How can I help a previously homeless tenant?

by Readers Question

12:01 PM, 8th May 2019
About 4 months ago

How can I help a previously homeless tenant?

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How can I help a previously homeless tenant?

A few months ago I posted regarding my sale to a company who specialised in letting to charities placing homeless people. I was very much taken in by this and found that my tenants in place were given massive rent increases so it was eviction by another name.

I’ve managed to help a few of them (not enough), but moving on from that I’ve now been contacted by the only one left (out of 11) who is being threatened by the new ‘landlord’/owner and told that he will be ‘out in a couple of weeks’. This tenant has nowhere to go, cannot pay the huge increase in rent and his little flat (no more than a room in size but self contained) is being subjected to changes as the new owner takes out the common heating/hot water services and puts in individual so he and the other tenants will have to pay for the services as well as council tax and the increased rent. Irony with this is that settled tenants were made homeless to house the homeless and I could say a lot more.

He rang me yesterday being very brave, he does have challenges in his life. I had him for a tenant for 10 years and we saw a lot through together, but now I’m quite fearful if he is ousted by this Rachman character he cannot afford another place. Oddly I don’t know who he turns to. I’ve suggested Environment Health as his radiators have been ripped out while he is occupying the place, likewise new electrics and other works being done round him and also the workmen are entering without notice or consent. He works shifts so generally in sleeping daytime.

I’ve told him to get down to the council offices, but still really at a loss to get him immediate help. Anyone out there who know where he can go as a first port of call for help and action to stop this and stop him ending up on the streets? I’ve even spoken to the ‘charity’ who were unaware of the actions of the landlord (so they say) but they only supply the ‘tenants/clients’ who then pay rent via benefits. Loads more to this, but I need to concentrate on helping this old tenant of mine.

The new owner has already threatened me with ‘libel’ because I copied the estate agent in to an email to him where I told him what I thought of his ‘business plan’ which is essentially making people homeless to house the homeless as they pay more rent via the benefit system – he’s a nasty piece of work – however whilst I can’t let him get away with this my priority is more to help the tenant at this stage.

Many thanks

Elizabeth



Comments

Paul Maguire

9:24 AM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

Elizabeth. You passed on responsibility to the tenants to the new owner when you sold the property. Sounds like he conned you to get it below market value but there's a lot of unscrupulous people in business. Accept it and be far more cynical in future. That's the way I've gone.

Robert Mellors

10:01 AM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

It sounds like the charity is merely a letting agent that places people with private landlords, as your description indicates that the new owner (the person you sold the property to) is an entirely different person?

Where is this property? My not-for-profit company leases properties in Sheffield from private landlords, and with the owner's permission, then sublets them to homeless people. However, this sounds a lot different to the situation you are describing, as in your description the charity is not the new owner, and thus is not the landlord to the occupying tenant.

Annie Landlord

10:22 AM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

Could you help him to contact Shelter, if he hasn't already done so? They can be quite aggressive and it sounds like this is a case where their involvement would be useful.
You could also help him to make a call to the council's private sector housing officer (number should be on the council's website) as a way of getting the council involved.
I do hope you're able to help him

Robert Mellors

10:39 AM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

As Paul says, when you sold the property with a sitting tenant, you passed on responsibility to the new owner, and it is for the tenant and the new owner to sort it out between themselves. There could be a lot more to this than is being told to you, and presumably you are only getting one side of the story.

However, the tenant should be able to get help from the local authority's homelessness team, who will investigate the circumstances, and should take action if the new owner landlord is acting unlawfully, as this is part of the Council's homelessness prevention duties. They may also be able to point your tenant in the direction of local homelessness services, who may have links to suitable housing providers.

Harlequin Garden

10:39 AM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Maguire at 09/05/2019 - 09:24
It wasn’t below market value! I did very nicely financially but I hadn’t factored in this very mean personality. I have great tenants and alway look after them. He’s come to me for help and that is what I need to do.

Harlequin Garden

10:40 AM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 09/05/2019 - 10:01
It wasn’t below market value! I did very nicely financially but I hadn’t factored in this very mean personality. I have great tenants and alway look after them. He’s come to me for help and that is what I need to do.

Harlequin Garden

11:38 AM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 09/05/2019 - 10:01
The charity is not the landlord they feed tenants to the new owner who is squeezing the last cent out of the place by turning down the water temperature, taken out laundry facilities. No cleaning. Just the bare bones. He also hasn’t put the council tax in his name and i’m being issued with summonses left right and centre. I can cope but it’s the way he’s behaved towards tenants who had no hand in this that has upset me. The charity is supposed to manage the property but they are not doing that either. It stinks and is filthy. Shelter sounds a good place to go thanks to all who suggested it.

Harlequin Garden

11:41 AM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 09/05/2019 - 10:39
It is what it is, there is no story with it just a very immoral ‘landlord’ - ex chartered accountant so a bean counter and he is counting every bean here. He wasn’t a sitting tenant just long term with me and vulnerable. I’ll suggest shelter to him. I’ve told him to get down to the council offices and the private housing office. Just hope he does.

Paul Maguire

12:10 PM, 9th May 2019
About 4 months ago

I apologise for my earlier assumption but I'll make another one. He's probably not registered for Council Tax as he would rather that the tenants became responsible for paying it. If it's an HMO my understanding [in Scotland] is that it's the landlord's responsibility to pay it.

Harlequin Garden

11:17 AM, 10th May 2019
About 4 months ago

The units are valued for council tax and have been for the last couple of years - and yes the landlord is responsible for any time the places are empty. I've had continuing correspondence with the council over this but they continue to contact me so there is obviously no one registering them. That's not a big issue it's the way he's treated the original tenants and this it would appear is not an issue for anyone else. I've told him to speak to Shelter - I maybe able to do this on his behalf, the local councillor has responded with the number for private housing at the council offices so they have no interest in the tenant or what the landlord is up to (which makes a change). I'll have to let it go but while they still come back to me for help I'll do what I can.
The heading is misleading it is a previous tenant being threatened with eviction/being made homeless

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