HMO tenant not abiding by lockdown

HMO tenant not abiding by lockdown

9:49 AM, 27th April 2020, About 3 years ago 19

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I was hoping for some ideas on how I should be dealing with a situation where one person in an HMO is failing to abide by the lockdown social distancing rules.

It’s a 4 person house and the other 3 tenants are extremely upset and worried as according to them the 4th person keeps going out to visit his friends multiple times a week returning in the middle of the night. They feel he is showing a complete lack of respect for their health and his behaviour is putting them at risk.

He claims he is only visiting his pregnant partner less than once a week, she has a broken foot and he is doing her shopping for her to support her. She also lives in an HMO. As far as I can remember the government said couples should either move in together for the duration of lockdown or not see each other at all during lockdown.

I’ve suggested to all 4 of them that if it carries on one of us should inform the Police and let them sort it out. I have no idea what the Police would do in this situation, if anything. I’ve also asked the one with the pregnant partner if they have spoken to a Housing Officer at the Council. Again I have no idea if they could do anything.

I served a Section 21 at the end of November, so it is still valid, but will it expire before the Courts recommence or is it just frozen? The tenant in question has had a series of problems including multiple job losses (usually not at all his fault), depression and problems with claiming both legacy Benefits and UC.

There have been rent arrears for the last 20 months which have reduced significantly in the last few months while he was working and earning decent money. The arrears mainly occurred because of the problems with the Benefit claims. I’ve worked with him extensively to try to retain his tenancy, but I clearly can’t condone his current behaviour which seems to be illegal and is very upsetting for the rest of the household.

What action can I take?


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David Lawrenson

16:43 PM, 27th April 2020, About 3 years ago

You can request it.
Not sure if you can legally insist on it or threaten consequences if he does not comply.
After all, where is your evidence if he disputes what the others say, and also has any real law been broken here, and will these restrictions stand up "as law" and even if they are law, are they even down to you to enforce.


22:07 PM, 27th April 2020, About 3 years ago

and what happens if that person is a keyworker in that place?
Some of my colleagues live in a shared house, it may even be that in a shared room! How do you solve it there??

Question Everything

10:00 AM, 28th April 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Tamas at 27/04/2020 - 22:07
The whole thing is nonsense and is designed to create a culture of snitching.

At an Los Angelese public televised political address recently a government spokesman called on people to snitch on their neighbours.

So in summary, this is not about someone "not doing what they are told" in the face of "authority", this is about someone exercising their personal freedom and people who are too scared to exercise theirs wanting to witch-hunt them and scape goat that individual for their unjustified and irrational fears.

Let's not be swayed by the propaganda machine into believing we have a "collective moral authority". Let's get real and proper data to inform us, and let's question our authorities. they are supposed to work for us, not the other way around!

David Lawrenson

17:26 PM, 28th April 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Question Everything at 28/04/2020 - 10:00
And a sense of perspective must be factored in too - (which admittedly is hard to do if your news comes from the ITV/Sky/BBC) - that in the worst hit country, Italy only 1 in 2,500 people have died - and their average age was in the late 70s.

Some would ascribe that to the brutal lock down there, but Sweden's more gentle approach tends to suggest, that the outcome there may not be too different.

I would keep your distance as directed and advise the tenants to do the same, but not interfere too much in the lives of this other tenant.


20:43 PM, 28th April 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Lawrenson at 27/04/2020 - 15:14Interesting David, Boris Johnson on his release from hospital went straight to Downing Street and then on to his official country residence, Chequers, to recuperate.
Carrie, his pregnant fiance, soon to be mother, immediately joined him. How safe was that and with the dog?
I assume all his staffers were vetted as not asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
The impression I had was 'do as we say, not as we do'.
No police penalty involved here.
Interesting to know if they self isolated individually or not - perhaps they communicated with one another through glass? I doubt it!


7:21 AM, 3rd May 2020, About 3 years ago

Seems to me that the tenant who has is visiting his fiancée has sufficiently explained his reasons as being essential (helping his poorly fiancée ) and is well within the law . So, I would tell your co- tenants that you made an enquiry ( so you show caring) and his reasons seem essential but do no more. I think you are going well beyond your landlord obligations to go further. Harrassment of a tenant ( which is where your further actions might be painted) is potentially a criminal offence. You have a S21 notice outstanding with the tenant the last think you want is to being dragged into a complaint however well meaning you are for your other tenants. Regarding the notice which sounds like you served before the Covid legislation, I suppose your tenant just might act on the notice voluntarily. There's a freeze on taking action on all notices for 3 months but I've not seen anything suggesting a valid notice given before the enactment will become invalid - just that you can't enforce it yet

David Lawrenson

13:25 PM, 3rd May 2020, About 3 years ago

Yes, and in reality there is probably nothing really for your tenants to fear. (Government report said that of those in NHS ICU units with Covid19, 75% are obese or overweight).

Fairly soon, I think, the main TV media will be told by government to bring forward more facts like the one above in order to dial down the fear factor (which perhaps has been, with the help of the likes of the BBC, far too successful) - and maybe then your worried tenants will learn to get a life again. Her/his biggest fear then will be taxes to pay for this mess and panic. Also, the absence of employment opportunities - that really will be something for him/her to worry about!

David Lawrenson


12:17 PM, 6th May 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Lawrenson at 28/04/2020 - 17:26
"Sweden's more gentle approach tends to suggest, that the outcome there may not be too different."

Hmmm.. Sweden is not looking so smart now is it?

David Lawrenson

16:48 PM, 6th May 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Badger at 06/05/2020 - 12:17
Well, you can pick your news story as you see fit.

The facts is it is too early to tell.

But Sweden's R measure is the same as Denmark's now, despite absence of a harsh version of lockdown nor elements of stringent rules / police state in Sweden.

Sweden was even praised by the WHO this week as having a sustainable approach.

Also, latest forecasts from a city expert shows they will be least effected European state in terms of GDP drop.

(Newsflash!) lowered GDP income does always equal worse health outcomes and early death - and the instances of both tend to be felt among the poor (and also the young too, as they are always disproportionately effected by higher unemployment).

This is from Sweden’s number two epidemiologist. (Unlike our own Neil "Do as I say, Not as I do" Playing Away Ferguson, he actually was also a senior doctor before becoming an epidemiologist)

And this from another expert..

In the UK, we will see house prices down by at least 15% by end of year and rent down by that level much sooner. And I think that is the best case scenario,

Take a listen.

David Lawrenson
Private Rented Sector Advice

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