Davina’s story

CHAC helps delay eviction of single parent with two children where tenant’s deposit not properly protected by landlord

Davina was a single parent with two children, a son of 16 and a daughter of 12. She had been living in private rented accommodation in Herne Bay and the landlady was seeking possession of the property. She had served a section 21 notice and started proceedings for a possession order.

Repossession claimed under a section 8 notice is usually for breach of a term of the tenancy. Only certain reasons for repossession are accepted under section 8, including rent arrears, damage to the property and nuisance. Repossession under section 21, on the other hand, is used to evict tenants at the end of their term or to end a periodic tenancy and does not require any additional reason to be given. A section 8 notice will give between 2 weeks and 2 months’ notice, while a section 21 notice must give at least 2 months’ notice. In both cases the notice must follow the legally correct procedure in order to be valid.
— Paul Wilkinson, manager

Davina paid a deposit when she took occupation but the deposit had not been protected in one of the government authorised schemes (as it should have been) before the section 21 notice was served, only after the notice had been served. The section 21 notice was therefore invalid. CHAC helped put a defence into court and shortly afterwards the landlord’s solicitors withdrew the possession claim.

The landlord’s solicitors then served two notices – a section 8 notice and a section 21 notice. Proceedings were instituted in reliance upon the section 8 notice. However the section 8 notice did not give full details of the alleged rent arrears but merely stated that the rent was more than two months in arrears. Accordingly the notice was defective and the landlords claim for possession was dismissed by the court.

Shortly afterwards the landlord’s solicitors commenced proceedings based on the section 21 notice. There was no defence which could be offered and the landlord obtained a possession order but CHAC successfully pleaded exceptional hardship (based on depression and other factors) and the court postponed the date of possession beyond the usual 14 days to 35 days.

Davina had wanted to find private rented accommodation but unfortunately was not able to do so. However, she has made a homeless application and the Council has agreed to house her.

This case demonstrates the precarious position of those in the private rented sector and that CHAC’s help, in the end, cannot prevent eviction where a landlord is determined to evict. It also demonstrates the difficulty of finding new private rented accommodation in the area.
— Paul Wilkinson, manager