LHA dilemma – stick or twist?

by Readers Question

9:12 AM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

LHA dilemma – stick or twist?

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LHA dilemma – stick or twist?

I have a tenant that has been living in one of my properties since 2009.

She’s an LHA tenant and has never actually missed a payment in that time, but in the last year or so she has been constantly late with the rent which has caused me a fair bit of stress and wasted time in chasing her. On the other hand the property is spotless and she regularly has the carpets cleaned and takes pretty good care of the place.

I work and have a demanding job and am a bit fearful of a void when this has been a steady source of income for so long and I am grateful to have had zero voids in almost 6 years. The property will probably need upgrading for a new tenant and I don’t fear the cost of doing this too much. What worries me more is that t I have never been able to find a truly trusted tradesmen do do bathroom renovations and the like.

As I know the tenant struggles to pay the rent as it is. I haven’t increased the rent since she moved in and I could probably get another £200-250 a month now, but I’m a bit worried about upsetting the apple cart and finding someone decent to repair / renovate the place if she goes. All of this has led me to just leave the situation as-is. I’m not desperate for the extra rent and a change of tenants will incur extra costs and take up even more of my time.

If I do lose may rag and decide to ask her to leave what is the best approach? Should I simply ask her to leave and issue notice or issue a section 8 (?) on the grounds of constant late payment, or say I wish to move back to the property or that I now wish to raise the rent?

I am a bit fearful that she’ll suddenly become difficult or start neglecting the place if she feels she no longer has any interest in keeping it in good condition. What approach do people think is usually most acceptable to tenants and avoids too much conflict?
I doubt I’ll ever get a professional tenant who will stay as long…

What do y’all think? In some ways I think I’ve been very lucky, but I also feel she’s taking the mick with me a bit these days as I have to chase her every month.

Kaystick



Comments

Andrew Holmes

10:04 AM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Kay,

Is the tenant under an AST or has it lapsed to a periodic one ?

How late are we talking about each month ?

John Frith

10:25 AM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Have you found out the reason for her late payments, and whether it is going to be a temporary or ongoing problem?

Michael Barnes

13:59 PM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Go talk to her about your concerns over late rent and your assertion that you could get more rent so are considering an increase.

You may be able to reach an agreement that is acceptable to you both.

If you decide that you want posession, then S21 is your best route. S8 on late payment is discretionary, so no guarantees.

Bricks n Mortar

14:27 PM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Andrew Holmes" at "29/05/2015 - 10:04":

Hi Andrew,
It's a periodic tenancy. The previous tenancy agreement expired and I did not ask the tenant to sign a new agreement.

Bricks n Mortar

14:30 PM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frith" at "29/05/2015 - 10:25":

It's ongoing unfortunately. She tells me that she now has to top up payments following LHA cuts.

As a result she's now always playing catch up.

She's terrible at keeping me informed though.

Bricks n Mortar

14:31 PM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "29/05/2015 - 13:59":

Thanks very much for that tip Michael!

Graham Durkin

16:29 PM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Kay ,Can you give a little more info on whats being rented,how old is the tenant,single parent or couple,this will make my decision making so much easier,you also say about an internal upgrade,today many tenants will be happy to repaint for you if you supply the paint ,has your tenant considered applying for Discretionary Housing Payment .Also why not apply for the rent to be paid direct to you,When it comes down to making your decision only then will you find out what,s going to happen ,if she would leave with a financial inducement , that could save you up to 6 months trying to get her out plus court fees ,but remember to get her to complete an End of Tenancy Surrender Form.As many have said on other topics ,you are running a business and you should be looking at making a healthy return for your investment.

Gary Nock

18:10 PM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Kay situations like this are always difficult. Sometimes it is useful to write down the pros and cons and cost them out using best and worst case scenarios. This identifies the component parts of a decision. Ultimately it is you who has to make the decision to "bite the bullet" and get rid. Yes it's hassle tondo it but once a new tenants in and paying it fades into the distance

Peter Hindley

20:10 PM, 29th May 2015
About 4 years ago

I went through a period where 3 of my tenants were late at the same time, but did pay during the month. I didn't say anything to them. Within a few months they had sorted themselves out & regular payments started again. Perhaps better the devil you know?

tony tony

9:01 AM, 30th May 2015
About 4 years ago

you should have the rent paid direct to you, ring up council and tell them she is 8 weeks in arrears they will stop suspend claim while they investigate and then pay you direct (for her to be 8 weeks in arrears she only as to be 4 weeks and 1 day behind in her rent ) also why havent you put the rent up, the lha rent what a tenant is entltled to as gone up since 2009 ,sounds to me that you could be get more rent than you are ,let us know the area and how many kids she as got (if any and i will tell you the exact amount of rent you would be able to get , then give her a rent increase letter.also get your tenant to write a letter saying she is having problems handling the rent moneyand hand that to benefit office regards ts

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