Email from Housing Department claiming Section 21 is NOT legal enforceable?
I issued a section 21 notice in mid Dec 2016 with a notice of occupation being 28 Feb 2017, to tenants who are currently on a periodic tenancy (as the AST expired years ago). I received this email from the local council today.....
The tenant is who received and signed for receipt is the wife (husband, wife and children are named on the AST as well a Section 21).
I'm a bit confused? Have I done anything wrong? I've given them 2.5 months notice, I am a owner/landlord living overseas and i wish to sell the property. Deposit was registered secured with TDS in 2012.
Please see, email body below:-
"I write in relation to your tenant at the above address, as she has contacted us for advice and assistance regarding her housing situation.
Ms xxxx has supplied us with a notice of seeking possession that appears to have been signed by herself and as such we have advised her that it is invalid and NOT legally enforceable against her. Recent correspondence from yourself suggests that you are of the view that your tenant has been asked to leave but I must advise you that the council cannot consider her to be threatened with homelessness unless, as an assured shorthold tenant of the above address, she is subject to a valid notice under the appropriate legislation.
In order to gain possession of a property, a valid notice served under the relevant section of The Housing Act 1988 must be served. The “automatic no fault” form of notice must be served in compliance with Section 21 of he Said Act. A Section 8 notice can be used if the tenant is in breach of the tenancy agreement. I must stress that this is a point of law and not a direction purely from Huntingdonshire District Council. This is a link to the Government website that offers information to landlords about these issues: https://www.gov.uk/browse/housing-local-services/landlords.
You will see that a notice requiring possession must give a tenant a minimum of two clear months. It must also end at the end of the rental period if the tenancy was periodic from the start, and must state that it is served under the Housing Act 1988 Section 21. In addition, you will see that there are some conditions attached to landlords using this procedure to regain possession, most notably that any security deposit paid by the tenant must have been protected in one of the Government schemes within 30 days of the start of the tenancy. There are also more stringent requirements on the landlord if the tenancy began on or after 01 October 2015.
In the absence of a legally enforceable notice, your tenant has a legal right to occupy the property, and the tenancy persists. If you feel there are clear grounds for possession, you should serve notice and if necessary apply to the courts following the correct procedure.
If you are still unsure how to gain legal possession, I would suggest that you seek advice from a solicitor well versed in landlord and tenant matters who would be able to guide you through the process, serve the appropriate documentation on your behalf and, if necessary, obtain a possession order for you through the courts. Whilst the Council appreciates that some landlords are unclear as to their legal responsibilities, to evict, or even attempt to evict, a tenant without following the proper procedure is unlawful and the Council has powers to prosecute landlords or their representatives who harass tenants or evict them without going through the proper procedures.
The council will continue to advise Ms xxxxx as necessary, but cannot encourage her to act on any Notice that is believed to be invalid, as to do so may render her intentionally homeless. I confirm that she has been copied into this email and can contact us for further advice if she wishes.
I hope the above and the web address is of use, but please do not hesitate to contact myself or one of the other housing officers if you require further clarification."
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