Abusive tenant will not budge

by Readers Question

16:36 PM, 26th August 2014
About 6 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

 


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Comments

Mark Alexander

18:53 PM, 28th August 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "r01 " at "28/08/2014 - 15:21":

Brilliant post r01, well worth the read for both education and for fun 🙂
.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

18:42 PM, 30th August 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "28/08/2014 - 18:53":

I agree Mark - most enjoyable post by r01 and so true ... I have been a landlord for nearly 15 years and have gone thru a fair number of gas engineers... eventually they all got complacent and I sacked them. I also have had 3/4 engineers say the same appliance is/isn't safe/current and the next one comes along and says its ok/not ok. I now always read the cert. when it comes in (I got a slapped wrist here on 118 for not doing that fully when I discovered 12 months later that the gas engineer had not checked out all the appliances he had been checking for 5 years before that.) Building up a rapport with a good engineer is crucial... my current northern one knows (because I tell him very often !!) that I am utterly neurotic about having my Landlords gas certs done in time with no gaps in the dates. He does them all on time now, as he knows I will go elsewhere if he doesn't. Don't let the bully gasman blackmail you.... call his bluff. I would send him some sort of payment, "in full and final settlement", detailing why you have made the deductions you have. Then the ball is in his court as to what he is going to do.... His only real choices are to take you to court for the money - or get on with his life.....

Neil Robb

20:03 PM, 30th August 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi

There is so many different issues going on here one an unhappy tenant.
a plumber who has had his judgement questioned. Then a situation that has got out of hand. And they landlord in the middle.

I am learning more everyday that's when a tenant needs something they are nice and pleasant then when they no longer require your home they can change. But it is a part of the business most are really nice and decent.

Firstly as a landlord it is important that you don't take things personally and try to comply with the law and regulations. You have been very lucky the unregistered plumber did not kill someone by fitting the boiler wrong or blow the house up( Your insurance would have been invalid). If someone had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The plumber that fitted the boiler may have been prosecuted and even you. Always ask for gas safety number and go on the web site and check. If you have been using the same plumber for years they may no longer be on the register. Luckily you got it sorted and no one was hurt. I do not think you committed any offence but the individual who fitted did.

The tenant's attitude and the fall out has escalated out of control to the extent of you having to serve notice if you don't she has said she refused to pay rent if she is on benefits you can request a direct payment to yourself if she falls 8 weeks in arrears. The housing office will ask for proof but it can be don.

The council will not prioritise your tenant and give them a house until they are evicted. I think and I could be wrong courts don't like to evict tenants just because you have not been paid rent. You may wish to say that either due to the tenants aggressive behaviour to you feel that it is unsafe for your property for her to remain there. I would state due to personal circumstance I now need to sell my property and need possession back.

The gas plumbers and regulations change all the time and some not all are very much working in fear of being prosecuted if anything goes wrong that's why I think they point everything out to cover there backs. As few years back a gas engineer serviced the boiler at a house I think there was a fatality at the property he was arrested and was facing court. As it turned out a long time later that between him servicing the boiler and the death a family member changed the boiler which lucky for him was a different make to the one he serviced and he managed to prove it was not the boiler he serviced. The family member later admitted to it.

I have used several plumbers over the years and try to build up a good relationship by paying on time etc. They always start of fine and then either get greedy or complacent that they have your business. I have after 8 years this year changed to a new plumber so it does go wrong sometime but there is that much work for them they don't need you.

If you don't wont to deal with tenants direct then a letting agent is the way to go. Mark Alexander on here has a letting agents that have very reasonable fees. You should ask him. I like to be involved and get to go to my properties and see what is happening with my property.

The plumber who you are refusing to pay will do nothing if he knows he was in the wrong. Not knowing all the facts it is hard to say,

I hope you continue on with property and get things sorted but nothing in life is easy

Dr Rosalind Beck

17:32 PM, 31st August 2014
About 6 years ago

I'm aware that Scotland has a separate legal system to England and Wales and thus the following point is unlikely to be useful to the original poster but may be useful to others (unless, by some miracle there is a similar law in Scotland):
If a tenant gives notice in writing that they are leaving on the 8th of September, from that point onwards until they actually vacate they are liable to pay double rent. We have implemented the relevant law and taken someone to court who would have owed us say £1,200 (I forget the figures), but ended up owing us more like £2,000 in arrears (because the last two months of their occupation the rent payable doubled). We're now still receiving the bonus part (£50 a month for a few years from an attachment of earnings). It's the first time we've actually received more than the rent due, and it feels pretty good, knowing that a couple of horrid people are paying for the morning latte.

Mark Alexander

17:37 PM, 31st August 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rosalind Beck" at "31/08/2014 - 17:32":

Hi Rosalind

The legal definition of what you have explained is "mesne profits". Search this website for more details. Like you I don't know whether the same exists in Scotland.
.

r01

18:19 PM, 1st September 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "28/08/2014 - 18:53":

Thanks Mark,

We need a "landlords" anthem - how about re-wording the old Jeff Healy Band song ...

".......Gas men to left of me, tenants to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle of you...... "

Anyone think of a some more?

R

gillian copes

19:44 PM, 4th September 2014
About 6 years ago

Thanks once again for your invaluable advice kind man 🙂 I've used some of the information you gave me and basically told the rogue plumber/gas engineer that I would pay him after tenant vacated and I had deducted the costs of his shabby workmanship off his total bill after it was rectified by someone else. I also stated that since he'd issued a 2nd gas safety certificate without any repairs being done to cooker or boiler since the 1st one he failed the day before & that if he was reporting anything, then he himself would be liable and I have not heard anything from him since last week - therefore so far that is a good result 🙂 thank you.

In the meantime I also used some of the info in the very helpful link you put on at getting a tenant to leave. I informed her that I'd be doing a final house inspection last week and she text back telling me not come near the house, she wouldn't come out, to stop harassing her and that I'd be getting a lawyers letter regarding everything to do with the boiler & she would text me when she was leaving - lovely! So I sent her a letter informing her that I'd provided everything she'd asked me for so the council could rehouse her, despite the fact that she'd told me she was leaving first and that I said if the council knew this along with her rent arrears not being maintained or the rectifying of the breaches in tenancy that they would cancel her housing application & benefit. Also leaving her with having a bad credit history etc. I stated that I was prepared to waive the £910 rent arrears, carry out the breaches in tenancy along with any other costs or repairs from her deposit providing she agreed to vacate by 8th September as per all documents she's signed. I then concluded that if she didn't I would have no other choice but to start court proceedings where she would be liable for all my costs. She has responded today telling me to stop threatening her, to stop sending letters or texts,that I'm a liar and said I told you i'll text you when i've left. I guess her hope was to get offered a council house but hasn't. I think I've given her every opportunity to get out since 29th June and much as I wanted to avoid court I may well now be faced with it to get her to leave. It seems she hasn't grasped that I was trying to offer her damage limitation but instead is still staying on despite her wanting to leave - unbelievable! Any further experience, recommendations, or advice you have would be much appreciated.

P.S I have since found a lovely, trustworthy gas engineer who works for TRUST gas 🙂 but many thanks for the offering of yours had a I lived a bit closer 🙂

Kind regards & very best wishes,
Gillian

gillian copes

19:50 PM, 4th September 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "All BankersAreBarstewards Smith" at "30/08/2014 - 18:42":

Thanks very much for your response. I told him I would be deducting the costs of the rectifications of his shabby workmanship from his total bill after the tenant vacated. I also told him that if he was reporting anything then he himself was liable for issuing the property with a gas safety certificate despite no repairs being done to cooker or boiler from his failed one the day before. So far, so good, not a heard a peep from him since last week 🙂

All the best to you,
Gillian

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

19:56 PM, 4th September 2014
About 6 years ago

employ Landlord Action or a solicitor to issue proceedings against her and have NOTHING further to do with her. Every text/letter/email you send will be twisted against you. Let the professionals deal with her from now on. You will have much more peace of mind knowing that she will be going.....

This degree of rage on her part, means she will almost certainly go to a legal advisor who will throw 'lack of repairs' at you as a defence - you cannot deal with this very complex issues alone - especially with regards to the gas mess-ups.

good luck

gillian copes

21:51 PM, 4th September 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Robb" at "30/08/2014 - 20:03":

Hi Neil, thanks for your response. Yes in hindsight it was very naïve of me not to get the boiler checked after it was fitted as I trusted that cos he was a gas engineer and seemed a nice guy it would be fine. I did threaten him with legal action afterwards, but he denied everything and the gas engineer who later discovered the faults didn't get back to me about being a witness and the engineer who did repairs to issue a safety certificate refused to be a witness. My lawyer said I wouldn't have a good enough case if I couldn't provide evidence with no witnesses, so I had to just drop it. I was lucky that no real harm was done & that she didn't prosecute either of us. She is threatening a lawyer about it all now though, that was last week, but I still haven't heard from one. I have on the plus side found a good gas engineer & certainly will be fastidious about boilers & gas certificates in future.

In the meantime last week the tenant refused a final house inspection, told me to stay away from the house, stop harassing her & that she'll text me when she's leaving. I've sent her a letter stating that the council will cancel her application & housing benefit if they know about her first informing me that she wanted to leave first & then asking me to provide all the documents for eviction so she could get a council house (which I did) and that if she agrees to leave on the 8th as all signed documents say then I'm prepared to waive her rent arrears of £915 and carry out repairs & breaches & any other costs which would then be deducted from her deposit. I then stated that if she didn't then I'd have no other option but to start court proceedings where she would be liable for my costs. She text me today telling me to stop threatening her, telling lies & that she'd text me when she'd left...so unfortunately at this point it looks like i'll have to raise court proceedings next week to get her to leave as I'm not prepared to just wait indefinitely until I get the privilege of her text whenever she decides she's leaving as I've had enough of her not paying any rent and the unnecessary drama she's created. If it does go to court then i'll be seeking possession to sell the house, so she will definitely have to go then, which will be fine as unfortunately this whole experience has somewhat disillusioned my expectations of renting out property.

Kind regards & best wishes,
Gillian

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