and hasn’t since October then they may well be in breach of the tenancy. A successful breach of contract claim would probably mean the landlord would have to pay you for any losses you had suffered as a result of that breach (the hotel etc), possibly also compensation for distress and inconvenience – you would need to take legal advice on this as we are not lawyers (see below for places to get free legal advice).

The issue is that you have stopped paying rent so you’re also in breach of your tenancy agreement. You’ll need to speak to an organisation like Shelter or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau to get some legal advice on this but the landlord should probably have served you with a different type of notice on the grounds of the unpaid rent, rather than a section 21 – if this is at least eight weeks worth then a court would likely automatically give them a possession order. 

So, there’s a lot going on here…I think if you want to look into breach of contract, and to check whether the right notice has been issued, you need to seek legal advice because your situation seems quite complicated. There are free law centres around the UK that offer advice on issues like these (details here) and you also have Shelter, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and a private solicitor as options too. Practically speaking, try to keep records and proof of all expenses and costs if you do want to make a claim.


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