Can I remove tenant with no agreement or money taken?

by Readers Question

8:28 AM, 13th May 2016
About 5 years ago

Can I remove tenant with no agreement or money taken?

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Can I remove tenant with no agreement or money taken?

My tenant moved in before I had time to check his references as he told me it was his only day off.remove

I then found out he had a criminal record. I have not taken any money off him and he has not sign a tenancy agreement.

I need him out for the sake of other tenants.

What is my best option please.

Kate


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Comments

Steve From Leicester

17:47 PM, 16th May 2016
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Charles King - Barrister-At-Law" at "16/05/2016 - 12:01":

Hi Charles,

Difficult one. I agree that if two months rent are outstanding then this is likely to be the quickest and safest route to gain a mandatory possession order. But I assume they're not at this stage yet - and perhaps the tenant will pay some or all of the rent in the meantime. What would Kate do then?

If she accepted the payment it would arguably weaken her position still further - because accepting rent means there can be no argument that she's created a tenancy.

On the other hand, if she refuses the payment she can't then ask a judge for possession on the grounds of rent arrears.

At the end of the day though, I'm a letting agent not a lawyer, so my advice to any of my clients in this situation would be to seek professional, paid for, legal advice as soon as possible.

Ingrid Bacsa

19:51 PM, 16th May 2016
About 4 years ago

If Kate is still tuning in: Kate definitely has a tenancy- they got the key and they moved in. She needs to take the rent and deposit asap. Then consider the most practical eviction route. Personally I would make up an excuse to avoid any bad feeling: "Auntie is returning from Mongolia with her five kids , so sorry ! The section 21 is attached but you don't have to stay for two months ! "

If the let is in her own home she can simply change locks and nicely kick him out.

Robert Mellors

20:00 PM, 16th May 2016
About 4 years ago

As far as I have read on here, there is no mention of what the criminal record is, why it would pose any problem to other residents, or why it may be considered to be grounds for eviction (if indeed there is a tenancy, rather than a mere permission to stay for a few days rent free as a guest while references are sought).

IF, it is a tenancy, what is it about the criminal record that indicates that the person will be a bad tenant. I house loads of ex-offenders, and while some admittedly do go on to re-offend, some turn their lives around and become law abiding citizens (and excellent tenants).

Has the tenant/guest ACTUALLY done anything to the landlord or other residents of the HMO???? - Nothing is indicated in the original post, so presumably the tenant/guest has done nothing wrong in relation to the tenancy, except failed to declare something they may be ashamed of and are trying to put behind them.

Mark Lynham

9:17 AM, 17th May 2016
About 4 years ago

shame Kate hasnt commented further really.....

Mandy Thomson

10:00 AM, 17th May 2016
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "16/05/2016 - 20:00":

I agree with you, Robert, but in the case of this person, it looks very much like he has conned his way into getting possession of the property, by making up a story about being unable to get time off work. Obviously, we don't know the complete circumstances, but it does seem somewhat implausible to me.

Also, smaller landlords often simply don't have the luxury of being able to give a high risk tenant a chance, hence all the "no DSS" endorsements on letting ads. If a tenant defaults on rent and/or causes severe damage, that will set a small landlord back hard, and possibly even ruin them.

Steve From Leicester

10:20 AM, 17th May 2016
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ingrid Bacsa" at "16/05/2016 - 19:51":

Ingrid's suggestion of using Section 21 means Kate will be stuck with this tenant for at least six months (an AST can be for less than six months, but a quirk in the law means that even if you've only granted a 3 month AST you can only enforce possession under a section 21 six months after the tenancy commenced).

That said, it might be the safest way forward. Back to my earlier comments though - many of us can offer opinions based on our experience and personal knowledge, but what Kate really needs is professional paid for legal advice

Ingrid Bacsa

11:02 AM, 17th May 2016
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve From Leicester" at "17/05/2016 - 10:20":

Yes, thanks for reminding me the 6 months rule!

Graham Landlord

17:58 PM, 17th May 2016
About 4 years ago

Hi, consider clause 17 of the section 8 notice. Which is about obtaining a tenancy by misrepresentation? This gives him only two weeks to move out before you start a high speed court action. Also I think you said you gave him a key and he moved in without your permission. I presume you only gave him a key to look over the place at his convenience, having only discussed "in principle" the possibility that you might let it to him and he might take it! This is no different to an Estate agent giving you the key to an empty property for you to look at, suggesting that it may rent at £600 a month in the future. Giving someone a key doesn’t create a tenancy. It requires an explicit offer and an acceptance, like any other contract. Verbal contracts can be binding, but without an independent witness, it can be very difficult to qualify that any offer was made or accepted! Are you sure he isn’t just squatting in your flat?

Steve From Leicester

11:28 AM, 19th May 2016
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Graham Chilvers" at "17/05/2016 - 17:58":

Hi Graham,

This has already been explored on here, and while not everyone agrees, the consensus seems to be that by her actions Kate has created an implied contract. In simple terms, after advertising the property, taking up references (even though she didn't check them until later) and handing over keys it's hard to imagine convincing a judge that she only intended to give the applicant an opportunity to pop round and have a look at the place.

As for misrepresentation, the consensus seems to be that this will only work if Kate specifically asked about a criminal record and the tenant didn't reply truthfully. Even then, Kate would need to convince a judge that this justified someone losing their home.

If Kate didn't ask the question I can't see how a misrepresentation claim could succeed, it would depend on convincing a judge that the applicant should have volunteered this information without being asked.

As an aside I'm an estate and letting agent and would never give any prospective buyer or tenant the keys to an empty property.

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