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Question

Entry and Refusal (England) | Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave (England)

Section 21 property access

11 Sep 2017 | 6 comments

Can you advise on the following situation please?

A tenant has been served a section 21 notice on 7th July so the two months expired 6th Sept.

I have text correspondence with tenant who is saying he doesn’t want to move out and it appears he has changed the lock on his flat which is in a block. The block and all flats in the block are owned and managed by us as a company and we feel that it is a safety issue not to have access to this flat.

We are about to apply to the courts for an eviction but can we gain access to the flat without his permission?

Many thanks

Peter
Rental Manager

Answer

6 Comments

  1. guildy

    No, you mustn’t enter in this case without permission.

    You can write to a tenant and state you will be inspecting on a date and as long as your letter makes it clear that you will enter with your keys if they’re not in, that will be fine. However, as the locks have been changed, that’s not possible.

    Just on another point, you say that the notice expired on 6 September. However, that’s not possible because that wouldn’t be two clear months. Furthermore, when posting, you would need to add days for service. Our guidance always adds four days onto any notice to allow for expiry and service. Is your notice actually dated with an expiry date of 6 September? Or, was it our notice with no date and you were just guessing at the expiry?

  2. 1353

    Ok we may send an inspection request letter or just leave it for now.

    We served the section 21 notice using the Guild template which just states the start date of 7th July but doesn’t give an end date. I then sent a reminder letter dated 6th Sept saying that “the notice expires today”.

    Is that a problem?

    Peter

  3. guildy

    It has been held that a covering letter containing an incorrect can be read together with an enclosed notice and invalidate the notice (which is why our guidance says don’t put a covering letter with the notice).

    However, we don’t know if a letter sent after the notice has been issued containing a wrong date would follow the same principle.

    For now, all you can do to avoid serving again is to ignore the letter you sent and hope it doesn’t get mentioned. If you provide me the day of month the rent is payable, I can give you the correct expiry date of that notice.

    Roll on October 2018 when this problem is being removed for all tenancies (not just new ones from October 2015)!

  4. 1353

    The start of the tenancy was 20th Aug 2013 and so the rent is due on the 20th of each month but we receive housing benefit direct every four weeks.

  5. guildy

    That notice will therefore expire on 19 September. After that date, court proceedings can be commenced.

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