Abandoned, Damaged, Tenancy expired, rent in arrears – Help!

by Readers Question

18:12 PM, 11th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Abandoned, Damaged, Tenancy expired, rent in arrears – Help!

Make Text Bigger
Abandoned, Damaged, Tenancy expired, rent in arrears – Help!

I’m a landlord. I rented my property out 12 months ago. In the last two months. The tenant has abandoned the property and fallen short on rent. My letting agent and I, have been trying to get hold of the tenant via phone, email and letters. bad luck

We wanted to go and inspect the property so we called the tenant, agreed a time, went to inspect, no one answered the door. Locks had been changed, all upstairs windows left open. Next day neighbour reported windows are closed. Tenants cousin had come back emptied the property, stole the washing machine. Agent has issues S21.

Went back to inspect one toilet window left open for weeks. On advice called locksmith, entered property. All empty apart from cannabis, heating lamps, holes in ceilings and carpet damage.

I’m getting mixed advice. Some saying that I have to wait until s21 expires before repossessing. How do I go about claiming rent or damaged from DPS and quickest way to get property back on market? Is S8 necessary.

This is my first rental property and very first tenant, I can’t believe my Luck!!!

Situl



Comments

Neil Patterson

18:15 PM, 11th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Oh no Situl almost a full house of bad luck.

First please call the police if it has been a cannabis farm or any is left.

Please also seek help from the professionals and see our tenant eviction page >> https://www.property118.com/tenant-eviction-2/

They have seen it all many times before unfortunately.

Stephen Smith

8:32 AM, 12th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi,

1. Illegal activity, against the terms of the tenancy agreement.
2. Get as many photos as you can, proving cannabis propagation, damage, theft etc. Copy of the section 21. Don't bother with a s8 as a waste of time and allows the tenant to allege disrepair issues etc. Section 21 served, expired, tenant vacated, end of story. Entered property as the neighbour thought there was a problem.
3. Call Police and insist they attend, since cannabis propagation is against the law, although don't be surprised if they cannot be bothered, after all we do pay our taxes!! Any complete plants? Small amounts will be for personal use, but it seems this may be a complete factory with ventilation etc.
4. Call agent, ask for a copy of all references. It seems they may have lied on their application. If the agent has not checked then he is liable for the inception of the tenancy and any consequential damage. Check for proper ID records, previous references, were they checked?
5. If the Police say that there is no evidence of a crime, then it is malicious damage and recoverable under the terms of the insurance, (you do have insurance?). The insurance company may well disagree, but be persistent. Most have cover for malicious damage.
6. Keep the deposit money.
7. They have failed to communicate, allow access, rent arrears, illegal activities, theft. What are they going to do? Complain to the court?
8. In practical terms you have done all you can, gained access and made secure. The damages can amount to thousands. You have to mitigate your losses. Try and locate this person but in all probability he will have nothing.
9. Next time, if a person does not pass references, then get a surety from another householder. If he does pass references, get a rent guarantee policy with legal protection.

David Lovegrove

9:12 AM, 12th October 2016
About 2 years ago

If it helps, the governments housing and planning act which contains measures to tackle abandonment in a more timely manner received royal ascent in May and is currently being debated in the House of Lords.
At a recent housing conference a government official suggested it may be law by December though I would doubt that as for one, "Shelter" claim it a rare problem and unfair to tenants.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:26 AM, 12th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Situl
Been there, got the t-shirt, I'm afraid. I had a tenant turn a house into a cannabis farm last year - I only found out when the fire brigade were called as the house was on fire! Then the CSI were in there so I had to wait before I could enter. Apart from the fire damage in the one bedroom - a nice neighbour had reported the fire really promptly - it looked really bad with all the holes in the ceilings etc., but it is surprising how quickly you can sort it out. I took it as an opportunity to upgrade the house. I informed the insurance company immediately and then it became a full-time job fulfilling all the insurance requirements. They said I had under-insured the house by a third, so I had to get together builders' quotes showing the re-instatement of the house was closer to my estimate than theirs, plus builders quotes and electricians quotes and so on. BUT: they did pay out in the end and I was happy with the amount agreed. Most people told me I would never get the insurance company to pay out, but it is worth real persistence on this, although I have heard of insurance companies not paying out. If the references are all kosher though - they will want things like photocopies of passports, proof that the person paid from their bank account, evidence that the house was visited every 3 months, I think it was. Stuff like that. Your letting agent should be able to help with a lot of this.
I'm not a lawyer, but I wouldn't think you have to wait until the section 21 has expired. These things are always a risk and people will tell you do have to wait, but I would imagine you could get in there and start sorting it out now as it will take a while to get it all done anyway.
Good luck with this. I had very bad tenants the first time I rented a house out as well - damage and arrears etc. and I had to have my 3-month old baby sitting in the car seat next to me as I tried to scrub off obscene graffiti done in black marker pen - I couldn't get it off and had to paint the whole large room three times to completely cover it, apart from sorting out all the other damage they'd managed to do in 6 months. Cannabis was also involved in that one. That was 18 years ago and I didn't let one group of t*ssers dictate my life and carried on and built up a portfolio. Don't let people ruin things for you either. Chin up!


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Seeking Help in 'De-bunking' MHCLG's report

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More