Compliance Conundrum when tenant won’t leave?

Compliance Conundrum when tenant won’t leave?

11:33 AM, 26th November 2020, About 6 months ago 20

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We purchased a converted property at auction 15 years ago. One flat was occupied with a tenant on an AST, and a low rent. The property was barely habitable then, and we assumed the tenant would move on, and we could refurbish. That has not happened.

The property has solid walls with no insulation, no roof insulation, single glazed, bare brick walls in parts (blown plaster, not a chosen look!). Very old wiring, bathroom, kitchen etc. We have asked the tenant to leave, but she refuses. It is also difficult to gain any access (we have no keys).

We know we will have to go down the Section 21 route, but what is the position in April when we do not have a valid EICR, waiting for the notice period and a court date, whilst the tenant remains in the property?

Many thanks

Brian



Comments

by TrevL

21:35 PM, 26th November 2020, About 6 months ago

Looks like you will face fines if an EICR is not in place, although don't know how this will play out legally with covid etc.....suggest you get some legal advice.

Not to add to your troubles, but does the flat have gas appliances, and if so do you have a gas safety certificate and suitable records.

Also, if the property could be deemed inhabitable you could be breaching other landlord responsibilities....the argument that you couldn't gain access probably won't fly if it turns nasty and authorities get involved....

by Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law)

10:21 AM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

Surely this is an Assured Tenancy not AST?

by psquared

10:33 AM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

I would do everything possible to prove that the tenant refuses access.
Keep copies of emails requesting access...send recorded delivery messages and ask them to sign to say they refuse access for you to carry out vital repairs.
Ensure that you put on all the communication that you want ot carry out your legal obligations to make sure the property is safe and remind them that they to have a duty of care to comply with requests for access to carry out essential repairs....if it goes wrong you want as much evidence as possible that you are not at fault. Ultimately if they refuse to have safety checks you would have to apply to the courts....not sure exactly as this has never happened to me.
Hope it gets sorted

and in terms of getting them out I think the easiest route to try is offering them an incentive to leave and have it reducing by month so maybe £2000 (or whatever you think its worth to get them out) if they go within 4 weeks reducing to £1000 etc.....
I'm not saying that it will definetly work but I offered a tennant £2000 cash if they left in 7 days and they accepted and job was done...saved me a lot more than that if they continued to stay not paying rent.....I know it sucks rewarding people for being pains but be pragmatic and do the sums......the goal is to get them out as quickly and cost effectively as possible

by Puzzler

11:05 AM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

Contact environmental health, however this could incur costs for yourself without the tenant moving

Why did you assume they would move if they hadn't previously? You did get legal advice didn't you? This sort of information is usually in the information packs provided before the auction

by LaLo

11:07 AM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

Maybe you could try and find your tenant somewhere else to live that that might be suitable and offer to pay the deposit or even a months rent too which would be a lot cheaper than going down the legal route. Also, is your property in a licensing area? If you have no license or the property not up to scratch you could be fined "wait for it" £30,000 - unlimited and also branded a criminal even in this day and age! As previously mentioned, keep proof of everything. I've read somewhere- 6 months is now the minimum notice over the Covid period.

by brian gill

11:15 AM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

Thaks for the replies.

I would think it is a periodic tenancy after the AST expired. I thought an assured tenancy (sitting tenant?) was when the tenant was present before 1988.

Re: gas. We have always had the gas check done, and this year we actually had to have a new boiler fitted as they had no hot water. They will allow access for essential works. I am sure they would allow the EICR to be done, it is the fact I know it would fail and need a full re-wire.

I know there is subsidence in the property, and dry rot. So it is not really just about access for repairs. It needs gutting and full refurbishment.

I have offered an incentive of £1500 to move within 3 months, and I actually said they could stop paying the rent if that helped them to get a deposit for their next accomodation. The problem is they have been there so long at a low rent, any similar accomodation is more than twice as much.

by psquared

11:30 AM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

I don’t want to be an alarmist but you have just admitted on a public forum you suspect wiring is not to standard. yikes!

You need to get this sorted asap. If anything happens to them you could be facing very serious charges. Please at the very very least get thewiring sorted or double your offer for them to move out. And be careful what you say as I suspect that admission could be used against you.

by brian gill

11:42 AM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

You are correct. I should qualifty my comment as suspect the wiring will fail, as it has not been upgraded for at least 28 years (during current tenant occupancy). I personally do not know of any issues, and the tenant has never reported any problems.

by LaLo

12:03 PM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

As Squared says, mind what you say. Being a L/L is a dangerous occupation these days! It may be an idea to arrange to have a solicitors letter sent to them requesting what you need to do (choose your words carefully) then at least it would show you're trying your best!

by silversurfer2017

12:19 PM, 27th November 2020, About 6 months ago

What strikes me about this story is that the problem seems to have originated from an erroneous assumption that the tenant would move on. We all have had tenants that have stayed a long time. One tenant was with me for 11 years and then only moved out because she was not allowed by the management company to keep her pet cat. What incentive would the tenant have to move on if the rent was cheap? For some tenants, assuming the location is OK, a low rent is more desirable than a more updated property at a higher rent. If the property was only just habitable when purchased then why wasn't the tenant given notice to leave so that at least some of the restoration work could be carried out before the property was re-let? Just to do nothing and sit back was not an really an option and will now probably cost the owner a lot of money to extricate himself from this situation. Bribing the tenant to leave will probably be the cheapest option as then hopefully any fines will be avoided.

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