Evicting a house share tenant who is a bully

by Readers Question

17:05 PM, 15th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Evicting a house share tenant who is a bully

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Evicting a house share tenant who is a bully

We signed a new tenant in a house share on a 3-month tenancy due to end on the 30th of June. He has been nothing but trouble, moaning and complaining about the other tenants, filling most of the communal cupboards with his food, and now on the weekend he threatened our very nice Vietnamese tenant with a bottle (he is Eritrean and appears to be racist against anyone from the ‘East’).

The Vietnamese tenant is too scared to go back to the house and has handed in his notice. The horrible tenant has even complained about our really nice Nigerian tenant (who had already given his notice).

I just want to double-check that the only course of action is to give him a 2-month notice (Section 21) before the 30th of May, meaning that it expires at the end of July). Part of me wants to risk just saying to him that we will not extend his notice at the end of June, so he needs to find somewhere from 1st of July – but he has lived here for a little while so might get some advice.

I want to get the bully out as soon as possible and before he drives out the only other remaining tenant.

Thanks

Rosbottle



Comments

Neil Patterson

17:11 PM, 15th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Ros,

Can I ask if anyone has called the police if he has threatened physical violence with a weapon ?

Dr Rosalind Beck

19:12 PM, 15th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Well we tried to persuade the Vietnamese tenant but he didn't want to, so we couldn't make him. And now he has definitely decided he doesn't want to stay there. I had told him that if we got the police we might be able to get the guy straight out, and I reassured him we would support him and not tolerate violence under any circumstances, but he has made his decision. My priority now is to get rid of the nasty bully - apart from anything else he's going to empty the house at this rate. Thanks for replying.

Andrew Holmes

8:34 AM, 16th May 2015
About 4 years ago

It needs reporting to the police, if the tenant has done this before then there is a picture forming of dangerous behaviour that needs challenging.

If the tenant goes on to attack either yourselves or other tenants there is a record of this tenants previous behaviour which will help with any possible legal action either by yourself or any law enforcement agencies.

This is more about you protecting yourself and your other tenants from future threats and harassment.

If you make things uncomfortable for them they may decide to move before you have to push them out with the section 21.

Robert Mellors

9:13 AM, 16th May 2015
About 4 years ago

I get this situation a lot, and unfortunately the police will do absolutely nothing (regardless of patterns of behaviour) unless the bully actually commits physical violence to one of the residents, and the resident is willing to report it to them (and make a statement accordingly). In this situation the police will bail the bully "not to return to the house", in which case the other residents can get on with living their safely without the bully. However, if the bully is simply threatening and intimidating, or causing damage to the property, then the police will do nothing, as they will class it as a civil matter between landlord and tenant.

Unfortunately, your only recourse is the legal eviction route, and this depends on the occupancy agreement you have with the tenant. I assume it is a tenancy agreement (usual), not a licence agreement (rare, and only if specific circumstances exist).

I believe that if you use an assured shorthold tenancy, then the person cannot be evicted within the first 6 months using the s21 method (the 2 months notice), however, you could perhaps use the s8 method. If the tenant owes more than 8 weeks rent then you may be able to evict using the s8 ground 8 mandatory grounds, but if this is not the case then you may be able to use the s8 ground 14 discretionary grounds if you can prove the situation to the court's satisfaction. Ground 14 relates to the tenant's anti-social behaviour so in theory this would be ideal, however, my understanding is that you may need quite a body of evidence about that anti-social behaviour (e.g. statements from other residents? police reports? copies of the warning letters you've sent him? etc, etc), so I don't know anyone that has ever relied on ground 14 as the sole reason for eviction. - You will perhaps need to do a bit more research on this to see if it can help in this particular case.

Although making life uncomfortable for them sounds tempting (as the legal process takes many months), be very careful about this as your actions could be construed as being an illegal eviction or unlawful eviction, both of which could have very dire consequences for you.

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:19 AM, 16th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Robert. He has a 3-month AST expiring end of June, so I'm assuming we can use a Section 21 before the end of May, which will make his leaving date 30th of July (I'm aware he may not go of course). I take this to be the main advantage of issuing a 3-month tenancy agreement for furnished properties (because we pay the council tax anyway) - that you can get them out more quickly if they play up.
Hi Andrew. I do think it's also a good idea to inform the police, so may do this, more for the protection of others in the future. In the past we asked the police to help with an eviction at the same address (it's a high maintenance, jinxed house) where there had been considerable criminal damage and they were useless - said it was a civil matter. And I suppose I could have battled that definition, but how many battles do you want? Often it's better just to get on with things in life if there is no willing help from the authorities.
Thanks to Andrew and Robert.

Robert Mellors

10:51 AM, 16th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ros ." at "16/05/2015 - 10:19":

Hi Ros

Although you can issue shorter tenancy agreements, e.g. 3 months as you have done, I believe there is a (ludicrous) rule that says that possession orders are not enforceable within the first 6 months of a tenancy. So what this means is that a tenant can have a 3 month AST, but the landlord won’t be able to apply for an order for possession (based on the s21 procedure) until after 6 months. Hence, your options are currently limited to the s8 Notice (using whichever grounds that apply).

It does not of course stop you from issuing a s21 Notice (as well as the s8 Notice, if applicable), but it does seriously delay you effectively following through with the court process.

Annie Golightly

14:03 PM, 16th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Doesn't bullying, threatening behaviour count as Gross Misconduct?

Dr Rosalind Beck

14:24 PM, 16th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Annie. The problem is that the Vietnamese tenant is too frightened to cooperate and has already decided he is definitely leaving and it would, in any case, by his word against the other guy's.
Hi Robert. I am very disappointed at what you have told me. I wasn't aware of this loophole. What is the point in 3-month tenancies if they are, in fact, 6-month ones? I'll have to check with the Guild of Residential Landlords as we use their tenancy agreements and 3-month ones are recommended for the type of tenancy we granted the bully.

Andrew Holmes

18:23 PM, 16th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Ros,

From your original statement you said it was a verbal attack and intimidation due to the victims race. That is classed as a race hate crime, contrary to what has been said on her that is a criminal matter and once reported the Police are obligated to investigate further.

People slate the police saying they are a waste of time and leave matters such as these until they get out of hand and then expect the police to rush in and sort everything out at a drop of a hat. Reporting a crime to the police will not be seen as harassment or part of an unlawful eviction, it is a landlord protecting others from similar circumstances and something that should be done as a citizen, you are well within your rights to do so.

As previously said if i was you i would carry on with the section 21 as a tenant has little to no grounds to appeal against it, it your right to take back possession of your property as long as you do it correctly. Be mindful of the timings of issuing the section 21. You can issue a section 21 within the last 2 months of a AST so long as the tenant has a full 2 months notice, familiarize yourself with the procedure and timings and you will be fine i am sure.

Dr Rosalind Beck

19:53 PM, 16th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Ha! The plot thickens! I texted the Nigerian tenant and asked his view on the dynamics and he said that the Vietnamese tenant is very rude and thinks therefore that he is not as innocent as he painted himself to us. I think there is a lesson here for me, to not always immediately believe what I am told. I now think I want both of them out! The Nigerian has been our star tenant and is leaving anyway because of work commitments, so I put most weight on his opinion. The Eritrean, however, is still a horrible piece of work and was on the 'phone again today complaining this time that the Vietnamese one is leaving his clothes everywhere. So this means that the latter has moved back in, when I thought he was too scared to and was sitting out his notice at a friend's house. There's a nice little soap opera going on now. We did tell the Eritrean that we would be happy for him to go asap as he is obviously very unhappy with the house and tenants.... Fingers crossed that everyone will leave! We'll have a void, but peace will reign. Blissful peace...

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