Over-crowding issue – Tenant Has 3 Kids In One Room

Over-crowding issue – Tenant Has 3 Kids In One Room

9:35 AM, 23rd November 2014, About 9 years ago 34

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I have a tenant who has been renting one room from me since September, she had one kid who is aged under 4 living with her… which I knew about.

Over-crowding issue - Tenant Has 3 Kids In One Room

In the last 3 days I have seen two more kids in the house. I presumed they were her guests or something (visiting), so I asked her who they were today. She said they were her children, who have just come from Africa – to stay with her permanently!

One kid is 15 the other is maybe 8.

This cant be right, 3 children in a room, including her 4.

What do I do?

Do I have to contact social services?

I don’t want to get in trouble for overcrowding.

Thanks

Neil Cooper


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Comments

Mandy Thomson

10:06 AM, 25th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "25/11/2014 - 09:36":

My apologies, Joe - I should have read your response more carefully before responding in turn.

I do however believe that Mick's point is valid. He said, "I get this all the time, not on purpose, when the tenants instigate it."

In other words, you start out with a situation that's not ideal but tolerable, then the tenant takes it upon themselves to make it much more overcrowded - WITHOUT informing the landlord - because they're desperate and they know what the landlord's answer will be. Once the additional family members have moved in, it's a fait accompli and there is little that landlord can do straight away.

Mandy Thomson

10:59 AM, 25th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jonathan Clarke" at "25/11/2014 - 10:03":

Hi Jonathan

Brilliant post! I'm going off at a tangent a bit but I'm really, really sick to the back teeth (as I'm sure we all are) by the prevailing attitude of a large vocal minority who are quick to blame all the ills of the housing crisis on private landlords. To these people, there is no difference between a decent landlord who offers good quality housing and a slumlord.

Instead of praising people like you who offer decent housing to the disadvantaged, they accuse landlords who take LHA tenants of pocketing tax payer's money, as they see property ownership and being a landlord as abstract concepts that require little or no input or responsibility.

There is a world of difference between a landlord like you who is exploiting (not a dirty word, don't we all "exploit" the needs of others to make a living?) an obvious gap in the market BUT PROVIDES SOMETHING OF REAL LIFE CHANGING VALUE in return, and puts in a massive amount of investment in terms of time, work, money etc and someone who also exploits this same gap, but instead provides substandard bed and breakfast accommodation - often low maintenance as standards in such places are often appalling and easy money as they have contracts with councils and rooms almost always taken.

Steve Masters

11:59 AM, 25th November 2014, About 9 years ago

I had a similar situation in one of my HMO's, first tenants wife joined him from Africa then some time later their 10 year old daughter came over. After other tenants complained of noise and overcrowding I went to see tenant and explained the situation was not ideal for anyone and I would be issuing him a section 21 notice to quit (by this time he past the end of fixed term and into SPT). I explained the whole eviction and council re-housing processes to him and fortunately he was a good person in a bad situation and he continued to pay rent and kept his daughter under control and minimized disruption to other tenants. I was lucky, he was eventually re-housed, but it took months and months.

Neil - Sounds like your tenant may not be as reasonable as mine, so continue with S21 and S8 route but seek professional advise. Go and see your tenant and try and get friendly with her and scratch each other backs. Get her to stop retaliatory tactics in exchange for help getting her re-housed. Presumably your house is a shared one (why else would you be paying all the bills!) so explain the situation to the other tenants and ask their patience.

Remember your tenant is a mother first, tenants second, her prime responsibility is to her children. Although far from ideal you will all have to try and live with it until resolved. These situations are all part of a Landlords lot, it goes with territory. You are still in a far better place than she is!

I don't normally condone jumping the housing queue but when children are involved there are different priorities.

Don't get upset, just get working on it.

Steve Masters

12:23 PM, 25th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Like or not this is going to cost you. You're not going to get all your money back from a single mother of three!

Explain to her that you WILL get her evicted one way or the other. If you go down the S8 rent arrears route she will end up with a CCJ that will destroy her credit rating. Get her to work with you down the S21 or S8 overcrowding route. Get her to agree to get her housing benefit paid direct to you in exchange. If she does not co-operate you will go down the S8 CCJ route.

Hopefully that way you will minimize your losses and your troubles.

Does anyone have experience of getting a S8 overcrowding eviction?

Mick Roberts

16:00 PM, 25th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Joe, no problem. I see it all the time on here, people taking things wrong ‘cause it’s wrote in text & not discussed verbally.

Same as arguments on Facebook, things get took out of context.

Hey Jonathon, I was homeless at 18-19ish & got a job at Butlins, & the room u could touch all the walls if u put both your arms out. That was a palace to me after being homeless.

Same as I mean, I talk my stuff down, give ‘em the realities so things should only get better & some are so so grateful to have ‘something’.

Ha ha brilliant, yes Trafalgar ain’t getting ‘em a house today, but learning from yesterday & today could keep ‘em in a home.

Mandy, I get it quite often, I’ll knock on tenants door & someone asleep on the settee. I’ll say who’s that, she’ll say me sister, cousin, brother etc. He’s homeless. I’ll say is he living here. They say yes. I’ll say let’s get claiming for him then, let’s make it legal, extra £68 a week rent. Is that wrong? He’s living here anyway, putting more wear & tear on house. He’s gonna’ mess her benefits up unless we register him there properly.

Mandy Thomson

16:25 PM, 25th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mick Roberts" at "25/11/2014 - 16:00":

Hi Mick

You said, "Is that wrong? " I'd say it's the wider issue that's wrong - the housing crisis. Unless you're some kind of millionaire philanthroper, with money to burn (and even if you were, if you didn't cover your costs, you wouldn't be for long..), you're doing everything you can to help these people.

Is it wrong that people - families with children and women escaping violence -should be put in filthy, vermin infested bed and breakfast accommodation unfit for purpose with a load of criminals and drug addicts? Is it wrong that others (I'm not saying ALL bed and breakfast owners, I'm sure plenty make an effort with very difficult people to deal with) make easy money out of these people's misery?

Neil Cooper

18:29 PM, 25th November 2014, About 9 years ago

hi guys thankyou for all the replies, i just spoke with T today and she has asked me to write her a letter confirming her situation, which she wants to take to the council...any advice on how to word it, the tone of the letter? i wrote the following

Dear Ms.....,

I note you have an extra two other individuals staying in your room. You informed us they were your daughters and have come to live with you on a permanent basis.. It is unacceptable to have 4 people sharing one room, 3 of them being children. I am concerned about my responsibilities, and doubtful that a room of this size could accommodate the equivalent of 4 people.

I am afraid I can not provide extra room for these people. My agreement with you is for one room, for you and your son, I advise you to go to the council and ask them to re-house you with suitable accommodation or help find a place for these girls to live.

I have already served you a section 21 notice for rent arrears, which now total 7 weeks

If you want to talk contact me on .....................

Yours sincerely

Michael Barnes

19:59 PM, 25th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Cooper" at "25/11/2014 - 18:29":

You might want to point out that the law does not allow more than two people to live in a single room (Housing Act 1985 Part X). She may also be committing an offence under section 327 of that Act.

Steve Masters

12:28 PM, 26th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Cooper" at "25/11/2014 - 18:29":

Rent arrears are not relevant to a Section 21 Notice, you don't have to give a reason for serving it but I would say to the council it was because of overcrowding. Stress it from the tenants hardship point of view, because the Council will not be bothered by the landlords hardship.

Now that your tenant is coming round to seeing you as an ally don't forget to get housing benefit paid direct to you and get her to stop and withdraw those retaliatory claims against you. And tell her to keep arrears under 2 months or you will serve section 8 resulting in eviction AND CCJ.

Seek professional advise, especially if those retaliatory claims could still come back and bite you.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:23 AM, 29th November 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Neil. Have you followed Sally T's important advice to ring up the council and get any Local Housing Allowance paid directly to you? This is very important and could considerably minimise your financial losses.
I wouldn't worry about getting into trouble as it is clear that this whole thing is not of your making and you are doing what you can to change it.
Also (and I always say this when tenants' issues become major stressful issues for us), you need to look after yourself psychologically and emotionally (don't laugh). You don't want to get ill from these things. I use certain helpful phrases like: 'Look at every so-called disaster and ask the question: 'In five years' time will this matter?' And: 'However good or bad a situation is, it will change.' And: 'Take a deep breath; it calms the mind.' Enjoy your Saturday. Get out and get some of that lovely fresh air in. Go out for a cappuccino. etc.

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