This week the Contact Centre Advisors were able to explain the different options a member had for regaining possession of their property.
Our member was faced with a difficult situation. The tenant was often late with their rent and was usually in arrears though never a full month in arrears. This is because the tenant was paying most of the rent each month, but not all of it.
The landlord was understandably frustrated at this and their relationship with the tenant was breaking down.
Although our member was sympathetic to their tenant’s situation and had tried to help, they felt it was now the time to get possession as they felt the situation was getting worse.
After discussing the rent arrears with our member, we established that serving a section 8 notice would not be a mandatory ground for possession as rent arrears never totalled 2 months or more. It was suggested that the member consider using section 21 for this situation instead.
This tenancy was originally signed for a 6-month fixed term and had since gone periodic. A deposit had been taken and within 30 days of receipt it was lodged in a scheme. All relevant prescribed information and documentation was provided to the tenant. The tenant was also provided with a copy of the EPC and the How to rent booklet before signing the tenancy.
The problems arose here in relation to the gas safety certificate. Although the certificate was valid and in place at the time, our landlord had not obtained any evidence of the tenants being given a copy of the certificate.
This left our member in a tricky position The member could fill out a certificate of service to use as evidence. However, it would be up to the court to decide whether this was acceptable.
Of course the member still had the option of pursuing possession proceedings through grounds 10 and 11 but as the Court does not have have to make a possession order if the ground is not mandatory.
We advised our member that should he serve a section 21 then he would need to fill out a certificate of service in this case. However, for the future, he should ensure he is always getting sufficient evidence of the service of these documents at the start of the tenancy. We recommended getting the tenant to sign the RLA’s start of tenancy checklist whenever they move in, in the future.
Maria Sheldon, Contact Centre Team Leader, said “This kind of situation can happen even to the most experienced landlord, and highlights just how important having a clear record of what actions you undertake as a landlord can be. Without proof of the gas safety being served to a tenant, landlords are unlikely to be able to be successful when using a section 21 notice.”