How can honest Landlords remove bad or non paying tenants

by Readers Question

9:00 AM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

How can honest Landlords remove bad or non paying tenants

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How can honest Landlords remove bad or non paying tenants

Recardo writes to raise a debate on how honest landlords can remove bad or non paying tenants.

I have been a landlord for 12 years and as I manage my own BTL properties I am always looking for information and procedures on this industry. I have even written in the past for advice from other landlords on Property118, and I hope this article will help other landlords.

Over the years I must just have been lucky as I didn’t get any bad tenants, but over the last year I have had three. Must be a sign of the times.

One was a long term tenant who after signing a new 12 month tenancy wanted to leave 10 weeks later with 1 months notice. Another has just left after a year because “things just kept breaking”, front door lock, back door lock, toilet flush twice in 2 months, glass in the oven door (£220 to replace). Broken basin taps, and leaking connecting pipe. I just could not afford to keep this tenant on. The worst one I want to talk about is a tenant who stopped paying the rent and the hassle and stress that has caused.

This lady was in her 2nd year of tenancy when she had some “problems” and stopped paying the rent, she has a stay at home partner and a couple of kids. they were receiving LHA and she was the only worker. Her “problems” led to her loosing her job.

After she missed her first rental payment I contacted her to ask what was happening and she  said she was having a few problems, but it would be paid in a couple of weeks. After 2 weeks you’ve guest it no money, so I went on the chase and emails went unanswered and no reply to my phone calls. I sent her a section 21 giving her about 10 weeks to vacate (2 full months required). I also offered her a payment plan to catch up on her rent so I would not have to proceed with an eviction (my first). I also said if I had no reply within 5 days She would receive a copy of the section 21 in her hand delivered by my cousin, who is local and does small repair jobs for me.

She then contacted me three days later by email to say how sorry she was and she had received my notice, but she had lost her phone, and would you believe it her internet connection had gone down at the same time. No I didn’t, but if no money was received in seven days the eviction would proceed. She said her mum would lend her some money, but no money came as her mum was ill and taken to hospital.

It was now time for her 2nd rental payment (2 months) which she missed again. I contacted the council on that day to say she had missed two payments although agreeing to a payment plan, so could I have her LHA directly, and I had served her a sec 21 notice. They agreed to do this and I started to receive £565 from them although the rent was £725. At least I was getting something and if it was a private tenant with no RGI it would be nothing.

The day for them to leave on my notice was fast approaching, but she said she could not leave as they would be according to the council making themselves homeless. As such they would not have any responsibility to rehouse them! Isn’t it about time the council were banned from this practice. I have given 10 weeks notice and the tenants have made themselves homeless by not paying the rent they receive from the council to help house them. The lack of rent makes them homeless, not a court order.

Next step: Download a Claim form for Possession of Property. A four page form. As a landlord you have done nothing wrong, the tenants have broken their agreement to pay the rent. If they will resume they can stay there for the next 10 years. Question 7 on the form, have you taken a deposit if so was it held under a tenancy deposit Scheme, who with, give the reference Number. Was every one involved given the prescribed info etc etc. Are you sweating? Who’s on trial now! Is your deposit protection correct, up to date, and info sent to tenants been recorded and singed for by them? Phew thanks to reading the 118 site mine was.

This court process only cost a £175 fee, but that’s Ok as you can reclaim it from the tenant who hasn’t got a job or two pennies. They then have 2 weeks to appeal.

Luckily (you notice how lucky I’ve been so far, hope you are too) 3 weeks later there has been no appeal (as far as I’ve read no appeal against a sec 21) and the court has given them 18 days to move out. So that’s alright then this all started nearly 5 months ago.

The tenants receive the following court order: On 1st March 2013 District Judge——– etc. The Court Orders the defendant gives the claimant possession of ——- on 18th March 2013. The defendant to pay the claimant £175 costs.

I then receive a call from the partner (first time in nearly 2 years), this is the first he’s heard of this and they need more time to move. I said “I’m sorry you don’t talk to your partner who was paying part of the rent, but since she stopped 5 months ago I want my house back now”.

His response “this house isn’t worth 725pm, it’s falling apart and I’m going to paint all your walls black, you need to get a new gas cert as this one has expired it’s the law.”

Mr response was “you should not be in my house, so I’m not getting a gas cert until you leave and if the house is not worth the money then leave. On my last inspection there was no complains and the house looked fine to me. if you want to do some work I will bring you some magnolia and pay you to redecorate” he then hung up.

I sent the bailiffs form off (£110) on 18th and I’m still waiting for a date. If the tenants wait for the bailiffs I hope they can take their old car, TV etc to pay my court costs, because the lost rent has gone forever.

Universal Credit starts soon so I am sure more evictions are on the way and my advice is to make sure all your paperwork is correct and up to date because if not you’re the one on trial.

The tenant refuses to move on a notice, then on a Court Order on 18th, so are they in contempt of court? Are they squatters, new laws say the police can move them! Why would I be in court for going knocking, or wait till they are out and change the locks? Why does the landlord have to spend more time, money and lost rent to get the bailiffs in? What can we do to change the system on faster evictions and stop the council policy of advising tenants not to leave? A section 8 seems a waste of time when people have no money, but a sec 21 served for non payment of rent should mean they are out in 2 months.



Comments

Paul Routledge

12:02 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi Recardo.
Just as you have quite rightly stated Universal Credit is hot on every landlords heels, and therefore we need to avoid non-paying, rogue tenants at all costs.

At landlordreferencing.co.uk we can prevent you from taking these tenants on in the first place, which in-turn will provide the best tenants out their with the best homes. So I urge you to join LRS (free) and upload these previous bad tenants onto our system, in order to warn other landlords in the future of their previous actions.

A credit reference just doesn't cut it these days, it cannot tell you how a tenant conducts their lifestyle OR pending CCJs - A lifestyle network reference CAN and DOES.

13:33 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

get their car reg, get a money order, uplift the court order from the County Coury to the High Court and use the high court sherrif to reposses their car, don't let it happen to another landlord and report them on The Tenant Registry http://www.tenantregistry.co.uk

Michael Freer

16:57 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

Get the boiler certificate ASAP, it lasts for 12 months and isn't associated with the tenant. Not having one could land you in very hot legal water (pardon the pun) from a safety of your tenant's perspective and could lead to you having to pay your "rogue" tenant compensation and potentially lead to you going to jail and or be fined.

Carry on with your professional conduct as you have done to date and let the system get rid of the tenant, it's going to cost you but most of that has been paid already so there's not too much pain on that front ahead.

17:43 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

I can wholeheartedly sympathise with your predicament as I have today paid my £110 and put in a bailiffs form. My tenant obviously knows how to work the system and will probably leave the day before the bailiff is due in another 4-6weeks! Surely if the tenant was not notified when the bailiffs were going to come knocking on the door then they may not be so inclined to stay beyond the date set by the court. I expect that would be against their human rights though!

Mary Latham

17:55 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

Richardo, I really do feel your pain and the law is not kind to landlords of bad tenants BUT
Landlords cannot break the law just because a tenant has, if we do the same law that is very slow when working on our behalf speeds up when working on behalf of a tenant - the tenant being the consumer and consumer protection being the objective of the law related to landlords and tenants.

You have been given good advice PLEASE get that Gas Safety Inspection done, quite apart from the legal danger the danger to human life is real and I know that, as angry as you feel, you would not want to be responsible for loss of life or damage to health particularly where there are children involved.

You give good advice and to sum up the situation

Landlords cannot expect the law to work for us if we break the law, a court cannot aid and abet an illegal operator and therefore the law related to tenant deposit protection, Gas Safety, quite enjoyment etc MUST be obeyed by landlords before we take legal action, Eviction Procedings, against a tenant.

I hope that you soon get your property back without black walls

Follow me on Twitter@landlordtweets

Richard Kent

18:24 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

@Recardo

I had the same problem. Its a sick but common trick which can easily be answered.

Ensure you have sent a letter to the tenants to remind them the Gas Certificate needs doing and book a gas engineer in. The tenant is likely to refuse the gas engineer access which plays into your hands.

If the gas engineer is refused access the tenant commits an offence.

Send the tenants a letter saying they refused access so that you stay on the right side of the law.

Send your response back to the court as the Notice Of Issue instructs you to do after 14 days to arrange the Bailiff date.

Assuming the tenant has not filed a defense.

YOU MUST ENSURE THAT YOU SHOW THAT YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO COMMUNICATE REGARDING THE BOILER.

It sounds like its too late for these tenants so that's VERY GOOD NEWS!

18:28 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

Recardo I empathise with you. Over 35 years as a Landlord I have (thank God) have only had your experience 5 times. Please, please , please ACTION the gas safety check and service NOW!!! I advise you to be patient and professional and follow all legal procedures to the letter and you WILL succeed in obtaining possession of your property albeit at some considerable financial loss, but the alternative is not worth (for obvious reasons) thinking about. Good luck. Owen

Richard Kent

18:34 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

@Recardo

The lack of speed of the court system is staggeringly and eyewateringly slow.

This sort of behavior is on the increase and many tenants know exactly how to play the system.

Your tenant is never a squatter as they have had a tenancy agreement.

On the day of the eviction by the Bailiff EVERYONE is removed from the property as you are REPOSSESSING your property and not EVICTING tenants.

If the tenant tries to break in after the Appointment with the Bailiff the police can and will act.

18:49 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi i have been a Landlady for some 9 years now and just as you say in your letter the last 2 years have been horrendous with Tenants. I am due in court tomorrow for a hearing to try and get my house back. The tenant has had notice since 1st Oct 2012 . They have there rent paid by Council and i have had nothing but trouble with the council not re housing them. I have sent them 2 SC21 apparantly the first was wrong, it is such a minefield. The house is deterioating as i type and whats more i have a buyer who has waited patiently through all this. Good luck but do take advice and get the gas cert done.

19:18 PM, 27th March 2013
About 7 years ago

Always look for assets - a car is a good one, get the registration number - do this with every tenancy.

If it's not too late, get a "money order" issued against them at their current address (that is because it takes time to trace them to their new address and they're not likely to volunteer it to you).

Once you have the money order in place and registered against them "up-lift" it from the County Court to the High Court, the High Court Sheriff is much more tenacious than the County Court Bailiff and they get results - if the tenant has a car and it's of value, they will repossess it and sell it at auction and you might get your money! but what normally happens when the High Court Sheriff is on their case, they pay up!

And finally, don't let them do it to any other landlord, get them reported and registered on the Tenant Datbase at http://www.tenantregistry.co.uk

Good luck

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