A Tenant from Hell – And a Landlord’s Revenge!

by Glenn Ackroyd

9:01 AM, 28th October 2011
About 7 years ago

A Tenant from Hell – And a Landlord’s Revenge!

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A Tenant from Hell – And a Landlord’s Revenge!

Glen Ackroyd photoI thought I’d share my recent experiences of a “Tenant From Hell”

We often take on properties from landlords who have problem tenants, usually leaving us the legacy of sorting them out. Because I practiced as a Landlord & Tenant Lawyer, I head up (and personally oversee) all evictions at NPG which means we don’t have to outsource the process and we can move very swiftly.

Here’s one recent example…

The tenant was causing regular problems, such that both the Police and the local Council harassment team had requested that they be evicted. They were 3 months in arrears when we took over the management.

Most people would rush to eviction based upon the rent arrears ( Section 8 ) – but I have long since learned that a tenant can easily stall and delay on these ground by arguing about spurious repairs, or disputing the rent amount. For that reason, I always seek possession on Section 21 grounds, which, as long as the action is correctly served, can never be defended.

Sure enough, the tenant turns up at court and disputed the arrears by claiming that unrecorded payments had been made to the landlord. Ordinarily, this dispute would have delayed the process. However, I had briefed our solicitor prior to the hearing that if this should happen, he request that the arrears dispute be dealt with as a separate issue, and we should proceed separately on the possession claim on Section 21 grounds.

This outflanked the tenant and possession was granted. To rub salt into the wound, we also got a possession order in 14 days – the shortest possible time permitted.

Needless to say the landlord was happy that his nightmare is over.



Comments

6:27 AM, 1st November 2011
About 7 years ago

I have had similar though worse issues.
Would you tell me how you managed a Section 21 eviction whilst the AST was still within it's period.
Only Section 8 may be used in those circumstances.
Obviously you may issue a Section 21 b during the initial AST period such that 2 months notice will have been served by AST expiry date.
The day after you may apply for possession on Form N5B only.
Is that what you did and it seems like you have a very efficient county court.
I have been trying to get rid of my criminal non-rent paying tenant since March 1st 2011!
I have a 2nd eviction date on 8.11.11.
!!

Glenn Ackroyd

8:39 AM, 1st November 2011
About 7 years ago

Hi Paul,

You are correct that you can only use Section 21 grounds after the fixed period (usually 6 months) has elapsed.

You can use Section 8 at any time.

However, you refer to trying to get the tenant out since 1st March, which is over 6 months ago, so unless you have a longer tenancy, Section 21 can be used.

What we do is send the tenant a move in pack the day after the tenancy is signed and they are moved in.

It includes a hamper with tea bags, milk, cleaning products, light bulbs etc. We also send a copy of the inventory and condition report, gas safety check and instructions on reporting repair issues etc

In addition, we explain that the tenancy is for 6 months, as confirmed by the attached notice (the Section 21) - but go on to confirm that if the landlord and tenant are both happy after this term, the tenancy will simply continue.

This is done at the outset, explained and positioned as non-conflicting - and thus it is well received.

The benefit to us is that should the tenant present any issues, whether it be rent, or nuisance etc, we can proceed to court IMMEDIATELY after 6 months, or indeed ANY TIME into the future. The only caveat is that if you issue a new AST, a new Section 21 will be required.

However our AST's incorporate a rent review clause, so we never have need to issue new ones. We simply write out with the new rent and alter our Direct Debit instruction annually, increasing the rent up to a maximum of 5%

9:01 AM, 5th November 2011
About 7 years ago

I am new to this website, although have been renting out properties for over 11 years throgh a management agent. A number of abbreviations have been used which I do not understand. What is an AST? Also what is a section 21?

Thank you
Katie

Mark Alexander

9:06 AM, 5th November 2011
About 7 years ago

Hi Katie

Welcome!

An AST is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. A Section 21 is a legal document which a landlord serves to give two months notice to the tenant to vacate a property.

Ian Ringrose

21:56 PM, 18th November 2011
About 7 years ago

Does a Section 21 notice last forever if it is not enforced? E.g. can you evict someone anytime after the 6 months AST without having to give 2 months notice?

Way are all agents not doing this?

(I would not expect a loop whole that large in the law)

Mary Latham

22:12 PM, 18th November 2011
About 7 years ago

A Section 21 Notice runs alongside the AST and does not expire until the AST ends or is renewed - at that point a new notice must be served. This is not a loophole it is a legal notice legally served and the decision about when or if to enforce that notice remains with the landlord. I always tell landlords to serve a Section 21 on every tenant 3 months before the AST is due to end or at 3 months if it is an open term tenancy. The reason for doing this is to position the landlord to safely re-enter the property when the tenant vacates without giving written notice or written notification. Many landlords are not aware that there is no legal obligation for a tenant to give notice to end a fixed term tenancy. When the term comes to an end the tenant can just leave because their contract period has ended, however, a landlord cannot ask a tenant to leave at the end of a fixed term nor assume that he will do so. A landlord must always serve a minimum 2 months notice - Section 21.

I always explain to my tentants that I am serving the notice so that I have legal vacant possession when the tenancy does end. If they ask to stay I agree if they are good tenants but I do not raise a new AST nor do I withdraw my Section 21.

9:28 AM, 20th December 2011
About 7 years ago

How do you know if you have completed a section 8 correctly. I am now in financial difficulty due to a non paying tenant. I only rent the 1 property(my former home). Does anyone have a completed copy of a section 8 for advice please.

Mark Alexander

9:33 AM, 20th December 2011
About 7 years ago

Hi Wendy

Are you a member of the National Landlords Association? If not, I suggest you join. It's a very inexpensive way to make sure you get everything right and to have somebody talk you through everything and to check it over for you. Landlord Referencing Services may also be able to provide you with guidance free of charge.

Why are you using section 8? I've been a landlord for over 21 years and the advice I've always had is to use section 21 as it can not be challenged. Theoretically it takes longer to get posession but most landlords concur that section 21 is the better route.

Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

Regards

Mark

10:33 AM, 20th December 2011
About 7 years ago

The most important factor as to what mehod of eviction you should choose is largely dependent on where you are with the tenancy.
SPT use Section 21
AST still within say 3 months period possibly Section 8
It will take about 8 months to evict unless your county court is super efficient; which none of them are!
Hope you have enough resources to pay the mortgage and thefts and damage at the propert.

Mark Alexander

11:35 AM, 20th December 2011
About 7 years ago

Paul, I agree. For the benefit of newbies:-

SPT = Statutory Periodic Tenancy - that's a tenancy agreement which has rolled on beyond the original tenancy term (minimm 6 months but could be up to 5 years - check the contract)
AST = Assured Shorthold Tenancy - that's the standard form of tenancy offered. Minimum 6 months, maximum 5 years, maximum level of deposit 7 weeks rent

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