Abusive tenant will not budge

by Readers Question

16:36 PM, 26th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Abusive tenant will not budge

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Abusive tenant will not budge

I’d appreciate any advice regarding the situation I’m in with a tenant of 3 years. She had informed me a few months ago she’d be leaving as she was struggling to afford it any more, which I agreed to despite the fact that her lease ran out in January 2105. Abusive tenant will not budge

I still had to renew a gas safety check on the house as it had expired and the gas engineer who carried it out along with fitting a new bathroom suite as her son had broken the basin, had switched the gas off saying the cooker was at risk as it was too close to the kitchen units above it, along with 2 other points that he said needed updated on a brand new boiler which I had fitted a year ago & 2 others on cooker which had never been mentioned in last 3 gas safety certificates.

After this happened the tenant became extremely angry, shouting, swearing and being verbally abusive to me along with her mother to the point that I don’t not want to enter the house while she’s there now.

The next day I phoned gas health & safety & they told me the cooker was not to current standards as with all the other points but absolutely NOT at risk unless there were signs of scorching to units which there’s not. So I told the gas engineer this and to put gas back on. I still owe him £300 for bathroom fitting but due to the situation and abuse it provoked I have withheld payment.

I also text the tenant to say that after her abuse it would be best all round if she moved out as soon as possible and she replied saying that unless I wrote her a letter to the council so she could get a council house then she wouldn’t pay me another penny.

Despite being uncomfortable with her threatening me, I decided that this would be the quickest route for her to leave. I provided her and the council with all the necessary eviction forms and part of that included a document stating what the rent arrears were and a repayment plan to be maintained for at least 3 months which was £10 per week, of which she has paid nothing from the £415 she owes for 3 weeks.

Her leaving date is the 8th September and she has already told me that if she doesn’t have a house she won’t be going.

I have spoken to the Scottish Landlord Association who have basically said all I can do is take her to court if she doesn’t leave by then and also for the outstanding rent arrears. She has another £495 due to pay next week.

It all seems very unfair and that instead of being the person in charge of what happens here, I feel more like the victim which just isn’t right as I have been very accommodating with her persistent late rent payments & various breaches of contract she had.

Ultimately I want her to leave as soon as possible and avoid court proceedings which puts me in the vulnerable position of not wanting to antagonise her any further which could prolong her staying.

What is the best course of action here for me to honour myself and have her leave soon as and also am I within my rights not to pay the gas engineer/plumber the £300 for his part in all this and to cover the unpaid rent due to his incorrect diagnosis & unnecessary grief?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks

Gillian

 



Comments

Mark Alexander

16:37 PM, 26th August 2014
About 4 years ago

I agree that it doesn't seem fair but the advice given to you by SAL is correct.
.

r01

22:31 PM, 26th August 2014
About 4 years ago

I'm from the deep South so know nothing of Scottish law, however, I'd write to the plumber stating exactly what I considered he did wrong, what damage he has caused and the reason I refuse to pay his bill. I'd also mention I am considering a possible claim for damages caused as a result of his recklessness. I'd expect him to either come back fighting or stay deathly silent in the hope you don't take it any further. Either way, copies of your correspondence can be used to back up any counter-claim later.

I supply a link below. As it is not my copy-write I don't feel able to simply cut and paste the letters. They are very much along the lines of writing to the tenant making it clear that their behaviour is tantamount to making themselves intentionally homeless, therefore they will not qualify for council housing and as you are taking eviction proceedings they could end up genuinely homeless unless they start being reasonable. Consequences would including costs, bad credit record etc., etc., which could make life very tough for them in the future. Here's the link http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?59525-Tenant-refusing-to-pay-rent-in-second-month-of-S21-period-Hints-Tips-please&p=473069

I know Mark is a reasonable man , so hope he feels able to allow this link to a competitor site - if not, perhaps he could craft something similar or request the other site's permission to re-produce the letters as they may well help others in a similar position.

Good luck.

R

r01

22:53 PM, 26th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Oh, and assume the AST (lease??) original end date is 2015, not 2105 ?

Mark Alexander

23:01 PM, 26th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "r01 " at "26/08/2014 - 22:31":

Thank you for posting this link which I know has been posted in good faith and is not for commercial gain.

The only links we disallow are to commercial websites that compete with our sponsors which we have vetted to the best of our ability, e.g. legal advice, lettings, tax advice, IFA's, mortgage brokers, Estate Planners, property for sale etc.
.

Alan Loughlin

10:11 AM, 27th August 2014
About 4 years ago

try bribing her to go, I know it will go against the grain. I did this recently, faced with a tenant who i knew had had HB withdrawn, and JSA withdrawn, and in desperate need of money I offered him 200 quid in cash if he left that day and handed keys back and signed a release form, he accepted it, i saved more than a thousand pounds in costs and lost rent, maybe double that, so 200 quid was a very cheap option.

Hazel Taylor

16:53 PM, 27th August 2014
About 4 years ago

We have properties in England and Scotland. When I have had problems in Scotland I have always found the Scotish Landlords Association to be very helpful.

Your tenant has given you a leaving date. Inform her that you have accepted this leaving date, and that you have now made arrangements for workmen to come into the vacant property on 9th Sept, that your workment will be there at 7.30 and will expect to find an empty property.

Hopefully she will park up and leave!

gillian copes

22:36 PM, 27th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "r01 " at "26/08/2014 - 22:53":

Thanks soo much for your reply - it is very helpful indeed. I contacted the plumber & he has come back fighting, telling me he's informed Gas Safety of my disagreement at him turning off the gas due a pipe from a gas fire that must have been there over 10 years ago in the lounge which had not been capped off & was he said dangerous - which may be the case but the other 2 gas safety engineers did not notify me of this & I lived in that house for 7 years previous to the tenant being there for 3 & not once was it mentioned til he came. I told him I was not disputing that but the at risk sticker he put on the cooker which was incorrect according to Gas Safety, to my mind it should surely have been put at the pipe. He has also gone to the tenant today - my property without my permission & taken photos of the boiler pipes he said needed to be bigger and stated these are still not repaired, but has still given me a gas safety certificate so therefore it must be safe - surely him going there without my knowledge is trespassing? He also & obtained information from my tenant about a the boiler I had fitted a year ago by a gas engineer who wasn't registered which was found out later to require repairs cos it was leaking carbon monoxide, upon hearing this at the time I had it fixed immediately by a registered gas engineer who issued me a safety certificate & I deducted £400 from the rent as way of compensation. As far as I'm aware as soon as you're informed of a repair & have it fixed then that is satisfactory - is that not the case? The 1st response he sent me was to say that the tenant said she was leaving to him before he started the work & today has told him I'm evicting her. So between them I really feel up against it. He's basically now threatening to report me to Gas Safety for the boiler being fitted by the unregistered Gas Engineer unless I pay him. Obviously I need to find out exactly what my rights are here & get it checked again by another registered Gas Engineer when tenant leaves who apparently also said to him she was leaving cos of the way I've treated her, which is a lot of nosense as I've been probably overly accommodating if anything - where do these people come from? Thankfully it is 2015 I meant and not 2015 - god forbid! I will definitely be using some of the link info you gave me if she's not gone by the 8th - but everything crossed that won't be necessary. Many thanks indeed for all your assistance - very kind & insightful 🙂

gillian copes

22:50 PM, 27th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alan Loughlin" at "27/08/2014 - 10:11":

Thanks very much for your reply, hopefully she'll get out by the 8th, but if not - God forbid then I will be letting her know that the court procedure will affect her getting a council house, bad credit etc & give her the option to do that or leave now & just write off the £415 owed & requirements of her repainting hall, a bedroom wall, renewing stair carpet & removing satellite dish as that will work out cheaper in the long run than her staying on paying no rent & I can just keep her deposit if she doesn't pay final month's rent - I just find it unbelievable that people act this way - it has certainly made me rethink if the property business is worth this amount of stress. Perhaps using a letting agent would make things easier, do you have any experience using them? Many thanks again & all the best.

gillian copes

23:04 PM, 27th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Hazel Taylor" at "27/08/2014 - 16:53":

Thanks Hazel for your reply. Yes I have done that, but I will be reiterating it again tomorrow & will include the time the property has to be vacated for the workmen & the good point you made that they will expect to find it empty - which fingers, toes & everything else crossed hopefully it will be. Many thanks for your input 🙂

r01

15:21 PM, 28th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "gillian copes" at "27/08/2014 - 22:36":

Hi Gillian, sorry about the length of this post but I think it might help you.

They say "The best form of defense is attack" and it sounds as if you have your gas engineer rattled. If I understand it right, if you pay him he won't report you but if you don't pay he will??? Isn't that a little thing called "blackmail"?? And if he takes your money, isn't he then breaking the law himself if he doesn't report you? I suggest you get him to put that in writing, then suggest you will both pay him (so he doesn't have a leg to stand on), and report him to the police. You make good points about the other gas certificates.

Let me explain something.... The gas and electrical industries are constantly changing the regulations - why wouldn't they??, it keeps the controlling bodies and their registered engineers in lucrative employment, making bundles and bundles of money!!!!. The government made a massive mistake by putting Corgi in charge of regulating the gas industry (recognised by removing them and replacing with Safe Gas), as they and all the training companies have a vested interest in charging constant re-training fees to the engineers and the engineers have an equally vested interest in passing these costs (multiplied by ten so they make even more) on to you and I. British Gas in particular have an unenviable reputation for sticking notices on boilers stating they don't meet current regulations & condemning boilers that a private safe gas fitter is happy to certify as safe just to drum up more overpriced work. My sister had this happen to her on a boiler that was just two years old with a Brit Gas annual contract on, so had accepted it was safe & compliant just the previous year. When confronted on the grounds that this unfairly worries the tenant into thinking the boiler is unsafe, when clearly it is not, they reversed their decision and re-issued a certificate without the warning - proof that it was unnecessary.

Research shows that despite hundreds of regulations being introduced, the number of injuries and deaths caused by gas have remained relatively unchanged. Clearly, most of the newly introduced regulations make no difference whatsoever to safety - they are just a good idea. Strangely, the biggest cause, i.e. people's stupidity such as turning gas on and forgetting to light it are not regulated against.

I had a huge row with Corgi a number of years ago when the regulations concerning flame safety devices on cookers came in. What an excellent idea they are. I had a perfectly good, high quality cannon cooker in a downstairs flat and my gas engineer pointed out that it didn't comply with the latest regs, but there was no need to do anything unless other work was carried out. But me being me, I decided to swap the cooker anyway as I want my tenants to be in the safest possible environment. I tried to buy one of these cookers and all the retailers I went to didn't have a single one. I rang Corgi and asked what was going on and they said it has been negotiated with the manufacturers that they can sell their existing stock before they have to introduce the flame safe type. "WHAT???" I said, "so my own and my tenants safety is less important to you than the money grabbing nmanufacturers? Why are they not being required to retro-fit the device on each existing cooker if it is a genuine safety issue??" And why can't a normal person simply replace a cooker with a Pigtail into a self sealing bayonet fitting (the words "self" & "sealing" are a clue here), instead of paying an engineer £75 to "PLUG" it in? After all, I explained to them, "my tenants do something far more dangerous every morning, lunch-time and evening - They open the gas tap on the hob FULLY to INTENTIONALLY allow gas to escape, then they do the most dangerous thing I know - THEY LIGHT IT ..... So will they introduce a regulation to stop this incredibly dangerous practice and will we have an engineer turn up three times a day, charging us £75 x 3 = £225 a day for their two minute lighting the gas task?" Of course they had no answer. I rest my case....

Your wrong pipe size is almost certainly an example of regs being changed since the pipes were installed and until any other changes are made to any part of your gas fittings or appliances, there is no requirement to replace them as they still comply with the regs at the time they were installed (assuming the correct size pipes were fitted at that time, given the then current regs). It is all to do with gas pressure that gets to the boiler, affected the number of bends, length of run from the meter and appliances connected and there is now a tendency to oversize pipework just to be sure, whereas previously smaller pipes were considered perfectly satisfactory. The fact that you have received subsequent safety certificates demonstrates previous engineers were happy with the pipe sizes. Either that, or the previous inspections were all carried out by incompetent, negligent engineers. Perhaps you should contact them & ask???

I hope this explanation helps you to punch above your weight with this nasty gas engineer. Oh, and it is not against the law for anyone, even a monkey, to fit a gas boiler and fully plumb it up. It just has to be commissioned and have the gas connection made by a Gas Safe engineer. I'm in my sixties and until recently always fitted my own fires, cookers, boilers etc. and made all my connections according to the current regulations of the time until the law changed, after which I still fitted everything but called a gas safe engineer to make the gas connection and commission the item, in fact my gas engineer keeps telling me I do a better job than most of the newly qualified gas engineers out there as forty years of competent experience beats six months training and a certificate any time. I know who I would prefer to work for me.

If you were anywhere near me here in the South, I'd happily ask my gas engineer to pop round to give his opinion - he is first class and very easy to deal with - Gosh, I never thought I'd say that about a gas engineer - lol

R

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