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Tenant faces eviction because of rare medical condition

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A tenant who claims that he is allergic to electricity faces eviction from his home in South Wales which he rented privately from his landlord. 

The tenant is likely to find himself living on the streets after his landlord told him that she wasn't happy that he was not heating the property.

Sadly, the tenant suffers with a rare medical condition called electromagnetic hypersensitivity which means that he is unable to use electricity for heating or lighting. He also claims that he can't use mobile phones, watch television or listen to music because using electricity makes him ill. Further, the tenant avoids going outside as environmental factors can trigger his illness. 

As a result of the property allegedly not being heated properly, the tenant’s landlord served him with a notice seeking possession and got a possession order from the Court to evict him. 

Unfortunately, there is little that private housing tenants can do when their landlord serves them with a section 21 notice. Private landlords are entitled to take back possession of their property regardless of whether there has been any bad conduct on behalf of the tenant. As long as the landlord has served the tenant with a valid notice giving the correct notice period of two months and has correctly protected any deposit paid at the start of the tenancy then there is little a tenant can do. 

However, what most tenants do not realise is that their landlord cannot evict them from their property without a Court order. In some cases if your landlord starts Court proceedings to evict you, you may be able to delay the eviction for up to six weeks if you can show grounds of ‘exceptional hardship’. Examples of exceptional hardship include you or a member of your household being ill, pregnant or if young children are involved and you have no immediate access to other accommodation.

In the above tenant’s case he may be eligible for homelessness assistance from the Local Authority given his medical condition.  However, not all private tenants will be entitled to the same help. It is important that if you do receive a notice from your landlord asking you to leave your property that you contact a housing specialist at Stephensons. Our specialists will be able to advise you of your legal position and what steps you may be able to take to delay or even stop your eviction. 

By housing law solicitor, Elizabeth Lowe