Ignored form 4? Section 21 options?

Ignored form 4? Section 21 options?

16:06 PM, 31st October 2022, About A year ago 16

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Hello, I have an income support tenant (with considerable savings) who has been angling for a section 21 notice for the last few months. She is convinced that she can get a central London council house (unlikely).

I refused to give her sec 21 notice as I didn’t want to end up paying for court orders and bailiffs. Instead, I gave her a form 4 to increase the rent above what income support would pay but below the fair market rent point. My thinking was that she could argue unaffordability with the council and put in her own notice.

She has just got back to me and told me that the council have told her to contact me and say she can’t pay the new rent and I will give her a section 21 notice. They have told her not to put in notice.

What are my options??

If I have to evict (using the standard OpenRent contract and section 21) do I pay the costs or does she (or her guarantor)?

Before you say it… No, sadly, I won’t consider an income support tenant again.

All advice appreciated.

Thank you!

Jen


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Comments

Ron H-W

11:00 AM, 1st November 2022, About A year ago

There is a deposit?
Get her agreement that the court & bailiff costs are to come out of the deposit, or else will otherwise be paid/reimbursed by her.
(That's what I did, some 6.5 years ago: at that time court £280 + bailiff £110)
It used to be the case that councils etc. would regard the tenant as "intentionally homeless" if tenant gives notice, etc. - and this would give them an excuse to simply STOP paying housing benefit etc.

I believe that has changed fairly recently - hopefully, other members can point to the information (which might be useful to Jen's tenant!)
IF I remember correctly, landlord must still serve the s.21 notice (nil cost if d-i-y), but now should be no requirement for bailiff - and, hopefully, no requirement to drag it through the courts.

In my own case, there was a bit of refurbishment needed, which "couldn't take place while the property is inhabited" - I didn't go into details.

You mention a "guarantor" - Is there one (other than the council!) in this case? If so, maybe discuss with guarantor - but first check that the tenant is OK with this!

Robert

11:31 AM, 1st November 2022, About A year ago

This year, London Borough of Richmond said they would not rehouse my single mother with two kids who were overcrowded in my one-bed flat, unless they were literally homeless. It took 11 months from first S21 application to bailiffs. Courts and bailiffs are snowed under. Council would not rehouse her, even with twin 4-year-olds, till bailiffs evicted them. There just aren't any properties available that councils can offer so tenants have to accept it might be B&B for a while. Council will play for time and tell her anything.

Sorry to sound so bleak but better that you know the current reality in London.

JennyM

12:52 PM, 2nd November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Ron H-W at 01/11/2022 - 11:00Thanks Ron,
Yes there is a real guarantor they have contacted me to give me the heads up on her plans. They are terrified by what kind of costs she might mount up for them.
Is there a reason you say ask for the tenants permission before talking to the guarantor?. Do I fall short of privacy laws or something?
Thank you

JennyM

12:54 PM, 2nd November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert at 01/11/2022 - 11:31It is pretty bleak. I do appreciate the info. Always best to be informed. Thank you Rob

Seething Landlord

15:32 PM, 2nd November 2022, About A year ago

You make it sound as though everything you have done so far is designed to accommodate the tenant in her attempt to gain an unfair advantage in her dealings with the local authority.

If there is no reason why you want to evict her why not just let the tenancy continue until she brings it to an end by giving notice?

Regarding the rent increase, the guidance notes on Form 4 tell her exactly what she needs to do if she does not accept the increase and if she does not either negotiate a compromise with you or refer the matter to the tribunal within the specified time scale the proposed rent will automatically become the new rent. If she fails to pay it she will simply start to accumulate arrears and in due course you will be able to evict her using S8 and obtain judgement against her for the outstanding rent, which she can pay out of her savings. Costs should be awarded against her by the Court following a successful claim for possession and payment of the debt, but there is also probably a clause in the tenancy agreement making the tenant responsible for any costs incurred in enforcing its terms.

Alternatively you could simply withdraw the rent increase notice, bearing in mind that you only issued it in the first place in your attempt to help her.

She is trying to draw you into her web of intrigue and I would suggest simply telling her that you have no intention of helping and that if you are forced to bring a possession claim under S8 this will effectively scupper any chances that she might have had of being offered a council property because she will be regarded as intentionally homeless.

Ron H-W

18:00 PM, 2nd November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by JennyM at 02/11/2022 - 12:52
"Is there a reason you say ask for the tenants permission before talking to the guarantor?. Do I fall short of privacy laws or something?"
No, Jenny, it's not that - heck, in my opinion tenant and guarantor SHOULD know more about each other than you would know about either!
It's just that some tenants might get understandably very worried if becoming aware that landlord has spoken or intends to speak with guarantor - and, also in my view, tenant would have a "need to know".
So I would have been thinking to say to tenant, "I want to discuss [these_aspects] with your guarantor, unless you can think of a better plan or a good reason why I shouldn't." That way, hopefully, you and tenant are more-or-less "singing from the same hymn-sheet" - or, at least, each knowing what the another is doing. And, really, it's only fair to the guarantor that they be in the picture, one way or another.
I'm glad the guarantor has contacted you.
Maybe I could have worded my comment/suggestion this morning rather better ...

David Houghton

19:03 PM, 4th November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by JennyM at 02/11/2022 - 12:52
She wants to go. Court fees are £355 plus £200 ish for the bailiff. If she has savings you can get a third party debt order if you know who she holds the account with. Further there's a guarantor.

You have had the warning signs there will problems later. Sure she is making a mistake if she thinks the council will suddenly give her a house but thats her lookout.

Once they start playing silly games it doesn't end

Chris @ Possession Friend

15:40 PM, 5th November 2022, About A year ago

Tenant either appeals the increase to the Tribunal within 30 days, or the increased rent becomes lawfully due.
Contact us if you need further help.

Annie Landlord

12:23 PM, 7th November 2022, About A year ago

Hi, you can tick the final box (21) on the N5B form (Claim for Possession) to confirm you want the defendant (the tenant) to pay the costs of the claim. You have to send a cheque for £355 with your claim form and three copies of every document you submit. I did a S21 then the court claim recently, for the first time. Fortunately my tenant (who had been advised by Shelter to stay put) realised they were going to lose and could have to pay costs, so they moved out.

Ron H-W

14:48 PM, 7th November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 07/11/2022 - 12:23
This would seem to show how much Shelter really care about the individuals whom they are supposed to be helping ...

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