Other Landlords experiences of successfully getting Rent arrears from evicted HB tenants

Other Landlords experiences of successfully getting Rent arrears from evicted HB tenants

10:47 AM, 12th August 2014, About 7 years ago 83

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Hi fellow members, Other Landlords experiences of successfully getting Rent arrears from evicted HB tenants

Love to hear your thoughts/experiences:

I’m going through the eviction process on two properties which are let to tenants claiming Housing Benefits. They have a combined arrears of over £6,000!

Is it worth the emotional stress (as well as time and costs) to go on a not so fruitful expedition of getting these arrears back after they have been evicted?

Yours  – a very frustrated landlord!

Sanjay



Comments

by Robert Mellors

11:05 AM, 21st October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ray Davison" at "21/10/2014 - 10:03":

I agree with you Ray, I have some residents that get various pensions and disability benefits that they have about £300 pw disposable income (i.e. after all bills paid), and Housing Benefit pay their full rent because the army pensions and disability benefits are not taken into account when determining their HB entitlement.

by Robert Mellors

11:14 AM, 21st October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "chris wright" at "21/10/2014 - 11:01":

Hi Chris, I've also been a specialist debt and benefits caseworker, and I am still licensed to provide free debt counselling in my own right (not just via an advice organisation). For my residents in HMOs I also provide a regular weekly tenancy support service (in each HMO property), and will also offer general advice and signposting to my AST tenants (in self-contained properties). I have successfully assisted many tenants/residents with ESA and DLA(PIP) claims, as wells as appeals against HB overpayments, ESA refusals, DLA refusals, even to the point of attending tribunal hearings with them.

by The Man From Nowhere

20:18 PM, 21st October 2014, About 7 years ago

Hi Robert,

Just read your comment about providing residents if rooms in HMO's with a licence agreement rather than a tenancy agreement due to the problems with HMO residents trashing rooms and not leaving due to the AST they possess. I have had major problems with a number of such tenants who have trashed rooms in my HMO's and not left until I have had them evicted through the courts. I would be grateful if you could provide me with a copy of the licence agreement that you use so that I can use it as well to prevent this kind of thing happening or at least be able take immediate action to evict them without waiting for the AST to expire and having to serve s.21 notices.

I can provide you with my email address if you are able to email it to me.

by Robert Mellors

21:14 PM, 21st October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "The Man From Nowhere" at "21/10/2014 - 20:18":

Hi Man from Nowhere

There is much more to having a licence agreement than simply having an occupancy agreement that claims to be a licence agreement. (Actions have to accompany the words). There is another discussion on here from a few months ago where I gave loads of information on exactly this subject, so as a starting point I would suggest reading that, and replying via that discussion thread perhaps?

Even with a valid licence agreement, you still have to abide by the Protection from Eviction Act, but you do not have to wait 6 months before applying to the court like you do with an AST. I also take the precaution of serving notices immediately after sign up (as part of the sign up process, but after they have signed the licence agreement), so that if they turn out to be "tenants (licensees) from hell", then the process towards a prompt eviction has already started.

by Romain Garcin

21:42 PM, 21st October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "21/10/2014 - 21:14":

Hi Robert,

"I also take the precaution of serving notices immediately after sign up (as part of the sign up process, but after they have signed the licence agreement), so that if they turn out to be “tenants (licensees) from hell”, then the process towards a prompt eviction has already started."

What notice would that be if the occupants are licensees?

by Robert Mellors

22:22 PM, 21st October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain " at "21/10/2014 - 21:42":

My licence agreements have never been challenged in court, so I have no definitive court ruling on their status. However, having studied the relevant caselaw around tenancies v licences, I believe they are valid licence agreements, and this view has been reinforced by views expressed by both the local council private rented housing team, and by Shelter (via a CAB). However, without a definitive court ruling, I take a "belt and braces" approach and serve both a "Notice to Quit" and a s21 Notice (and a s8 Notice if/when resident starts building up arrears). In the court claim, I state that I am relying on the Notice to Quit, and in the alternative the s21 Notice, and in the alternative the s8 Notice. This has the effect of giving three possible valid notices that the judge can consider as grounds for granting the eviction. This has proved to be an effective strategy so far.

Usually the judge will choose the most simple and straightforward ground for eviction providing the case meets the criteria, and this means that they do not have to consider the licence v tenancy question, and so long as it results in the eviction being granted then I do not raise the point. However, if for some reason the s21 or s8 grounds are dismissed, then I would come back to the Notice to Quit and make the legal argument as to the occupancy being on a licence agreement and thus the Notice to Quit being valid.

by Romain Garcin

22:34 PM, 21st October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "21/10/2014 - 22:22":

I see, thanks for the details.
IMHO that mostly relies on your tenants/licensees not knowing the legal aspects but hey, if it works.

by Robert Mellors

22:58 PM, 21st October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain " at "21/10/2014 - 22:34":

Hi Romain,

Your comment appears to be implying that the occupancy agreements are really tenancies and I am just relying on the ignorance of the residents. If so,then this opinion ignores that fact that my occupancy agreements have been looked at by both the council and Shelter, and it also ignores the research that I have done into this area myself.

I fully understand why you may dismiss these opinions, but you do not know my level of expertise or background, nor do you know the expertise of the individuals at the council or at Shelter. Also, as far as I know, you have not seen my licence agreements, or have knowledge of the services provided to my residents. All of these are relevant factors.

Unless you have seen all the evidence, then your opinion cannot be fully informed in this particular instance. I do not know your expertise in licence agreements, so for all I know you may be expert in this area in general terms, i.e. have a good knowledge of the law, but you do not have the specific insight into my particular licence agreements and accommodation services provided.

by Romain Garcin

8:28 AM, 22nd October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "21/10/2014 - 22:58":

Hi Robert,

I was not dismissing opinions, or your level of expertise or background. I apologise if my comment seemed to suggest otherwise (I wrote it quickly and I realise now that it does appear dismissive...)

One of the issues with you serving a notice to quit immediately after the license started, and assuming that the notice is valid (ie. license is periodic, expiry date is correct, etc.): Upon the expiry date the license will end, which means that if you continue to accept rent and are happy for the licensee to stay you will create a new license (or a tenancy).
You cannot effectively use notices to quit as precautionary notices in the way you can do with a s.21 notice in an AST.

On the other hand, especially if you take deposit, serving s.21 or s.8 notices (which have no value in a license) might leave you exposed to a come back re. the license actually being ASTs, along the consequences

This is why I think that if a licensee/tenant is clued up then the eviction process might go less smoothly.

by chris wright

12:35 PM, 22nd October 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "21/10/2014 - 11:14":

fair point Robert you sound to me like a very efficient operator with good services - i would be adverse to getting BLI HB tenants to pay over LHA rates even by a few quid a week, most have less than £50 fall-back if a crisis occurs and when it does they reach for rent arrears to prop them up i can see you hedge that by helping them with benefit claims which is good but your time has a cost i take it? There are a load of unrecoverable costs in this area (chasing debt) more so once they've left and i would consider less is more when dealing with knife-edge family finances. Regards.


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