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£2,400 compensation ordered for wrongful tenancy termination
14/01/2022
£2,400 compensation ordered for wrongful tenancy termination

Lesley Munro and Grant McNicoll rented a property in Dennistoun from David Ross on 6 February 2018. On 3 December 2020, Mr Ross served a notice to leave on Ms Munro and Mr McNicoll in which he relied on Ground 4 of Schedule 3 to the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. The basis of the notice to leave was that Mr Ross wished to move into and live in the property himself. The notice meant they had to move out of the property by 6 March 2021.
 

As a result of receiving the notice, Ms Munro and Mr McNicoll found an alternative property to rent and served their own notice of termination on Mr Ross on 18 December 2020 and the lease came to an end on 13 January 2021.
 

Once Ms Munro and Mr McNicoll left the property, Mr Ross moved in. However, on 2 February 2021 Mr Ross instructed estate agents to market the property for sale. On 8 February 2021 Ms Munro and Mr McNicoll lodged an application to the Tribunal seeking a wrongful termination order.
 

In the hearing conducted into the matter, the Tribunal found that the above dates were agreed by the parties. They also discovered that the property was placed on the market on 5 February 2021, a closing date set for 11 February 2021 and sold on the date of entry of 30 March 2021.
 

Ms Munro and Mr McNicoll advised the Tribunal that they were happy with the tenancy and that they would have remained in the property as tenants if they had not received the notice to leave. When they did receive the notice to leave, they immediately set about finding alternative accommodation. When they did, they served notice of termination of tenancy. At the time of the tribunal hearing they were still living in the new property they had moved into.
 

Between the date of the original notice on 3 December 2020 and 13 January 2021 Mr Ross maintained that it was his intention to live in the property. However, 19 days after moving into the property he instructed estate agents to sell it.
 

The Tribunal questioned Mr Ross’s motives for giving the notice and then not staying in the property as the notice stated he was going to do. They found that he gave no “coherent explanation”. Given that he had served notice to leave on the basis that he needed the property to live in himself, the legislation provides that this should be for at least 3 months. Staying in the property for 19 days before putting it on the market does not allow for a convincing argument.
 

The Tribunal, in reaching its conclusion, said: “The only realistic conclusion that we can reach is that the respondent misled the applicants, and, as a result of his misrepresentation, the applicants surrendered occupation of the property.” As a result, the Tribunal made a wrongful termination order.
 

With regard to compensation, the maximum penalty that can be imposed is six times the monthly rental. The Tribunal did take into account some health and financial problems Mr Ross had and reached the conclusion that an award of 3 times the monthly rental reflected the gravity of the situation. The rent was £800 per month and, accordingly, the compensation element of the wrongful termination order was £2,400. This was to be paid to Ms Munro and Mr McNicoll within 14 days of the order.
 

This case serves as a warning to landlords to ensure that any notice to leave contains the correct basis for recovery of the property. In addition, once that notice has been effective, it is important that a landlord follows through and behaves in a way consistent with the content of the notice to leave.
 

You can read this case in full by clicking here.
 

 

Case information: Housing and Property Chamber – First-tier Tribunal for Scotland. Chamber Ref: FTS/HPC/OR/21/0301 Parties Munro & McNicoll v Ross