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6 months In arrears Section 8

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Author Topic: 6 months In arrears Section 8  (Read 271 times)
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« on: April 18, 2021, 10:27:46 PM »

Good evening. Complying with the COVID act I can give my tenant 4 weeks notice as they are more than 6 months in arrears. My question is,  assuming they donít leave after the 4 weeks is up,  if they reduce that to under 6 months by the court  hearing date will it be dismissed as in the old 2 months arrears limit. Many thanks
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2021, 10:11:22 AM »

There was talk that the Covid blanket  6 months notice would revert back to 2 months soon,but that seems to be on a back burner.When the time comes ,serving 21 would remove the kind of loopholes you refer to.I think you may be confusing the length of rent arrears with the period of notice that is  now required for all tenants due to Covid. Landlords always had to give 2 months notice, not 4 weeks.
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2021, 10:35:38 AM »

Take a gander at this...

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/eviction/eviction_after_a_section_8_notice

If a Tenant was given notice "On or after 29 August 2020" then the minimum notice period is "6 months - if less than 6 months' arrears" or "4 weeks - if 6 months' arrears or more". I would assume nothing has changed if the Tenant pays down a bit... bringing it under the 6 months... I doubt Courts really like kicking people out... plus, at the top of the page it states in a pull-out section - "No evictions by bailiffs will take place until after 31 May except in very limited circumstances." (without really describing what they may be) so please do set your expectations realistically.
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2021, 12:51:06 PM »

My error,I had not realised there was allowance made for length of arrears.Still better off serving 21 surely? 
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2021, 04:33:57 PM »

Thanks for the replies. Yes Hippo that was the main point I was wondering with regards to making payment to bring it below 6 month arrears. Can find plenty of info regarding the previous 2 months ruling but nothing in the COVID act links that specifically mentions 6 months. Regards serving 21 notice, made the error of securing the deposit late so without refunding it wonít be valid..... will also for the time being putting tenant below 6 month arrears
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2021, 05:44:53 PM »

Quote
(ii) any of Grounds 8, 10 or 11 in Schedule 2 to this Act is specified in the notice and at the time the notice is served less than six months' rent is unpaid,

The relevant test is at the time the notice is served, so no, reducing the arrears after the notice is served wouldn't help the tenant.

The ground 8 requirements that if rent is payable monthly, at least 2 months rent is unpaid at the date of the hearing remains.
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2021, 05:47:43 PM »

Regards serving 21 notice, made the error of securing the deposit late so without refunding it wonít be valid..... will also for the time being putting tenant below 6 month arrears

Returning a deposit won't affect what the arrears is, unless the tenant pays you it back (explicitly or by agreement without actually receiving the money first) to reduce the arrears.

Either way, the tenant can sue you / counterclaim for the penalty, which if it brings the arrears down to below two months (assuming monthly rent), would invalid your ground 8 claim.
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2021, 09:12:41 PM »

Thanks again. The thing I canít establish is that although the arrears now has to be at least  6 months on serving is it now 6 months at the time of the hearing or does it revert back to 2 months as was the case before the new COVID act
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2021, 09:31:55 PM »

The ground, as set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988, hasn't changed. For ground 8 to be valid, both at the time of the service of the notice and date of the hearing, the unpaid rent must be 8 weeks/2 months/3 months if rent is payable weekly or fortnightly/monthly/quarterly or yearly. How long a notice relying on that ground is set out in section 8 of the Act. And that's where six months/4 weeks comes in, and the test is only at the time the notice is served.
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2021, 10:49:49 PM »

Thanks KTC thatís encouraging
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2021, 03:42:40 PM »

There are big gaps in my knowledge,particularly around the issue of evictions due to rent arrears.In theory,could a crafty tenant keep drip-feeding  sums of money towards the debt,in order to stymie the landlord's attempts to issue S8 ?
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2021, 03:51:03 PM »

This is what was often reported... and seen on TV programmes too... obviously it can't go on forever, sizeable sums must change hands at some point, right? However, this line from KTC is of most interest - "...the test is only at the time the notice is served." which implies it would not be possible. However, you'd need to have complete traceability of your incoming rent payments (or lack of them)... or some admissible acceptance of the situation from the Tenant, I guess.
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2021, 04:07:56 PM »

It does sound as if tenants could exploit this if they get their timing right.God help us if they abolish S21.
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2021, 04:30:53 PM »

However, this line from KTC is of most interest - "...the test is only at the time the notice is served." which implies it would not be possible.

That's only for whether the notice period is 4 weeks or 6 months due to COVID-19. The 2 months unpaid (if rent is monthly) tests are both at the time of service and date of hearing.

In normal time, a landlord would be advise to give notice under not only ground 8, but also ground 10 and 11. If the tenant make just enough payment to take the arrears down to less than 2 months just before hearing, it would be advisable for the landlord to go to the hearing anyway and hopefully get a suspended possession order under ground 10 and 11. If the tenant don't then keep up with the rent, the landlord can then go back to court. Also, it may work to remove the mandatory ground by paying just enough, still mean owed rent is being paid, and if the tenant don't then keep up with the rent, it'll just go back above the threshold the following month and you can serve (what is normally) 2 weeks notice again.

In normal time because you cannot currently combine a 4 weeks ground 8 notice for more the 6 months arrears with grounds 10 and 11. If you do, the combined notice must be 6 months.
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2021, 04:57:06 PM »

It does sound as if tenants could exploit this if they get their timing right.God help us if they abolish S21.

I may also suggest that this kind of behaviour is in the realm of what you might call a "professional Tenant" or scam artist... someone who "knows their rights" and plays them out for as long as they can before they move on to some other mug Landlord... basically, not your typical normal sensible reasonable Tenant who might've ran into financial trouble.
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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2021, 05:46:39 PM »

My brain hurts! This is really complex to grasp.I may be unfair to Shelter and CAB,but I have had the impression that they may encourage otherwise reasonable tenants to employ these tricks.   
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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2021, 05:53:00 PM »

My brain hurts! This is really complex to grasp.I may be unfair to Shelter and CAB,but I have had the impression that they may encourage otherwise reasonable tenants to employ all legal avenues at their disposal.

?
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« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2021, 06:05:27 PM »

When does a tenant employing all legal avenues become a "professional tenant,scam  artist" ?
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2021, 06:55:03 AM »

My point being those organisations advising the Tenants of legal options is valid, if painful. Some other Tenants may set out with the intention.
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2021, 02:19:42 PM »

Yes,absolutely,they are a good thing.However,the individuals giving the advice can have their own axe to grind,they are not always impartial. I was chatting to a retired financier at a social event last year.I mentioned being a landlord and he virtually made the sign of the cross.He now volunteers with CAB. He could buy and sell me,after years in venture capital,and I suspect he seeks salvation for his conscience by advising tenants to never give an inch to resolve matters.
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