I’m on the brink?

by Readers Question

17:13 PM, 1st January 2020
About 10 months ago

I’m on the brink?

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I’m on the brink?

Hello Everybody, I’m new here so excuse any errors. I ran into some financial difficulties and decided to let my flat out (6 months tenancy) to a couple who deceived me by their lies. I admit I am a bit gullible and new to this. They moved into the Essex flat and now telling all kinds of stories why the rent is 3 weeks late now.

The man is a Landscaper and his wife is an Estate Agent. I would have thought that her being an estate agent, she would know better than to default on rent, but it seems like she’s using her knowledge to play the system. I would like to serve a section 8, grounds 8,10,11 and maybe also 2 & 12, but I’m not to sure how this works.

They are currently 3 weeks late and I have to wait until Jan 12 before it becomes 2 months in arrears. They have failed to answer/return calls and text and late on email response, so I called her at work to ask about the 1st rent payment. She obviously didn’t want to talk and said that it could be classed as harassment.

I got refs from employer and ex landlord, bank statements etc and I admit I made the mistake of helping out someone I thought I was genuinely helping. I am financially stretched and wanted to know if it is possible to serve a section 8 myself and represent myself if this end in court?

Any extra advice on this would be much appreciated as I’m on the brink.

Jay


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Comments

Gary Nock

18:22 PM, 1st January 2020
About 10 months ago

Hi Jay,
You can serve both a Section 8 after 2 months arrears and a Section 21
(two months notice) immediately without having to wait. If you are new to this then you may wish to utilise the services of one of the specialist eviction firms such as Landlord Action. It's easy to get it wrong with dates and forms and you appear to be dealing with an Estate Agent who knows more than you do. So for the sake of £1200-£1500 then getting specialist help is probably best. On Section 21 you have to make sure you have an up to date EPC, Gas Certificate, and that you protected the deposit and issued the prescribed information correctly.

As a landlord and an agent I usually write to the tenants about rent arrears and offer to draw up a repayment plan. Its recorded in writing and shows reasonableness on your part. But I don't think this will work if the tenant is mentioning
" harassment" - which is rubbish as if you are making legitimate enquiries in relation to the rent it can't be interpreted as that. However if you turn up at the door too frequently it can.

Check your landlord insurance to see if you are covered for rent insurance and / or legal costs. If you are speak to them. If not seek professional help or the tenants may run rings round you.

Rob Crawford

20:06 PM, 1st January 2020
About 10 months ago

Hi Jay, you are new to this and I strongly agree that you should seek professional advice. Also, please advise on the tenancy agreement - what length of fixed term has been entered into? Also, have you served an indate and valid EPC, protected the deposit, complied with tenant fees act, served the Govt rent guide for tenants and also a valid gas safe cert?

JohnCaversham

9:37 AM, 2nd January 2020
About 10 months ago

Hi Jay, sorry to hear of your situation, we've all been there at one time or another, i recommenced joining the RLA i think its around £80-90 per yr ( we auto renew so i can't be exact) however they have a great legal section with template forms and free telephone consultation to an expert on their panel to assist in form filling-we have evicted bad tenants ourselves using them as support, if the cash is tight then this is worth considering if your eviction circumstances are fairly straight forward...Good luck!

Laura Delow

9:38 AM, 2nd January 2020
About 10 months ago

I agree with the others in that you should seek professional advice from the likes of Landlord Action if you don't have legal/eviction cover & meanwhile try to negotiate a repayment plan with them. Me personally; I would write a letter reiterating what's owed & the consequences of not paying (fact not threat) i.e. they could end up with a County Court Judgement which will impact their credit worthiness for overdrafts, loans & future tenancies, on top of which they will likely have to pay your legal costs & court fees which if again unpaid would just add to the size of the potential CCJ.

ahloughlin@gmail.com

9:56 AM, 2nd January 2020
About 10 months ago

Going forward I would recommend rent guarantee insurance. £13 mth. Well worth it

Jaye

13:56 PM, 2nd January 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 01/01/2020 - 18:22
Happy New Year everyone and thanks for your comment. I protected the deposit and got the electical certificate etc but didn't realise I had to do an EPC until after they moved in. I read that you don't need an EDC for a section 8. The tenancy is for 6 months. I got landlords insurance but I read that you have to be in no disagreements for 90 days which probably means i'm not covered and this is just their 1st rent payment.
They moved in Nov'19, not rent paid in Dec'19. Can i serve Sec8 in Jan'20? Is the specalist help from £1200-1500 because I don't want to go through the trouble of getting a loan and finding out it is more expensive or could the price reduce if it's a straight forward eviction?
Sorry for silly questions, I'm still learning and may never rent again.

Gary Nock

17:16 PM, 2nd January 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jaye at 02/01/2020 - 13:56
Hi Jay,

The questions are not silly. You are learning like all of us had to do on our landlord journey.

First of all you are correct that you do not need an EPC for a Section 8. But you should have it before you market it and give tenants a copy of it on move in- same as gas cert, How to Rent Guide Deposit Protection etc. As you are only one month into a tenancy than you cannot serve a Section 21. You have to wait until at least 4 months have gone by. You can issue a Section 8 when they are two months in arrears. Now as the rent contractually is paid in advance- as it should say in your tenancy agreement- then if the rent was due on 1st December 2019 and they didnt pay, then if they don't pay on the 1st Jan 2020 then on the 2nd Jan 2020 they are two months in arrears and Notice can be served. Send it by 1st Class post, with a Certificate of Posting - and also video/photo yourself with a time and date stamped photo/video posting one through their door on the same day. Some landlords go the whole hog and post from two different post offices as well to negate the "well we didnt receive it" defence. Also complete a certificate of service. The landlords insurance is probably invalidated by the 90 day rule but worth speaking to your insurers anyway. You may have a legal helpline thrown in as part of the policy. But I stress that drafting Section 8 Notices can come at a cost if not done properly - your claim can be thrown out by the Judge. So I still recommend getting a specialist to do it.

The £1200 to £1500 is a generic figure. Landlord Action have fixed fees at https://www.landlordaction.co.uk/fixed-fees/ In this case I would recommend using a specialist eviction company who as part of the eviction appoint an advocate on your behalf. I have used LL Action in the past and dealt with Paul Shampalina so can vouch for them with a caveat - this was before he sold it to another company. As far as I am aware he still has an input into the business. He's good. he knows his stuff. The initial drafting of a section 8 is £144 including VAT. This may be the only notice you need as they may then pay up. Bear in mind that if the tenant reduces the arrears to below two months on the day of the hearing then the judge will not award possession. The "Estate Agent" tenant may be aware of this and be using you as an "interest free loan" over Xmas.

Regards

Gary

Neil Patterson

17:17 PM, 2nd January 2020
About 10 months ago

Hi Jay,

I would 100% recommend using Paul Shamplina's team at Landlord Action. Professional legal assistance will save you money and time in the long run if the tenants are in any way awkward. P

Please see Paul's members profile and contact form on this page >> https://www.property118.com/member/?id=190

Dylan Morris

19:20 PM, 2nd January 2020
About 10 months ago

“ I am financially stretched and wanted to know if it is possible to serve a section 8 myself and represent myself if this ends in court “. So clearly you’re not able to employ Landlord Action or anybody else.
As already suggested join the RLA and do it yourself. A friend of mine served a section 8 recently and did exactly this. Wasn’t too difficult at all and the RLA were fantastic and guided him through the process.

Jaye

7:44 AM, 4th January 2020
About 10 months ago

Thank you all for your advice and input. I will consider all myy options and update you accordingly. Thanks a lot!

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