Here is a question to the blog clinic from Mike who is a tenant:
I don’t have a tenancy agreement and I pay £500 pcm.
My landlord has asked me to leave because he wants to turn the property into flats. He has never provided me with a gas certificate, an EPC, an electric certificate and not put my deposit in a scheme.
He has stated that I have 2 weeks to get out because I have no tenancy. He has also stated to not pay this months rent as this is for the depoist I gave him.
Where do I stand? Should I carry on paying rent? I have no where to go and have pets? Please help
Assuming he is not a live in landlord (and this advice is on this basis) your landlord is completely wrong and is acting wholly illegally.
It is NOT necessary to have a written tenancy agreement to create a tenancy.
Normally you need to have a written deed to create a legal ‘interest in land’ which is what a tenancy is. However, the Law of Property 1925 makes a specific exception in section 54(2) for lets with a term of three years or less.
What this means is that as soon as you move into the property and start paying rent, a tenancy is created. It is an oral tenancy but still a valid legal tenancy nonetheless.
What type of tenancy you have will depend on the circumstances. However, in the vast majority of cases, it will be an assured shorthold tenancy.
Can your landlord evict you through the courts?
Maybe not, and this may be why your landlord has taken this bullying attitude, hoping that you will just leave.
If you have paid your rent he cannot evict you for rent arrears. And it sounds as if he will not be able to use the ‘notice only’ ground for possession under section 21 of the Housing Act either.
To use that ground now a landlord needs to have complied with various pre-conditions which include protecting your deposit and (if you moved in after 1 October 2015) giving you a gas safety certificate before you moved in. So it may be that he is unable to evict you at all through the courts.
What you should do now
You need to get proper legal advice ASAP. If there is a law centre near you (there is a list here), that would be ideal.
We have a list of other organisations which can help tenants here.
As your landlord’s threats are in breach of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 you may also be able to claim compensation.