‘I was renting a property with my adult children. When my son’s wife’s work visa came through, the two of them decided to move into their own place, so in April 2019, my son gave the landlord one month’s notice to say he would be moving out.
‘The landlord then served us with a section 21 notice saying he would not be renewing our tenancy in June as he wanted a ‘family’ in the property. He took us to court which is where I met Jeinsen who was the housing court duty solicitor on the day.
‘Jeinsen went through all the paperwork with me and explained that because the landlord hadn’t provided us with an up-to-date gas safety certificate, the section 21 notice was invalid and we had a potential defence.
‘Jeinsen helped me apply for Legal Aid and took on my case. The case continued but things got worse during lockdown. I’d asked the landlord if we could have an extra tenant to help pay the rent but he refused. He also refused to give us a new tenancy agreement to show it was now only me and my daughter as tenants. I was accruing rent arrears because my benefits were not enough to cover my rent, and by this point my daughter had also lost her job as a result of Covid.
‘Because the property was seemingly unaffordable and a change in the law had affected my defence, Jeinsen advised us that we should try to reach a settlement with the landlord.
‘The Law Centre successfully negotiated with our landlord and we agreed that we would move out of the property in return for the rent arrears being wiped out. Although we still have to move, it’s a positive outcome as it means my daughter won’t have a money judgment against her and I can make a fresh start.
‘The Law Centre’s advice was very good – I felt my views were listened to and understood. I would always recommend seeking legal advice, because it helps you find a way out, whatever your situation.’
Linda* was seen by our housing court duty solicitor, who raised a defence to the possession claim based on a section 21 notice. Linda was further advised and represented under a legal aid certificate, but in the meantime a decision from the Court of Appeal involving similar issues to Linda’s case meant the prospects of success had changed. Because her rent arrears were now building up due to insufficient household income exacerbated by the impact of Covid, our solicitor advised that she reach a settlement. The Law Centre successfully negotiated a settlement where Linda would be given additional time to vacate her property and the rent arrears of over £16,000 would be waived with no order for costs.
*not her real name.