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Defending section 8: Some technical and general questions

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Author Topic: Defending section 8: Some technical and general questions  (Read 135 times)
Jr. Member
Posts: 66

I like property

« on: July 12, 2022, 01:04:07 AM »

Hi,

Hope everyone is well. Just need some advice/your thoughts on this matter below:

Context:
1) I am on AST in England and like many people due to Covid got into rent arrears in 2020.
2) But, communicated to estate agent and agreed a payment plan and sticking by it since then.
3) Despite that, LL served me section 8 in April 2021, when asked I was told that was to 'cover their backs'
4) Payment plan continued to be adhered to and in July 2021, without any indication another section 8 was served which I understand because of rule change with notice period (same grounds 8. 10 and 11)
5) Aug 2021, agent ask for a revised payment plan as LL wanted rent arrears to clear quickly - so we gave another plan which was accepted.
6) We continued to stick to it, until we slipped up in April due to some unfortunate event - but we communicated that promptly and made up for that in the next months.
7) But, LL in May 2022 has taken legal action on the basis of section 8 served in July 2021.
8) Courts have just sent me the defense papers and notice of hearing which is at the end of this month.

The outstanding arrears as of now are still more than two months rent (around 5k) - so my questions are as follows.

Questions (technical):
a) I take section 8 notices have 1 year validity, but when they were served in July 2021, the same ground of 8, 10 and 11 were used. I can admit ground 8, but discretionay grounds 11 may not apply. or is it just that by virtue of 8, at all times both 10 and 11 also applies? (Pls note, by then I have also been keeping up with the payment plan)

b) In the possession clai, they seem to rely on a notice served on a different date (two days after the section 8 was served) - does this make the claim invalid or it is just a clerical mistake? I was going to argue since several section 8 notices were served, I am not sure what the notice on that wrong date says as I had not received it. is this credible?

c) Since the start of the tenancy, the agents changed one party to another and the PI served for deposit protection has the address of the previous agent (but the landlord name is correct and it has not changed) - does this give rise to any counterclaim as new PI with new address of the new agent was never served?

Questions (General):
c) I am happy to pay-off the arrears, but I do not want any order made against me as I never had any in my life. What options do I have to get this claim dismissed or dropped?

d) if an order is made against me, even a suspended one, will I need to pay the legal costs of the LL - which is around 500 ? how can I avoid that as I really do not want to pay extra ?

e) I am happy to bring the arrears below 2 months rent by the time of hearing - would that mean ground 8 is automatically dismissed? (I will argue against 10 and 11 as apart of one mishap I have been paying additional amount towards arrears on top of normal rent)

f) I had a massive row with the agent for failing to do repair - can I use that as a defence as it could also well be revenge eviction?

g) Also, as part of the row, I asked the agents to reveal the name and contact of the LL as I wanted to talk with them directly, but I was only given a company name and no details of representatives - I think this is a legal breach, can I use in anyway to counterclaim?


I look forward for your replies. Thanks for reading.
Full Member
Posts: 115

I like property

« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2022, 04:50:54 PM »

a) If ground 8 is satisfied , grounds 10 and 11 don't matter, because 8 is mandatory for repossession. If ground 8 is not satisfied, based on your conduct, I'd be astonished if the court awarded possession to the landlord.

b) If the notice was posted to you first class, it's deemed to have been served 2 working days after being posted. It doesn't sound like a serious enough error to make the notice invalid, on the face of it. But I'm not the judge!

c) Unless the deposit protection changed, there's no need for any new PI just because the agent changed.

c2) Pay the arrears so that ground 8 is not satisfied. Or, ideally, pay off the arrears in total, so that 10 is also not relevant. Ground 11 shouldn't be an issue if the landlord has agreed a rent repayment plan.

d) Yes, unless something very weird happens, the loser in the case pays the costs of the winner.

e) Yes, and your arguments should prevail in my view (again, I'm not the judge).

f) Your defence wouldn't be revenge eviction, which isn't a defence against a section 8 notice. Your defence is the disrepair, which has not been addressed. The argument is that the landlord is claiming that rent of x is due, but in reality, the debt should be offset by y which is the compensation due to you for having to live with the defects.

g) The agent cannot refuse to give you their name and address if you request it in writing. The problem is that not doing so is a criminal offence, not a civil issue. You can use it in your counterclaim, but it's hard to see what loss you have suffered without the information. The landlord's details should be on the notice, though. f your landlord is a person, the company details are not relevant, if the landlord is a company, they might be.
Jr. Member
Posts: 66

I like property

« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2022, 09:46:58 PM »

Hi @JPKEATS,

Thanks a lot for the reply for each of my questions.

The landlord is a Bank trust, so not a person - no where in the form - I know their names...

Regarding deposit protection PI, the only one I was given had the previous agent's address as for the landlord's address...

since that agent is no longer in the picture, I should have been served a new PI?
Full Member
Posts: 115

I like property

« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2022, 11:38:52 AM »

If your landlord is an organisation, you only need the name and address of the organisation - as long as it's a legal person, you don't need any actual names.

There's no mechanism in the legislation relating to a change in the details relating to a deposit.
There's no reason I can see that requires new Prescribed Information because a landlord's address has changed.
The information was correct when the PI was served and there's no requirement to keep if up to date.
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