Landlord 1 – Shelter Nil

Landlord 1 – Shelter Nil

10:50 AM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago 37

Text Size

I had a very large and aggressive tenant who was in rent arrears. For the 11 years of his occupation, he was regularly behind with the top-up to his housing benefit and I would periodically have to ask for back payments.

When he told me he couldn’t afford to pay for 6 months to pay for his holiday, I gave up and began Section 8 Possession in 2020 for circa £2k o/s rent.

The tenant went to Shelter with a list of complaints of disrepair, some he had caused the damage himself, some he hadn’t reported to me and others that I’d made efforts to rectify despite being excluded from entering the property for a year.

There was a counterclaim for disrepair and notional damages up to the amount of £ 15k claimed against me! Plus the risk of considerable legal costs should I lose the case.

I sought the assistance of Chris from Possession Friend. He worked with me from mid-2020 through to the 2-day court hearing culminating this month. My statement of evidence was massively enhanced and Chris spent a great deal of time throughout the very emotional and time-consuming process, advising and supporting me, including attending court.

The case was presented for the tenant by a barrister on legal aid, sourced by Shelter (at an unknown but significant cost to the taxpayer).
I represented myself with advice and support from Chris.

After considering the substantial evidence I submitted, the judge said he didn’t believe the tenant’s version and awarded me outstanding rent and possession.

Landlord 1 – Shelter Nil

As a result of my experience, I will be selling the property so there’ll be one less rental property in a market of high demand. Going forward, I will not rent to a tenant in receipt of benefit without references and a cast-iron guarantor.



12:47 PM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bernard Purcell at 24/05/2022 - 12:05
Some will sell certainly. But I think the other factor that Shelter and various governments have been missing is that when they stack the odds in favour of the tenants they create risk for the landlords in the form of the "fun and games" that Lee has referred to. And at present the only options the landlords have are (1) sell and exit (2) increase the rent. So the effect of Shelter's campaigning is to reduce the number of available homes for rent and to increase rents for those who have to rent.

The only fair system is one that is both fair to landlord and tenant. No government should ever give a penny of taxpayers money to Shelter.


13:39 PM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago

BRAVO on your win!

The only unfortunate thing is it will probably cost you more to recoup what is clearly owed to you, and will you even get it back?

I was in a similar position and issued as S21 as at that stage you know you are never going to get the rent arrears off a benefit tenant, because the system as it is does not guarantee repayment as part of the claim win so the S8 is pointless unless you know they have money or a guarantor (probably neither with a benefit tenant).

Instead issue a S21 and tell them that, if they want a good reference from the LL or HA where they are going next then they will need to pay the arrears as inevitably the next LL will want references. Hold them over a barrel. If they choose not (or even if they do) then you evict them anyway but you don't loose anymore at least.
They won't get Legal Aid for a S21 as you are not actually giving a reason for it either so No ambo chasing LA law firm will take on a client on a straight S21 as there is no reason so they cant claim disrepair or any other such crap if there is none present at the time.

I did this - tenant paid arrears as she knows she wont get a sniff at social housing if I report arrears still in place when they ask for a reference. SHP's are getting really tight with people they offer accommodation too so unless they want emergency housing (IF they are entitled to that in the first place) they normally come round as they see its in their best interests...

Tamar Gur Harosh

15:37 PM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Well done. Shelter is very pro tenant and thinks all landlord are problematic and on the wrong side of the situation. Very frustrating and unnecessary. They give so much help and advice to tenants that only want to cause problems or get out of paying. And to think they are paid for by my taxes. Infuriating. They should be stopped by evidence like your case and others here. Thank you

Dr Rosalind Beck

17:28 PM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Well done, Chris. It's an excellent result. But how sad for Lee to have had all the stress, worry and expense of this. It's so unjust. It would be good if there was a way of making the tenant and/or Shelter not only pay what they owed, but all the legal costs incurred by the landlord. I remember this happening in a case recently but forget the details.

Chris @ Possession Friend

17:55 PM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 24/05/2022 - 17:28
Unfortunately its the tax-payer ( None paying more than they're fair share than landlords ) that picks up the legal aid bill, win or loose. !


18:13 PM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Excellent result, giving Shelter a bloody nose for once.

Sadly, I'm sure many Landlords take the pragmatic view and settle out of court to avoid unrecoverable legal costs, and to curtail the worry & stress.

Can Shelter/tenant be pursued in the civil courts for legal costs?


18:28 PM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gromit at 24/05/2022 - 18:13
So echoing the original post "landlord 1 shelter 0" it's not just Shelter 0, it's also tenants 0. Because you are right, many landlords will just settle to avoid unrecoverable legal costs. If they have 1 property they may dispose of it. But if they have a portfolio they are going to increase rents somewhere else to either recover the costs or reduce their risks. A system that punishes good landlords does nothing at all for the good of tenants. All that it does is reduce the pool of available properties and increase the rents that the tenants paying for those properties have to cough up.


20:41 PM, 24th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mohammed Kadir at 24/05/2022 - 11:03
I must disagree with you. I was a fantastic landlord with the friends of my tenants begging me for the next available rental. Then I got a tenant from hell. When I saw just how much the authorities were on his side even though he was obviously Satan in disguise I sold the place to a rich and powerful landlord who soon got rid of him.. Result: a good landlord gone: a bad one gets bigger. Well done councils and Shelter! You should stop treating decent landlords like villains!


8:22 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

I gave my similar type tenants a s8 about 3 years ago. They ran straight to Shelter who immediately told them to counter claim £10k off me for mould etc that they had caused. My tenants didn't actualy want to do that and I didn't have the stomach for a fight at the time so they paid a bit and are still there, albeit with slightly smaller arrears.

I would love them to leave. I assume s21 and writing off the arrears is more straightforward?


8:36 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by JamesB at 25/05/2022 - 08:22
yes - S21 is the way to go as they cant contest it. Of course check you can issue a S21 and there are no issues that will prevent you from doing so first. Normally they cant get Legal Aid either as you are not actually giving a reason so difficult for them to contest anything as you haven't given a reason for the possession.

You will still no doubt have to go through the accelerated procedure and possibly bailiffs first but they will go at some point.

Use S21 while you still can.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now