Company let eviction with 3 months rent arrears

by Readers Question

11:04 AM, 8th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Company let eviction with 3 months rent arrears

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Company let eviction with 3 months rent arrears

I have a Company Let (no name of the Ltd Company ; only an individual name on the tenancy agreement) where the tenant is not paid rent for last three months amounting to GBP 10K . The LA (Letting Agent) made the agreement and we were too naïve to understand that a Company Let needs to have the LTD Company Reg number!

We have email confirmation from the LA that it is a Company Let and hence deposit does not require protection and deposit is with the LA .

The rental agreement was from Jan 2017 to Jan 2018 and then a periodic tenancy (I believe month on month).

In July we wanted the property for us to stay in it, so we started talking to the tenant and she wanted some money to vacate (1 month rent) which we agreed but she completely stopped communication. We are sure the tenant is subletting (doubt they are company employees) but have no way to prove it though except for neighbour’s comments and the fact that LA said that the LTD company Reg number is not in the tenancy agreement as it is a sole trader company .

Umpteen texts, calls and emails to the LA and the tenant. but no response.

Gas and EPC certificate in place, sent the tenant how to rent booklet, tenant not allowing access for Smoke and CO alarms

  • Do we serve Notice to Quit(1 month) for eviction and what are the next steps ? Are the tenants in the house our responsibility ?
  • Can we do a small claim court for rent recovery ?
  • What is our position as a landlord if the LA has made mistakes in the agreement (type, deposit, details, company check etc) ?

With spiraling costs on mortgage, we were hoping to do the eviction without a lawyer !

Apologies for the long post and so much detail .

Any advice is much appreciated.
Thanks and Best Regards,

Jigna



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:09 AM, 8th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Jigna,

This is not a scenario I have run across before, so hopefully other readers can offer some advice.

I know you said you didn't want to add to the cost but this can be a false economy and it may be worth speaking to Paul Shamplina and his team at Landlord Action >> https://www.property118.com/member/?id=190

Robert Mellors

9:46 AM, 9th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

How can it be a company let if it is let to a named individual?
It could perhaps be let to Joe Bloggs, who may just happen to be a sole trader trading as XYZ business, but even then surely this would still be let to an individual so it would be a standard AST?
If it was a company let, i.e. let to a company, then the company would have a company number registered with Companies House.
If it was a proper company let, then the property would have to have been let on a lease agreement, not on a residential tenancy agreement (e.g. an AST), as the legal framework underpinning company lets is different to those for individuals.

This is a situation where you will need proper legal advice from a specialist solicitor. Paul Shamplina may be able to help, but it may be that if all your paperwork is incorrect for the type of letting you have created, then you will need to spend a small fortune on getting advice and assistance from a specialist in company lease law. - Then look at suing the Letting Agent for getting you into this mess (but of course they act for you, and you are responsible for accepting or declining their proposals, so they may simply say that you should have taken proper legal advice before entering into such an agreement?).

Mike

10:50 AM, 9th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Jigna, you certainly have a tricky one, but I am sure if you use logical approach, you will get there eventually, first write to your lettings Agent and threaten them that you would report them to the appropriate body that runs a register for lettings agents such as ARLA, (google for bad lettings agents)
There are many questions, do they collect rent for you or did they simply find you tenants, do they charge you commission?
Why have they not taken any action against the tenants for failing to pay rent on time? Did they seek references? How many tenants are there? Do they each have a seperate tenancy agreements? if so with who? all these questions may need answering before you even took your case to a housing law expert or a lawyer.
As for fitting or checking Co and smoke detectors, or for checking gas appliances for landlords gas safety record, you can write to them giving minimum of 24Hrs Notice, ideally more allowing for the time to allow a notice letter to reach at the property, so giving 3 to 5 days Notice and provide a specific date, and approximate time you would turn up with your own keys to conduct this mandatory safety check, hopefully with your Gas safe engineer as well as your electrician to deal with Fire alarm detectors, to replace faulty detectors, send the letter by recorded delivery and take independent witness with you as well as some sort of video camera, one of these used by cyclist is good one, record all your encounter with anyone on video.
Go from there, interview all tenants or occupiers who live there, you obviously need to find out who lives there, under what category, and find out what the heck is going on.
You may try to serve on the known tenant a section 8 eviction Notice giving that main tenant 14 days Notice plus allow a few days extra for the Notice to be deemed as delivered, use recorded delivery method.
You will need to find out for yourself if your LA is not cooperating with you, what else can you do without knowing the actual situation, you cannot even engage a solicitor without adequate information, as well as you would lose a possession order if you assumed wrong, wasting your money on lawyers, and court charges, so you need to find out exactly what is going on, who is head tenant, who else occupies as sub tenants, what agreement have they got in place and who do they each pay their rent to, and how much and at what interval.
so first report your LA, then find out what is going on.take a body camera and record as no one can touch you nor are you allowed to touch anyone, but it is within your right as a landlord or owner of a property to find out who is living there. Report any threats to police. As a landlord you have a right to conduct property inspections, but as long as you have given written notice and you state clearly that you will get in with your own keys if no one answers the door bell, with a witness to do the checks. By law they cannot stop this for indefinite.

Chris Daniel

11:01 AM, 9th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Specialist eviction yes, but at reasonable cost. -PossessionFriend.uk
All documentation needs to be examined and a full case assessment. Also, you'll need assistance with any negligence claim against the Agent.

Ian Narbeth

11:13 AM, 9th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Dear Jigna
I strongly recommend you find a lawyer. Issues to look at include:
1. If the tenant is a limited company it will probably be wound up so unless it has substantial assets it is probably not worth suing for arrears;
2. The agents should have completed the tenancy agreement correctly but it appears they have not. A company number is useful but NOT essential;
3. If the company has no assets why did the agents accept it without a large deposit or personal guarantees? You may have a claim against the agents.
4. Absent a company name, the individual who signed the tenancy may be personally liable. That may be your strongest line of attack.
I fear that if you do not use solicitors you will waste months getting spun along by the tenant and the letting agents. Are they also managing the property for you?

Seething Landlord

12:24 PM, 9th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Be very careful about entering the property without the consent of the tenant. My understanding is that no such right of entry exists, however unreasonable this may seem and regardless of the terms of the tenancy agreement.

DALE ROBERTS

14:09 PM, 9th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

This scenario echoes the nightmare I have only recently rid myself of but it cost in excess of GBP20 000.00 in lost rental and unpaid heating accounts without including the trashed apartment or legal fees. Plus my unit remains empty as I now refuse to tenant it.
I had a fictitious corporate tenant placed in my apartment by the now defunct but fraudulent Oliver-Knights. They now trade under a new name since declaring bankruptcy a few years ago. When my rentals ceased and Oliver-Knights proved impossible to contact, I contacted the tenant directly only to discover a rogue serial tenant with a litany of evictions and CCJ's to her name. It took me 8 months to evict her whilst she remained in my property rent free aided and abetted by Council/Shelter. Lee Daniels of Helpland, who had fortuitously evicted the tenant from the unit alongside mine before she took up occupation of my property, was invaluable in finally ridding me of the leech who had also crammed several of her family members into the unit - all, including her, on benefits. She refused access to the unit for the last year of her tenancy. Her rental history, once exposed, was vital in that she ceased her opportunistic "defense" of inter alia ; harassment, maintenance and an unprotected deposit by which she managed to delay her eviction by several months without submitting proof of her claims - till the Judge ruled on a final hearing which she did not attend. She was an adroit and professional manipulator of the system. And although I sought to escalate the matter to the High Court, this was refused by the Judge who felt the Country Court Bailiffs were being sidelined and thus prejudiced (sic). It took me a further 3 months to have the CCJ registered as the Country Courts do not do this automatically. I had to submit a written submission to the Judge for same.
I suggest you seek any reference to your present tenant's rental history from Landlord Referencing and whether the tenant has any CCJ's registered against him/her.
I would also echo the advice of the other Forum's members by suggesting you contact any of the three eviction specialists mentioned above. The eviction process is a minefield of administrative dictates best avoided by the inexperienced.

Graham Bowcock

14:42 PM, 9th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Jigna

It seems, from what you say, that your letting agent may be in over their depth. Unfortunately the sector is unregulated and there is no requirement for any agent to have any formal qualifications, or even training. This shows the problems that they can cause and I strongly suggest that you raise this with them in no uncertain terms.

It sounds like they have attempted to grant a company tenancy but have ended up not properly doing so and have created a hybrid with a standard AST. AST provisions (e.g. s21, deposit protection, etc.) do not apply to company tenancies.

As others have said, the agent should have properly identified the company and grated a tenancy to them. If the "company" is not limited (i.e. a sole trader or partnership) but the house was required for an employee, then a tenancy (or lease) could still have been granted to reflect the situation. The terms would have covered the third party occupier. An AST is really aimed at personal occupation and so is not appropriate.

The tenancy should have provisions for ending the occupation, setting out what you need to do. If not, then the usual notice period is the equivalent of a rental period.

I would not, however, suggest that you do anything without good advice. Your agent has apparently made a mess of this, but this is not the tenant's fault; you will therefore first of all have to unravel the agreement and ascertain exactly what has been granted (and who to) before you can take the tenant on. The agent's PI should be covering the costs in so far as the agent was negligent.

Good luck
Graham

Chris Daniel

20:11 PM, 9th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 09/10/2018 - 12:24
Seething absolutely correct, apart from a genuine emergency, water - gas leak etc.


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