Illegal Eviction – A True Story

by Readers Question

9:26 AM, 24th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Illegal Eviction – A True Story

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Illegal Eviction – A True Story

As this is a true story about an illegal eviction I would like to remain anonymous please.

I witnessed it, it wasn’t my property and it was not a scene you would associate with an illegal eviction. No thugs with baseball bats, just respectable people in a respectable suburb close and the Police keeping a watchful eye on proceedings. It was well organised. I was invited to attend three days before by two separate people, the landlords arranging the illegal eviction and my tenants who lived three doors along. So what was it all about?

Background

The landlord in question had made a big mistake, a mistake he considered to be much bigger than the one he was planning. He had let his property to four single young lads. He took them on face value when he met them and felt they looked like respectable young men. He thought he had done his due diligence as he had checked they were all employed and had the ability to pay the rent. He couldn’t check their background though as they were from another country, until now they had all been living with friends.

The day they moved in they had a party, the neighbours were miffed as it went on all night but didn’t say too much about it. The same thing happened the next night and then the night after. The group of party goers was growing too and by this time the neighbours were getting very upset as they were losing sleep. The parties were as much in the street and the garden as in the house. On the 4th night there was a fight and the Police were called. This became a regular occurrence apparently. I didn’t get to hear much about this straight away but was eventually informed when my tenants told me that they were looking for another place and wanted to know how to serve notice when they found one.  I wasn’t sure what to do. However, a few days after I’d first heard about this my tenants called me back to say that the four lads were being evicted at 11am on Saturday and did I want to go along. I then had a similar call within an hour from the landlords of the other property, I’d never met them or had any dealings with them before and even at that point I had no idea that they were planning an illegal eviction.

The day of the illegal eviction

Curiosity got the better of me on the day, it was a bit like driving past a car crash – you know you shouldn’t be rubber necking but it’s hard not to isn’t it?

I parked my car about half a mile away and walked around to meet my tenants who live three doors up. I arrived about half an hour early as I wanted to hear all the gossip. My tenants 14 year old daugher answered the door and told me that everybody was meeting in the house a few doors down across the rad.  I popped over, introduced myself and was welcomed in and offered tea and biscuits. All of the residents of the close were there. It was only then I found out that the troublesome tenants had only been there six weeks. Clearly this was an illegal eviction but this was far from a lynch mod, the average age was about 65 and they all seemed nice people.

Just before 11am the police arrived, one of the wives of the residents had called them as she was getting worried about what might happen. I just kept my mouth shut.

They all stood on the garden watching as the landlords, an elderly husband and wife knocked on the tenants door. The police stood at the end of the short garden path leading to the door. Come on they said, pack your stuff, you’ve had your warning, it’s eviction day and you are out of here. The tenants saw the police, apologised profusely, packed their stuff and left. I couldn’t believe what I had seen. When it was all over and they had gone it was back for more tea and sandwiches.

I just couldn’t help talking to the other landlords at this point.

You do know that what just happened was illegal don’t you, I said. I expected to have to tell them all about landlord and tenant law but they politely nodded and said, yes we do. Are you aware of the potential consequences, I asked. Oh yes, they replied, “we’ve taken advice from a solicitor who told us that the reality is that we might be slapped with a fine of a few thousand pounds and be forced to pay damages if these tenants take matters any further. That’s well worth it to keep the peace though in our opinion and we are willing to take the risk.”

“Wouldn’t you?” they asked.

 


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Comments

21:09 PM, 9th February 2013
About 8 years ago

it is criminal if its fraudulent but for all non rent payment to be illegal an act would have to be passed and such an act would I assume have to set rents as fair and at a low level that would make it an unattractive business opportunity, as, as you stated housing is a basic need.
Thefts of goods would be as common law i.e causing harm, loss or injury as you have planned to take goods causing financial a loss an actual physical loss. Rent is different as it is a civil contract i.e no more then a yes I will pay you if you give me what's in the contract, there's no actual loss as you still have the property and can still rent it and even though you can argue that you could have had that rent from another tenant, the tenant can just as easily argue that had he not been there then you may of had nothing and even had you had another tenant then that tenant may not of paid. You can make no such argument if you have physically removed an item it's gone.

The reason people get so annoyed with each other as it's an agreement of trust but LL need to remember that a tenancy is a standard agreement that cannot be change but every landlord I have meet adds on things like no pets etc which have no weight and break the agreement of trust from day one and then tried to use them as leavarge. The best LL I have meet all use the standard AST without amendments and just give it the old its your place now attitude and usually get paid.

Again I Know a few who will take any payment over non and generally this approach gets there tenants paying again but those are on genuine defaults. There is a culture of non payment is this country and not just on rent, remember it's a business based on a real dodgy idea of land ownership and an unrealistic pursuit of profits.

London rent s are now at 70% of income that leaves very little scope for emergency spending, think how pissed you are when you enter the 40% tax bracket, well then think about giving away £700 out of £1000 each month for rent leaving you £300 to live on. it's always going to be rent non payment the. UK average may be as high as 50% the average wage is around £20,000 that would leave £800 after rent per month and if you travel just 20 miles a day you pay £175 in fuel a month to get that so where at £625 that's £145 take out 2 x water, electric, gas, council tax and food and I would say most are already in debt.

I know I keep repeating it but the business model is wrong hence so many defaults, you have to make you product a price that makes it stupid to not pay.

Mark Alexander

22:12 PM, 9th February 2013
About 8 years ago

Jay, try out that logic next time you book into a hotel, throw a very loud party and leave without paying if you are so sure your argument makes sense. How long do you think it will be before the old Bill are feeling your collar?

23:16 PM, 9th February 2013
About 8 years ago

but section 21 protects LL from civil suits for losses caused by taking the property back in breach of tenancy, they don't have to declare now so can breach at will, remember you never give a tenant money to leave but they have costs and if you don't pay your electric you do get cut off no idea about water though.

I don't really think you can class electricity and water as equally important though. I have lived without electricity for months but 4 days without water kills you, so I've heard, don't think that's a fair verdict for being skint, lol.

Mark Alexander

0:18 AM, 10th February 2013
About 8 years ago

Jay, you can also be imprisoned for not paying your Council Tax.

Also, if you are only making £2,000 a month you can't afford a rental property costing £1,000 a month. On that point we agree and no sensible landlord would ever rent to a person on that basis as they would fail the referencing. Therefore, if you are in an area where the lowest rent is £1,000 a month and you earn £2,000 a month the decisions are to get a better job or move. The landlord will find somebody who can afford to pay the rent. If he can't he will have to lower his price. It's simple economics.

1:25 AM, 10th February 2013
About 8 years ago

Unfortunately the police do this with every crime that's reported to them now, it's not just in these kinds of disputes, my daughters purse got robbed by an employee in a very big supermarket chain, I obviously complained, got threatened by the store manager so protected my position, I did not touch him just refused to leave until the police were called, when they came they decided to do nothing and tell me and my daughter, 10 at the time, that we had to leave the store, 6 police, no report taken, no investigation. That's meant to be against the law but who's going to do anything about it.

2:35 AM, 10th February 2013
About 8 years ago

So if a tenant does pay the rent, no legal use of section 21 then as it amounts to the same thing if your rents clean the LL has to pay full removal cost and any increase in rent that's been unavoidable for the full term of your future rental but then if that LL wants you out, even after full payment you would both now be liable for any more increase of the next rent. it could cost fortunes. just because you want to make renovations or sell an empty property.

Laws are always stacked both ways, talk to LL who had to deal with eviction prior to section 21 you needed a reason a good reason and if someone was paying you had to compensate

It seems that they did nothing when the boyfriend was around and attacked a woman alone who was slung in the street I don't see the natural justice in that, it doesn't even state she was late on rent, just seems like bullying the non guilty party

Mark Alexander

3:36 AM, 10th February 2013
About 8 years ago

Sorry Jay, you've completely lost me now

4:38 AM, 10th February 2013
About 8 years ago

Section 21 is a legal device that enables a LL to require a tenant to vacate a property on a certain day, irrespective of whether the tenant has been a model tenant or not etc.

A LL must ALWAYS have the right to regain access to his asset and do whatever he likes with it.

If doing so causes the tenant costs then that is just tough.

The LL would presumably have issued the S 21 notice and advised that he had every intention of using it to commence possession proceedings if the tenant refused to vacate at the expiration of the 2 month notice period.

2 months is more than sufficient for a tenant to source another rental property circumstance.

S21 requires NO reasons to be given for a LL to obtain possession of his property.

Anyone in a fixed term AST may only be evicted during that period with a fault based S 8 notice.

So irrespective of the status of rent payment history a LL may obtain his property back after the fixed term AST tenancy has expired.

Such circumstances offer flexibility to both tenant and LL.

That is how the AST system works in the UK

LL are NOT obligated to offer a service to a tenant once a fixed term period AST has come to an end.

Neither is a tenant obligated to stay once a fixed term AST has finished.

A tenant may with NO notice whatsoever vacate a rental property at the end of a fixed term AST irrespective of whether ANY notice period is specified in an AST agreement.

That is the LAW!

Violence to force an end to a tenancy is clearly an inappropriate way to behave and I do not imagine that any LL who posts on this site advocates the use of overt violence to deal with their tenants; though a lot of us would be justified in doing so!!

Your arguments are less than cogent; especially for one who supposedly has the experience you have in this industry.

Perhaps you have misunderstood the way the laws actually operate pertaining to the lettings industry.

They are not the easiest to understand and can well imagine you not being too au fait with them if you have had no cause to particularly know about them.

If that is the case; you have been VERY fortunate!

Perhaps you have been doing something that we should have done to avoid any of these legal issues or you have just been lucky!

I wish I had your luck if that has been the case!!?

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