London lawyer offers legal backing to tenant threatened with eviction over Brexit sign

Rob Yates says he hasn't breached his tenancy agreement

A wind farm worker who has been threatened with eviction from his Margate flat for putting a Brexit protest banner in the window says he has been offered help from a top lawyer if he needs to fight his case in court.

Rob Yates has been told by building leaseholder Freshwater to remove a BLOCKBREX.IT​ sign, which has LED lighting in the evening, from the window of his Arlington House flat.

The sign, which The Isle of Thanet News reported on in February, is to share Rob’s view that the country needs a second referendum over the decision to leave the EU and to promote his BLOCKBREX.IT ​ website where people can play a retro-style, political game.

Freshwater say although they are sympathetic to the political message, the installation breaks the terms of Rob’s lease and must be removed.

A spokesman for the company said: “ Our issue is not with the message Mr Yates wishes to portray to the world at large, we are generally sympathetic to that message, but that he is in breach of the terms of his lease by papering over the windows.

“We have asked Mr Yates nicely to desist but he refuses, simply to generate publicity to his cause.  As responsible landlords we have a duty of care to ensure tenants abide by the terms of their tenancy for the benefit of all the residents in the block.

“If Mr Yates continues to flout the rules then we will ultimately have to resort to legal measures to persuade him to adhere to the terms of his lease as other tenants do.”

But Rob, who moved to Margate from Leeds last year, says he has been receiving advice from a top lawyer who has looked at the tenancy and says there is no obvious breach.

Rob added: “I have not been told what the breach is. I have a contract and I am following that contract. Initially it was said about causing upset to neighbours but there have been no complaints to the council or the residents association.

“I’m waiting to see what (Freshwater) do. They have no right to evict me. The law firm partner cannot see any breach and said he will help me in court if need be.”

EU Referendum

The EU Referendum took place in June 2016 with the close-run result of 51.89% of voters opting to leave the EU and 48.11% voting to Remain.

The Thanet result was 46,037 votes to Leave and 26,065 to Remain.

What are the rules on Assured Shorthold Tenancies and eviction?

Even if there is no written contract, the absence of the contract means that the law/ court takes the view it is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and is governed by The Housing Act 1988.

It is usual, but not required by law, for this kind of tenancy to have an initial Fixed Term or Term Certain. Normally this would be six months. To end the contract within the fixed term there must be a breach. To end the contract at the end of the fixed term a Section 21 Notice must be given exactly two months before the end day of that term.

On the first day after the expiry of the fixed term the tenancy enters a periodic phase. To end the tenancy in this phase the landlord must serve a valid written Section 21 Notice giving a clear two months before end. The landlord does not need a reason.

At the end of the Section 21 Notice if the tenant is still in the property they still have occupation rights so could be intentionally homeless if they leave in that time and hope for council to house them.

At this point the landlord should apply to court for an Eviction Order. The tenant can attend the court and ask for time to secure alternative housing. If they are in any way vulnerable the court is likely to grant them extra time.

Once he Judge grant an Eviction Order, if the tenant remains, the landlord may apply to the court for a warrant for eviction or a bailiffs warrant. On the date given by the Judge, the court bailiff will attend the property to evict the tenant. At this point they have no further occupation rights.

Find more information on the Shelter website here


  1. He’s breached the terms of his lease, not contract. There is a difference. His Tenancy Agreement would be between him and his landlord if he is renting, not Freshwater who are the Freeholders. They call themselves ‘responsible landlords’ which is far from the truth.

  2. Dear Anon

    Most of what you say is wrong.

    He is a tenant, not a leaseholder, and rents his flat from Freshwater (or one of it’s subsidiary companies). The head lease is held by one of Freshwater’s companies, Metropolitan Property Realizations Ltd.

    Freshwater is not the freeholder – Thanet District Council is the freeholder.

    Whilst there is a difference between a lease and a tenancy agreement, they are both contracts.

    However, I do not dispute your last sentence !

  3. If the leaseholder has sub let then it is the leaseholders responsibility to make sure that the tenant adheres to the terms of the lease.

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