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I am a new Landlord having recently inherited some properties from my father. My dad passed away suddenly without handing over to me, so I am having to learn quickly. I have read a lot of books and have done lots of research, but have little real experience. I am hoping someone can help me with the following situation that I have:-
I own a pair of semi’s. In one semi lives the daughter, husband and son. Next door lives the elderly mother (85) on her own. I collect the rent from my elderly tenant every month. She often asks me to hold on to the cheque for a few days before putting it in. I think she is living hand to mouth, so I try to help and usually put the cheque in a week later.
Towards the end of last year I noticed my tenants health deteriorate significantly. I also noticed the presence of another family member in the house whenever I called to collect the rent. When I asked my tenant she told me it was her granddaughter who was visiting, due to her own ill health. I didn’t think anything of it to start with, but a recent property inspection revealed she is living with my tenant along with her boyfriend and 5 year old autistic daughter. Her mum (who lives next door) told me she had recently left her rented accommodation because she wants to live close to her mum and she was told a house up the street would be coming up for rent soon.
A couple of months ago the rent cheque bounced again so I sent a standard letter asking for immediate payment and requested all future rent payments be sent by standing order. My tenant rang me and told me she couldn’t possibly pay it by standing order as she doesn’t get her pension and housing allowance on the same day each month. I reluctantly agreed to let her continue to pay it by cheque, but the cheque bounced again last month.
Last week, I received a telephone call from her daughter saying she was trying to sort out her mums’s finances and told me her husband would send the next rent payment to my bank by BACS today. I agreed this would be okay and check on line today. The rent has been received, but not by the tenant’s Son-in-law as agreed, but by her grand-daughter (the person living with her at the moment). I am concerned this payment could enable her granddaughter to make a claim to have a formal tenancy. Has this created a tenancy agreement?
I believe she has given up her property in the hope that she can live in her grandma’s house if something happens to her.
Should I send the money back?
Please advise what you think I should I do?
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