Landlord 1 – Shelter Nil

Landlord 1 – Shelter Nil

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

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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.



Comments

Kate Mellor View Profile

8:41 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Lee Bowen at 24/05/2022 - 11:29
We used to get a gang of charity collectors outside our office who tried to accost me for a large regular donation to Shelter every time I went out of the office. I got collard once. I didn’t tell the guy I was a landlord, but I asked him about a thousand difficult & leading questions about the organisation as though I didn’t know who they were, knowing the answers would make Shelter look bad. It was actually fun. The guy looked quite bemused and said he’d never been asked most of those questions before. Needless to say he was wasting his time on me.

Rerktyne

8:55 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

All decent landlords should stop renting and go into short term serviced accommodation which Shelter cannot touch. This could cause a housing crisis which is what this country needs in order to see reality!

Beaver

9:41 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rerktyne at 24/05/2022 - 20:41
This is absolutely bang on. By treating decent landlords like villains all that Shelter is doing is making it worse for the majority of tenants. All that happens is that good small landlords, who may be holding the rent down slightly, either exit the sector or sell to larger landlords who have the muscle to deal with the problem tenants. And all that they will do is to pass those costs onto their other tenants. By giving money to Shelter the government is making things worse for the majority of tenants. Rather than giving money to Shelter the government should take all that money away and put their efforts into a system that is fair for both landlord and tenant.

K Anon

9:48 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

The stress of evicting a tenant can be appalling, the burden of legal fees amplify so I hope this insight helps someone else.

Our tenant produced fake invoices from non existent companies then said the work they did was so bad/left uninhabitable that a surveyor was required and went down that road to get compensation, it literally steamrollered us. DSS / Council tenant.
And obviously once you have issued an S8 they know what's on the table (you want them to go) so it becomes all about money, in our case compensation for uninhabitable property.
Our solicitor was suggesting we also get a surveyor report, then have 2 experts battling it out in court, that alone might have cost £6k + the £14k already spent.

If anyone reads this and finds themselves in a hole or is about to embark on the S8 disaster (which if its a social tenant will almost certainly be counterclaimed with a dilapidation claim) I would strongly suggest 110% to explore the "direct access" (aka open access) route to a barrister and have a barrister manage it. They won't hold your hand but they know the law and work to get the job done, not push paperwork about.

Solicitors (ours anyway, a big firm in Ipswich) drained us of thousands and were going round in circles. It was keeping us awake at night the debt we were falling into with such relentless huge bills and constant anti social complaints, slurs, rent withheld and damage to the property coupled with blatant fraud we could do nothing about.
If it goes to court you'll need a barrister anyway so cut out costly solicitors, do the paperwork yourself. In my experience solicitors are costly project managers who instruct barristers at the end anyway.

And as I have also learnt, your AST need only to be for 4 months then go to periodic (it could be 1 months but its pointless). Why? well 6 months is the shortest term the courts would consider taking a look at a repossession. So 4 months AST + 2 months notice = your 6 months.

Its scary if S21 is abolished how on earth do we remove bad tenants.

Chris @ Possession Friend

10:03 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by K Anon at 25/05/2022 - 09:48
With my assistance, Lee didn't need a solicitor let alone a barrister.
You are certainly correct about the time, worry and emotional trauma though.

Kate Mellor View Profile

10:23 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by K Anon at 25/05/2022 - 09:48The law is a series of grey areas and in my experience solicitors know enough to know that. They therefore won’t make any decisions or give you any firm advice because they’re too scared to get it wrong. They ALWAYS defer to a barrister to make those decisions and that is extremely frustrating.
In my opinion you should get the help of an experienced eviction specialist if you’re facing a counterclaim. They not only know the ins and outs of the relevant legislation, but they also have experience of how magistrates interpret these laws, how they prefer information to be presented, basically all the things you need to know! I’m sorry you got sucked into a black hole of costs. It’s really unfair.

K Anon

10:27 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

we went direct (Open Access) and settled. Its wiped out our life savings, 3 years of hell and £18k in debt. Poor single mother who didn't have a reference or guarantor and we thought was the right thing to do, good samaritan etc

Rerktyne

11:08 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

I gave up renting to tenants after I had done the Good Samaritan thing for a scumbag tenant. Once was 100 times too many for me. Never will I rent again! Only Airbnb since then: with empty periods and full periods. Who cares? At least no more biased councils and magistrates. Face it: they hate evictions because it falls on them to accommodate these people! And they hate all landlords no matter how good they might be. It is the establishment which drives out the decent landlords!

Kate Mellor View Profile

11:08 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by K Anon at 25/05/2022 - 10:27
No good deed goes unpunished…I think the person who made that expression up must’ve been a landlord 🙁

Beaver

11:25 AM, 25th May 2022, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by K Anon at 25/05/2022 - 09:48
Can anybody who knows more about this than I do comment on this?

"And as I have also learnt, your AST need only to be for 4 months then go to periodic (it could be 1 months but its pointless). Why? well 6 months is the shortest term the courts would consider taking a look at a repossession. So 4 months AST + 2 months notice = your 6 months.

Its scary if S21 is abolished how on earth do we remove bad tenants."

Is your risk greater with an AST or a periodic?

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