The law relating to a landlord’s rights to serve eviction notices on noisy or disruptive tenants has been put to the test recently.
The case – involving a family with young children and a property management firm – made headlines, after an eviction notice was threatened because fellow tenants had complained about a crying baby.
The family were warned by the management company that if the noise did not cease they would be served with two weeks ‘notice to vacate their rented property; a top-floor flat in a converted Hammersmith house.
Parents Attila and Ildiko Wurth have claimed that the threat amounts to “horrible discrimination” against families with young children.
In their defence, the property management firm claimed that they had received daily complaints from other tenants who had a right not to be troubled by noise.
Mr and Mrs Wurth say they were shocked to receive an email from the managing agent, stating that they had received a complaint which alleged “at 5.30am this morning a baby was crying and then further noise starting again at 6.45am, which woke one of the other tenants in the property”.
Another email stated there had been further complaints and warned: “if this continues we will have no choice but to issue a Section 8 notice, which will give you two weeks’ notice to vacate”.
Natasha Kelt, a solicitor with Palmers, who specialises in landlord disputes and property matters, said: “This case raises a great many questions and is a veritable nest of vipers.
“The email to the family warns of a “Section 8” eviction, which under the Housing Act of 1988 allows a landlord to remove tenants before the end of their tenancy agreement.
“In my view, the family’s claim that the threatened eviction under section 8 is unfair on the grounds of being discriminatory, is unlikely to succeed. Whether their case might possibly be discriminatory or even contrary to the right for a family life under the Human Rights Act is another matter and would have to be tested in the courts if they decided to take this legal route.
“The case though does raise the question: what has the landlord done to take reasonable precautions – such as soundproofing – to protect the other tenants from noise and also the family at the centre of the row?
“This particular dispute underlines the need for landlords to consider only letting for 6 months at a time, with a mandatory non-fault break clause under Section 21of the Housing Act 1988.”
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