The new government’s Queens Speech confirmed that there will be a Bill that will involve the ending of section 21 ‘no ground’ possession procedure. This is something we’ve talked about before. It will be complicated, will involve new grounds of possession for Housing Act 1988 tenancies, and will have to address all those regulatory breaches for which invalidating a section 21 notice is currently a penalty. But still, blimey. This will be a new landscape in many ways. Not all of them good, I strongly suspect.
Of course, the ‘there is no such thing as a no fault eviction’ brigade are out in force, asserting that tenancies are always ended because of tenant fault. For them, may I present this heart-warming Christmas time story from the forum r/LegalAdviceUK on reddit.com (The original 16 December 2019 post has been deleted by the moderators, but was archived with the moderator’s express hope that “the tenants can use this as evidence in their civil claim“). The archived post is here. It reads:
Please listen to the whole truth before you lambaste me.
I asked the family (one woman, four kids, one adult teenager) that live in my property to find another place to live because I wanted the house back. I gave the section 21 notice ages two months ago. They did not leave. I said, ok, if you don’t leave by 1st of December, I will go to court to evict you.
I asked nicely; I told the woman my family are coming to join me for Christmas, we have not seen each other for over a year and my current property is not big enough to host dinner; so I needed my old property back urgently but she didn’t care.
I have changed the locks before and no one has taken legal action against me and I ONLY DO IT for emergency/drastic measures when the tenant doesn’t listen or has broken our agreement and I can’t be bothered to spend my business (time/money) going through the court system which takes ages.
Every landlord I know changes the locks and it gets the tenants to comply with eviction.
Unfortunately, on 2nd December evening, she called the Met saying i was harassing her (false) and that she was stranded outside and could not access her house- they told her it was a civil matter but the police recorded the incident and she has used the police statement as evidence in the letter before action.
I have already taken repossession of the property, I believe they are residing in a BnB at the moment provided by Greenwich council?
What are my options and my defence to this alleged unlawful eviction claim by the tenant and her solicitor?
Oh where to start? Without lambasteing. The wanting the property back because they needed it to host Christmas dinner for their family? The ‘look I’ve illegally evicted people before but only for emergencies/when I can’t be bothered going to court’? The ‘everybody does it’? The sheer screaming sense of entitlement and self pity?
But I think the crowning glory is posting this on a public forum at a point where the tenant is represented and the details given in the post are such that identification that this is their client’s case should not be too difficult. So, a confession in a public forum, while asking for advice on a defence, may be the very stupidest thing that this landlord has done.
If the tenant’s solicitors are reading this – happy Christmas, here is an early present.
To every decent private landlord out there – and there are plenty – sorry but you’ve lost the argument. It isn’t necessarily you, but so long as you can’t stop this, you’ll lose the argument.
And with that, I’m off to plan how to lambaste the turkey.
[Update. The reddit editor has now posted this “Edit OP posted an “update” which was the dumbest, more obviously fake thing ever, so all their posts have been removed.” So the veracity of the original post is obviously open to question. But whether this individual instance is true or not is somewhat by the by, as such things certainly do happen, from my personal experience and that of others. ]