Housing Advice - Existing Private Tenancy

Our Housing Advice Service can provide help and advice to existing private tenants on a range of issues.

The Housing Advice service may be able to provide help and advice to existing private tenants who may be a victim of harassment, illegal eviction or experiencing trouble or issues with their landlord. In these cases, there are specific legal powers that we may be able to use.

I don’t have a tenancy agreement

You do not have to have a written tenancy agreement to evidence your rights to a property. If you have exclusive possession of a property (you do not share any facilities with a landlord or their family), pay a market rent and have a clear term (such as paying your rent monthly), then it is likely you hold an Assured Shorthold Tenancy even without a formal agreement being in place. If any of these three things apply, you may still hold rights to the property, however they are not as well protected and may be in the form of a licence.

You may have had a written tenancy agreement, however the date on it may have expired. This does not mean your tenancy has come to an end. All Assured Shorthold Tenancies start for an initial “Fixed Term”. This is usually six or twelve months, but can be longer. After this term has ended, your tenancy will continue as a “Statutory Periodic” Tenancy.

If you have any queries about the type or tenure you may have, we would encourage you to contact us or seek alternative legal advice.

My landlord has asked me to leave

If your landlord has asked you to leave a your property, there is a process he must legally follow to do so. The reason why the landlord has asked you to leave may, the type of notice you may have been served could vary.

A common type of notice is called a Section 21 and you may get this in a form called a 6A. This notice must be a minimum of 2 months and, subject to the date in which your tenancy commenced, you must also have been given information on where your deposit was protected, as well as being given a “How to Rent” guide.

In some circumstances, such as in the event of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour your landlord can ask you to leave much earlier, giving you only a few weeks notice.

If you have any queries surrounding the type of notice you have been given, we would encourage you to contact the service or seek alternative legal advice.

Before your tenancy can legally be ended, after your notice has expired, your landlord must make an application to the Courts for a  Possession Order, and then follow this up with an application for a Bailiffs Warrant. You will continue to have occupational rights to the property until such time as this process has been followed.

The Council's powers under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977

Harassment and illegal eviction as defined in the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, are criminal offences.

If your landlord, or a representative of your landlord, removes you from the property without following the Court process, as outlined above, he may be in breach of this Act and could face prosecution. Equally, any behaviour that is perceived as threatening or intimidating that is intended to make you leave the property may also be a breach of this Act.

We will investigate complaints and mediate between the parties wherever possible. If this is not successful, we will consider bringing a prosecution where the evidence is sufficient and where it is in the public interest.

I am having problems with repairs

If you are having problems getting your landlord to complete repairs to your property, we will look to offer mediation between parties in the first instance to try and resolve the situation amicably. If this is not successful, you may wish to discuss your situation further with an Environmental Health Officer. They can complete an inspection of the property and look to determine if there is anything present under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) that the landlord will be legally obliged to address.

Further information

For further information on the above or any other issues you may have with your private tenancy, please contact us as we may be able to offer some advice and assistance.

Contact details

Housing Advice Service
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House
Danestrete
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HN

01438 242242
housing.advice@stevenage.gov.uk