DSS tenant in arrears by nearly 4 months?

by Readers Question

10:38 AM, 21st March 2016
About 3 years ago

DSS tenant in arrears by nearly 4 months?

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DSS tenant in arrears by nearly 4 months?

I have a tenant who has been with us for 3 years. The original AST tenancy agreement was written in Sept 2013 which has 6 months on it. She is a DSS tenant, but they only pay £380, and the tenant pays £65 top-up. stacked against

She has always been in arrears on the top-up, but in the last 3 months the DSS have stopped paying her rent. We have sent her rent demand letters, a notice of eviction which is nearly 10 months old as we did not act on it as she paid the top-up arrears then.

We recently up-dated a tenancy agreement from Jan 2016- plus added a clause that the current AST is a continuation of the first AST. We have also put a claim in the small claims court for £1440, tenant says she is going to challenge it due to her low income, but on what grounds I don’t understand. I am issuing a section 8 notice too.

I would like to know the quickest way of evicting the tenant to minimise any more arrears, and is there any way I can collect my arrears?

She has always been a council paying tenant as she is a student with 2 children. She receives plenty in benefits as she has an autistic child. How can I resolve this, how can I recover my losses.

It just seems so unfair that Landlords like me are taken advantage of and the legal system plays into the hands of contract breaking tenants who won’t pay as they will claim not to have sufficient income.

Bash



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:41 AM, 21st March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Bash,

Yes the law can seem stacked against Landlords and if you are not sure of what you are doing you can make a very expensive mistake.

I would suggest you seek professional assistance from our specialist partners in tenant eviction and reclaiming debt. Please see out Tenant eviction page under the legal tab >> http://evicting-tenants.net/

Kelly Joanna

11:44 AM, 21st March 2016
About 3 years ago

Not sure why you would sign a new tenancy with a risky tenant, however, sure you had your reasons.
I would have done the money claim after you had possession as well, as if you are lumbered with her for longer than you expect you will need to do another one of the arrears increase in the meantime. Section 8 is enforceable however, as she has dependents the Judge will likely award her with the maximum amount of time to vacate, and even then she still may not go and you will need a bailiff.

Ollie Smith

11:52 AM, 21st March 2016
About 3 years ago

Why don't you contact the council concerned and ask them to pay you direct now that she is more than two months in arrears? They should do that as a matter of course when the arrears reach two months.

Monty Bodkin

11:54 AM, 21st March 2016
About 3 years ago

How do you know the "DSS" has stopped paying her rent?

More likely she is pocketing it herself.

Apply to get direct payment from the council.

Evict.

Luke P

14:41 PM, 21st March 2016
About 3 years ago

You'll be under the 'new rules' now too, I would imagine (How to Rent guide, EPC, GSC all issued to tenant), notice not to be served within first 4 months (six month blackout on notices if repair reported). If you don't know what you're doing, pay someone who does and get rid.

Gary Nock

21:32 PM, 21st March 2016
About 3 years ago

Doesn't apply to Section 8 Rent Arrears. Only Section 21 Evictions are covered by the Deregulation Act 2015.

Bash Khan

23:30 PM, 21st March 2016
About 3 years ago

Thank you guys.
I'm issuing a section 8 notice and go from there.
I will be taking rent protection from now on. Solicitors are too expensive at this point for filling forms out. If it becomes challenging in court then we will bring the solicitors in.

Ian Ringrose

10:45 AM, 22nd March 2016
About 3 years ago

Paying £100 to a EXPERT solicitor that does tenant evictions day in day out to have one of their staff get the form right is well worth it as even not dotting a single “i”, can get a case dismissed costing you many more months of lost rent. The court systems are in such a state of unfitness that as landlords we need ALL the help we can get. (Just don’t use a solicitor that takes on any work other then tenant issues, ideally one that ONLY works for landlords.)

Gary Dully

19:00 PM, 22nd March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hello Bash,

You can't evict without a court order, that will take months.
So see you in July/ August, when you ask how to get a bailiff.

So
My first action would be to remove her current money supply.

If she is paying for fags, pizzas and Giff Gaff, you will never see any money.

Contact benefits in writing quoting her NI number and request immediate suspension of her LHA benefit, send them a copy of the Section 8 notice and request direct payment to your business bank account.

Many councils have a landlord liaison team, to prevent you evicting her, so they will be as helpful as possible.

If she has been sanctioned and her benefit has been stopped, it is vital that you get your request in early, because her current claim could be completely cancelled by the benefits office and any future payments would be made as a brand new claim.

That could take months to go through the system again.

I would suspect that you are now viewed as an evil bastard landlord, by your tenant and she may be advised to discredit you.

So at the Section 8 route court hearing, you will have to be calm, professional and ready for her defense, (if she has one).

The judge will want to see your Section 8 notice, (Grounds 8,10 & 11), proof of service of the notice, a statement of truth, a copy of CPR compliance rental statement within 7 days of issue of your court claim, Tenancy agreement and a current statement of arrears on the day of hearing.
(Make sure the statement complies with the prescribed layout under CPR rules).
Get your case file sent to the court at least 2 days before the hearing, as the last judge I dealt with, was very happy she could read the file beforehand.

If she gets the arrears below the 8 week or 2 month threshold by the day of the hearing, fall back on grounds 10 and 11 and you will probably get a suspended repossession order.

If she doesn't show for the hearing, you may get a full repossession order based on her annoying the court.
If she is over the threshold the court should award you possession back.

You should also get a CCJ money order attached, stating that the arrears are to be paid back at £5pw, if she pleads poverty.
(Don't expect to ever see it).

Make sure when you claim for money via Section 8, that you only claim for rent arrears, if you claim for anything else in that total you are breaching CPR and a good defense solicitor will get your grounds 8 quashed, if not the whole case.

If you are claiming the rent via a separate money claim, do NOT claim it again via the repossession hearing or the judge will dismiss your case if they find out, just claim for possession back.

If you can go down the Section 21 route, do so, as you are guaranteed possession back, but you can't claim for arrears.
There is normally no need for a court hearing for a section 21 repossession, unless she makes a defense.

There is no fast way to evict that is legal, unless you can offer alternative housing, where she volunteers to expressly surrender her tenancy.

The council may also offer her a transitional payment towards her top up, but she already may have messed them about also.

Luke P

20:22 PM, 22nd March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "22/03/2016 - 19:00":

As suggested, sometimes cheaper and certainly quicker to offer a handful of cash in exchange for surrender of tenancy/property...

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