Eviction Advice – Drug Den

by Readers Question

9:32 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Eviction Advice – Drug Den

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Eviction Advice – Drug Den

I have a long standing tenant who up until around 8 months ago never caused a problem. Various family issues have resulted in her getting in with the wrong type and she now is dependant on drugs.

This has resulted in the property becoming a local drug den. Windows are smashed there are needles and furniture in the back yard. The Police are out to the property on an almost daily basis. The door is such that local youths are entering the property to take drugs whenever they feel like it. The tenant also leaves the property unlocked to allow this. The police tell me inside is wrecked and needles and other drug evidence is left around.  Eviction Advice - Drug Den

We also own the property above this one too. Our tenant moved out as a result and we have not even tried to re let it as it would not be fair on anyone new moving in.

We tried to help this girl with the assistance of her sister. We have had the local Housing officers contact her to try and assist her to move out of the area.We have used a solicitor to give her the correct notice which expired on the 9/1/14 . She told us that she had a hostel lined up so we gave her another week before we instructed the solicitor to apply for a court order and baliffs .

We are getting calls and letters from local residents and neighbours pleading with us to get her out. Her and her “friends” play music loudly most nights. When the Police come they turn it down. These people just tell the neighbours they will wait til the kids are back asleep before the turn it up again. They delight in making the lives of neighbours a complete misery.

We are considering entering the property changing the locks and boarding the whole lot up so no one can get in for a month so that these druggies find somewhere else. Where do we stand if we do this before we get a court order ? We are genuinely concerned now that if one of them sets fire to the property or leaves the gas on some neighbour will be seriously injured or killed. The property is insured so that’s not a problem. But we do not want to act illegally and find ourselves being sued by a drug user with the help of a good doer .

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Dean


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Comments

Mark Alexander

9:47 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Dean

Don't do it!

If you think the law is an ass now, I can assure you that it could get a lot worse for you.

Chances are this person would get legal aid to claim against you for illegal eviction. The fines could run into 5 or even 6 figures!

I had a similar problem many years ago, see http://www.property118.com/perfect-tenant-evicted-prostitute/29056/

The lesson I learned was to use the professionals if anything like this ever came up again. I know nothing about the solicitor you are using but the best man for the job in my opinion would be Paul Shamplina at Landlord Action - see http://www.property118.com/tenant-eviction/39099/ because he has arranged over 20,000 successful evictions and has seen just about everything there is to see in, shall we say, the darker side of tenants.

Yours is one of the worst situations imaginable for a landlord, I feel your pain and I wish you well.

All the best

Mark

Dean

10:06 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "22/01/2014 - 09:47":

Thanks Mark

Yes our solicitor said the same. I had the Police at my house yesterday also saying that . It kicked off there again last night. Ive just had a 25 min conversation with one of the neighbours. Another window as been put through.

The tenant is in court today so we are hoping for a custodial sentence but the police have told us not to hold our breath.

The neighbour is worried they will set fire to the property which adjoins his . Its a sad state of affairs when the law will protect the rights of drug users above the safety of the lives of decent humans, but that's where we are. Putting these people down should be an option .

Gary Nock

10:10 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

I echo Marks comments. Do not try and carry out an illegal eviction. However frustrating it is ( and most landlords have felt such frustration - although perhaps not in these circumstances) you have to trust the legal advisers to get them out.

What are the Police doing? From your post not a lot. Or not appearing to do a lot. They are either a) Gathering intelligence to raid the place or b) Are aware of your eviction proceedings and are relying on you to do their job.

Although they will not tell you if they are considering (a) then a "restrained indifference" may give you some indication. If the problem is as bad as you say then they should be doing something. Are your neighbours also contacting the police and environmental health? Are there children in the house? If so the local Children's Services should be involved. Your local authority should have an Anti Social Behaviour Co- ordinator. Speak with them. Ask to speak with the Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant or Inspector to discuss your concerns. All these bodies should be working together to help solve this problem. It should not just fall upon you as the landlords. The added bonus is if the police get involved and raid the place it may just give the tenants and their clientele the little nudge they need to move on. In some circumstances the police can raid the premises and get an order which puts the premises out of use as a "crack house" and it gets boarded up. So the police can "evict" your tenant using other legislation when you cannot. If that period of "out of use" coincides with the several months it can take to get them out then at least you will not get the neighbours ringing and complaining.

All food for thought and not an exhaustive list.

Gary Nock

10:14 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Extract from Waverley Councils website below:

A senior police officer can issue a Closure Notice on premises that they have reasonable grounds for believing that in the preceding three months have been used for the production, supply or use of Class A drugs and is causing serious nuisance or disorder. There is a requirement for the senior police officer to consult with the local authority, and take reasonable steps to identify any person who occupies the premises, controls or has an interest in them.
It is likely that the local police will be liaising with the Council concerning the premises in order to obtain information from staff and residents about drug related activities and associated nuisance. Other issues will be the care and support of vulnerable tenants who have had their accommodation taken over by drug dealers and who will be removed from the property when a Closure Notice is obtained. Staff will need to liaise with the police, Support Officers and Social Workers.

Robert Mellors

10:18 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Dean

I've also had to deal with this problem, and like Mark says, DO NOT go in and change the locks, as you could potentially get into a lot of trouble. Go down the legal route of issuing court proceedings, using both the s21 and the s8 route (all grounds possible). This can take months, and they can be ripping out all the fixtures and fittings during that time and you are powerless to prevent this as the law offers no protection to landlords in this situation. You may wish to check to see if your insurance policy covers you for the cost of legal action (and what else it may cover).

Another option, not advised but is possible and as far as I know is not unlawful, may be to offer her an incentive to surrender her tenancy, e.g. a cash payment. I have seen this advocated by some landlords as a much cheaper option than following the standard legal action for possession, then warrant of eviction, route. However, it does kind of reward the person for their bad behaviour and gives a signal to other future tenants that they could do likewise. If you do go down this route ensure that the person signs a proper tenancy surrender form, and that this is independently witnessed.

The police do have powers to close down, and board up for 3 months, known drug dealing dens (sometimes known as the crack house rules). If you are happy for them to do this, then go and speak to someone senior at the police station and discuss it with them.

Mike T

10:19 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Dean,
Sounds like you have been given the best advice, so stick with it and you'll get the tenant out. Don't do anything to give the court reason to side with the tenant. By the way what notice did your solicitor give ? Section 8 or 21 or ?
We are just going through a repossession procedure using sec.21. This expires on 8 February and suspect at this stage that we may have to seek an eviction order. Hopefully after reading all the advice on 118 we should be prepared.
Good luck with your situation, perhaps you'll let us all know how it works out.

Dean

10:24 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Thanks Gary and Robert. We will certainly look at these options. I think the Police feel powerless but I will look to do this. I have offered her a cash payment but she wants it before she goes so I wont do that.

I have written to Council as I do feel she is being taken advantage of and bullied into letting these people stay there and use it .

Dean

10:25 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mike Thorogood" at "22/01/2014 - 10:19":

I believe it was a s21 . I will keep you all informed thanks for the advice

Richard Kent

10:39 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Dean,
These are all really good comments here.

One thing which has been mentioned could solve your problems very quickly so please read carefully.

Go to a local solicitor and as them to draft you a letter to the tenant to say that you have submitted a fee(could be equal to the deposit) to the solicitor and that the fee is available to assist the person to find alternative accommodation and that if the tenant leaves, she/he will receive that fee.

The solicitor will ask the tenant to legally surrender the tenancy in exchange for the fee.

You can hand the tenant the letter yourself if you are on talking terms.

You can make a private deal and offer the tenant money to leave but if they don't it leaves you in a difficult position. I suggest you do not make any private deals.

This can be done legally and I know of landlords who do it.

Robert Mellors

10:43 AM, 22nd January 2014
About 7 years ago

I would recommend that you issue the s8 Notice as well as the s21, and don't just rely on the usual ground 8, but also cite the other relevant grounds within the S8 Notice, e.g. grounds 10, 11, 14. In the claim itself you can then put in that you are claiming on the basis of the s21, but in the alternative you would wish to rely upon the s8 Notice. This covers you if for any reason the s21 notice was defective, e.g. wrongly worded, wrong date, etc.

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