Large family moved in when father died?

by Readers Question

9:32 AM, 2nd December 2019
About 6 days ago

Large family moved in when father died?

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Large family moved in when father died?

A tenancy doesn’t automatically end when a sole tenant dies. When the son of a long term tenant informed us that the tenant had died we assumed that in due course the property would be cleared and the tenancy surrendered. What we weren’t prepared for was for the son to move in with his large family and three dogs and refuse to communicate with us slamming the door in our faces when we called to discuss the matter. ( the property is a small bungalow with one double and one single bedroom)

We have learnt that gaining possession is not straight forward. We were advised by one of the landlord associations to issue a section 21 notice giving the statutory notice of two months from a rent date. We were told to issue the notice in the name of the deceased. We would also be required to make an application to register the notice with the public trustee.

This we have done only to be informed by the public trustee that the notice was not addressed correctly. Rather than the deceased as advised by our landlords association it should have been addressed to, the representatives of………

Consequently, we will have to serve the notice again losing another month.

We may be fortunate to get our property back in five, probably six or seven months following notice, court process, bailiff, etc. With associated costs. All the while this family lives rent free and possibly doing untold damage.

We are not novice landlords . We have been landlords for nearly thirty years and have had mostly good tenants. We have had an elderly tenant die previously with no unexpected consequences.

Tom



Comments

David Price

12:46 PM, 2nd December 2019
About 6 days ago

My tenancy agreements have a list of persons permitted to reside in the property, introduced at the insistence of the local council to prevent overcrowding. It also helps with 'right to rent'.

Such a list may help in future cases of a sole tenant dying.

Is it possible that the people in situ, not being the tenant, could be treated as squatters?

Tom

13:05 PM, 2nd December 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 02/12/2019 - 12:46
Hi David.
But the family do not have permission to live in the property. The deceased was the sole tenant. The son approached us following his father’s death. Because of his circumstances we declined him a tenancy. He moved in regardless with his wife three children and three dogs.
We have been given conflicting advice.
An officer of the local council said he was a squatter and we should ring the police. We have followed the advice of our landlord’s association which advocated the route outlined previously.

Rob Crawford

15:57 PM, 2nd December 2019
About 5 days ago

Landlords often talk to landlord associations thinking they are talking to a solicitor. This is rarely the case. You need legal advice from possession experts such as those suggested by Neil. From what you say these occupants are squatters, however, you do not mention if you are receiving rent from them, if so a tenancy arrangement under common law could be assumed.

Tom

17:32 PM, 2nd December 2019
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 02/12/2019 - 09:43
Hi Neil,
Thank you for the related questions. I will look closely at them.
We do usually try and solve all our landlord issues ourselves. We have unfortunately had to serve notice and take court action against tenants previously but thankfully rarely.
On this occasion you may well be right and professional advice will be required.

Tom

18:00 PM, 2nd December 2019
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 02/12/2019 - 15:57
Yes, I am inclined to agree with you.
No rent has been asked for or offered. I do understand that even this was the case, it should not halt a possession order.
What is galling is that we delayed action for the family to grieve and waited until after the funeral.
As landlords we are always learning even after nearly thirty years. Sentiment and business do not mix.

Michael Barnes

0:56 AM, 3rd December 2019
About 5 days ago

Are there 2 months rent arrears?

If so, then S8G8 might be a faster option?

I also understood that notice should be served on the tenant, and that the tenant's representatives should take it up

Tom

7:00 AM, 3rd December 2019
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 03/12/2019 - 00:56
Hi Michael,
Only one months arrears at this stage, hence the section 21 route. There seems some confusion re who the notice Is served on. The public trustee and the government site maintain that the notice should be served on ‘the representative of’ whereas the landlords association seem to think it’s ok to serve the notice in the name of the deceased. They now tell us to serve, to the representative of.... Apparently, we don’t now need to give two months from a rent date but two months four days.
As previously advised on this site we will seek specialist advice and hopefully proceed lawfully and without too much further delay.
Thank you 118 for all the helpful posts.

Michael Barnes

15:54 PM, 3rd December 2019
About 4 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Tom at 03/12/2019 - 07:00
I would suggest also serving S8 notice on grounds 7 (death) and 10 (rent is unpaid).

It might trigger some action.

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