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frank38

Ending a tenancy immediately?

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I was checking the AST my daughter was given by an agent and a clause says:

Ending the agreement immediately

I may enter the property and end this agreement, without affecting my rights by law or under this agreement, if you do any of the following.

a. You do not pay the rent in full within 14 days of it becoming due.

b. You break any condition of this agreement.

c. You become bankrupt.

Is this legal? She is scared the landlord could just come and take the property off her for playing music or not clearing the gutters.

 

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Not legal in the slightest. The are only two ways to evict tenants, the first is a no-fault eviction with a section 21 notice at the end of the tenancy or according to any break clause (by law the landlord cannot seek possession within the first six months by this route). The second way is with a section 8 notice which if for at fault evictions e.g. non payment of rent (the tenant has to be in two months of arrears) or breaking the terms of the contract. With either method the tenant is under no legal obligation to leave the property until the case has been to court. A section 21 eviction will pretty much always be granted unless the notice was filled in incorrectly or if the case falls under the recent revenge eviction laws. A section 8 would be granted for arrears or a gross breach of contract but is unlikely to be granted for something minor like not cleaning the windows. 

This is all assuming a standard AST which all tenancies are unless clearly stipulated otherwise or unless the landlord lives at the property. 

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Meant to also say that I'd advise your daughter to find out whether it was the agent or landlord who put that clause in. If it was the landlord then it sounds like they'll be a nightmare and she should steer clear if possible. 

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Totally unenforceable if it's an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, even if the contract was signed by the tenant. You cannot sign away your statutory rights.

The wording of the clause sounds very homegrown: "I" and "you" rather than "the Landlord" and "the Tenant". I agree with 'This time' that this could be a sign of an unprofessional landlord who thinks the law does not apply to them. Sadly there are many of these about.

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Thanks for the replies.

She moved into her flat a couple of months ago with her tiny dog. On moving in she discussed with the agent having a dog and they said it would be no problem as an unfurnished flat with no carpets. She signed up and moved in. LL now saying get rid of the dog. Now found out the tenancy has this clause and another saying no pets without written permission. Because of this clause she now fearing this eviction with the landlord coming in immediately. Found her today in the flat with the door double locked. Amazed how much LL and agents try to scare young tenants even in first 6 months of an AST.

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2 hours ago, frank38 said:

Thanks for the replies.

She moved into her flat a couple of months ago with her tiny dog. On moving in she discussed with the agent having a dog and they said it would be no problem as an unfurnished flat with no carpets. She signed up and moved in. LL now saying get rid of the dog. Now found out the tenancy has this clause and another saying no pets without written permission. Because of this clause she now fearing this eviction with the landlord coming in immediately. Found her today in the flat with the door double locked. Amazed how much LL and agents try to scare young tenants even in first 6 months of an AST.

Does she actually want to stay there? I believe it is possible to end the tenancy early by mutual agreement.

If she's afraid in her own home she might be better off out.

Edited by Dorkins

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Whilst it is quite true that the landlord cannot "just come and take the property off her [daughter] for playing music or not clearing the gutters" or indeed for any other reason and needs a court order, it is not the case that the words quoted have no effect at all.

First, they are needed because of section 7(6)(b) of the Housing Act 1988.

Secondly, they apply if the tenant ceases to occupy the property because the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 only applies where there is someone in residence.

If posts on legal forums are anything to go by, it is not unusual for agents to agree to something and then not provide for it in the tenancy agreement. In this respect, and indeed in any event, it is important to read the tenancy agreement before signing it. Unfortunately many if not most people do not read legal documents which are more than a page long. If you do read the agreement and it does not reflect what is agreed do not sign it. Do not rely on bland assurances that it will all be all right because the agreement is standard or the agent is not allowed to amend it or whatever else he comes up with.

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7 minutes ago, Damocles said:

First, they are needed because of section 7(6)(b) of the Housing Act 1988.

Secondly, they apply if the tenant ceases to occupy the property because the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 only applies where there is someone in residence.

7(6)(b) refers to court orders. A court is not involved here. From the wording of the clause it sounds like the landlord believes they can evict the tenant without notice and a court order, which would be an illegal eviction and a criminal offence.

The tenant has not abandoned the property.

Edited by Dorkins

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Has she got anything in writing about the dog? Otherwise the dog is probably grounds for a section 8, especially if it has done any damage to the property. I agree with Dorkins that her best bet is to agree leaving early with the landlord on the provision that he gives her a good reference, including for the dog. 

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Thanks for advise. She is 3 months into a 6 months fixed term. The dog is a toy breed dog. Tiny. No damage done there at all. I guess they could try a section 8 to get her out or just let her do the 6 months and then move. She would need time to find a new place anyway and has spent £500+ on moving costs/agency fees so would be a waste to just quit considering they said verbally it was ok.

That clause is just unenforceable as far as I could tell it would be illegal for the LL to try and enforce it.

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The lesson here is to never tell agency or landlord about pets - particularly if it is tiny and traces of it can be hidden when either agency or landlord come to visit. If there's a surprise visit (and there shouldn't be), you are simply looking after it for a friend.  

Poor lass though, this is why renting can so utterly suck when you have scumlords and their petty little rules. 

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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Sorry for late reply.

The letter last week said they would serve notice. The actual agent has not replied to her email she sent at the weekend explaining she had verbal permission.

Only the viewing agent who is not involved in the contract. First they said pets were banned from the building. Now they are saying they are not banned but contract was broken and admitting they did not ever say they were banned from the building. But not admitting the viewing agent said was it ok.

Have to wait and see now if they actually serve notice.  There is three months left on a six month contract so I cannot see them bothering to file a Section 8 in that time frame. She will get a bad reference now whatever happens so no incentive to just move out.

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I think it is worth trying to negotiate for a good reference if she moves ASAP. I think the landlord will bite her hand off - section 8s can be a long and expensive process. 

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11 hours ago, frank38 said:

The letter last week said they would serve notice.

Could just be talk, saying you're going to do something is not the same as doing it.

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