In a pickle and need legal expertise?

In a pickle and need legal expertise?

11:56 AM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago 18

Text Size

Got a strange situ here – I have 2 licensees who originally rented 2 rooms in a shared house. Then they got together.

The other 2 licensees moved out before Christmas and these remaining 2 asked if they could rent the whole house. I agreed reluctantly as they’ve been a pain with late payments and 3000 excuses etc, but fundamentally a nice couple needing a break, so early January I popped over & left them a draft, incomplete, standard AST to review.

I pushed for the rent and completion of the AST, and after lots of back & forth agreed to pick up the AST – which they said they had signed – and outstanding rent on 23/1.

When I got there, neither the rent nor AST was there, so I gave them 2 weeks notice under their licenses (which is only 1 week but…). They say they have a tenancy agreement with me – the draft I left, and they signed, but not returned.

I still haven’t seen this. They have not moved, and say I have to issue a s21 which I don’t think I can do anyway as I haven’t served any of the standard docs a landlord needs to serve at the beginning of a tenancy.

So I need some legal advice on the best way to get them out. If anyone has any recommendations, I’d appreciate it.

Cheers Sarah



Comments

by Neil Patterson

11:59 AM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

Yes, I agree you need some professional assistance here.
A good place to start would be Landlord Action >> https://www.property118.com/evicting-tenants/

by Sarah Quinlan

12:07 PM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

Cheers Neil, yes they are my backstop, but are quoting £720 'to review the papers and consider the best course of action' which seems a bit steep so I'm wondering if there's a cheaper alternative

by Ian Narbeth

12:27 PM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Sarah Quinlan at 10/02/2022 - 12:07
Sarah, given that the licensees are almost certainly tenants, that two weeks is completely inadequate notice, that you "haven’t served any of the standard docs a landlord needs to serve at the beginning of a tenancy" and that you may also - without realising it - have created an HMO, £720 sounds incredibly cheap to help fill in the gaps in your knowledge and perhaps get you out of a scrape.

by David

14:44 PM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

You may be better off asking the tenants to surrender their tenancy in exchange for that £720 toward their moving costs. If you do, then be careful how you do it or it could be regarded as harassment. Once they're out, I would suggest you either give up this business or learn it properly as this was an accident waiting to happen.

by Luke P

15:55 PM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by David at 10/02/2022 - 14:44Exactly this.
Your mistake…? Treating them as a ‘nice couple needing a break’.
Frankly, as you’ve conducted yourself in this situation, you’re not cut out for this. Waaaay too many emotions involved on your end.
Absolutely no leeway. Not ever. You’re not different. Any belief you have about being ‘not like the other landlords out there’ and ‘having a reasonable/decent/common-sense approach to your business relationship’ in the hope that it will pay dividends with the tenants levels of gratefulness is opening yourself up to exactly your present predicament.
Sorry to be so brutal, but you need to wholesale change your approach to your business dealings when it comes to tenants.

by Sarah Quinlan

17:21 PM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

Ok boys, calm down, I've been doing this for 30 years (literally) and this is only the 2nd time I've had to resort to legals, so I don't need any lectures from you. It's a simple legal question - do they have a tenancy or not? - for which I'm looking for a recommendation of a good lawyer.
cheers

by Ian Narbeth

17:37 PM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

Almost certainly you have a tenancy if you granted exclusive rights to occupy a defined area (e.g. a room) - and received money for it. See the case of Street v Mountford, decided 36 years ago .https://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1985/4.html Calling a contract a licence does not make it so.

I doubt you will get the job done properly for less than £720.

by Luke P

17:49 PM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Sarah Quinlan at 10/02/2022 - 17:21
The (very slackly) enforced rules of the past are absolutely no indication of the state-of-play of today/the future. And exactly the mistake many of my long-serving (but severely lacking in knowledge) landlords I manage for, also say.

by chris

23:30 PM, 10th February 2022, About 4 months ago

Can i Just ask did you sign the draft copy you left them ?

by Darren Peters

10:21 AM, 11th February 2022, About 3 months ago

"...they’ve been a pain with late payments and 3000 excuses etc, but fundamentally a nice couple needing a break,"

The first clause of your sentence is the clue that the second part is not true. I'm not trying to be a smartarse at your expense with this but it looks like they've played you and put you in a position where you are at a severe disadvantage while they hold all the cards. For example they can now choose to have a tenancy or not have one depending on what suits them best. You on the other hand will get the scenario of their choice with little say in the matter.

Accept that it's going to be painful but the sooner you get legal advice as above the less pain you will have to endure.

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

BECOME A MEMBER

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now