My Tenant has gone “Sour”

by Readers Question

17:11 PM, 6th July 2013
About 6 years ago

My Tenant has gone “Sour”

Make Text Bigger
My Tenant has gone “Sour”

I have a current tenant, a lady of appx 35 with an 8yr old daughter, who has, can I say, ” gone sour on me.”

She signed a Tenancy Agreement , drafted by, my then Letting Agent,for an initial 6months and which has then been followed for a further unspecified period on a periodic tenancy basis. In total the tenancy reaches 12months on the 23rd July 2013.

After the first 6 months rent payments became erratic, late, differing amounts being paid all of which has lead to needing to text or an attempt to contact the tenant to “chase the rent”. She is currently 1 month in arrears which will be 2 months by the 23rd July. She has, she claims,been to the CAB claiming harassment, that her deposit can be used to offset her rent and she is also alleging the signature on the tenancy agreement is not hers, albeit it has taken her nearly a year to notice it isn’t her signature on the agreement!

Can I ask all you lads and lasses out there in Landlord land, what would you do?

Cheers RoyMy Tenant has gone "Sour"

PS. Please ask if there are any further questions regarding further information needed.



Comments

Mark Alexander

17:16 PM, 6th July 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi Roy

She sounds like trouble to me.

If I were you I would be talking to Paul Shamplina at this stage. It might cost you a months rent in fees to get rid of her but it could very easily save you a lot of grief and even more in rental voids if she starts to think she's got you beat.

Please see >>> http://www.property118.com/tenant-eviction/39099/

I wish you luck.

5:15 AM, 7th July 2013
About 6 years ago

Yes.
Get rid of her; she's a wrongun!
Tell her to withdraw the harassment complaint and have it confirmed in writing by the CAB that she has withdrawn the complaint. and to pay the full rent.
If she refuses issue S21a and boot her out.
Try and get her to pay the full rent and then see if she could pass a RGI check.
It will only cost £10 and then £89.00 with Mark's offering or I use bestinsurance.
Hopefully she passes; take out the policy.
Next time she defaults on her rent submit a RGI claim and she will be booted out in about 9 months time.
Won't cost you a penny.
Make sure you have LL insurance in case she trashes and steals from the property.
With RGI; YOU are in control of the tenancy.;l at the moment SHE is!
Lets hope your tenant isn't clever enough to work out that RGI on her means she is stuffed if she ever refuses to pay rent on time.
Once you claim there is NO going back even if she pays the rent arrears after you have submitted the cl;aim and told her so.
By the sounds of it though she is on full HB; so you stand no chance of recovering your 2 months rent arrears.
1 month and 1 day after rent hasn't been paid claim from the council the LHA to be paid direct.
Try and get a permission letter to discuss and HB claim; even if she hasn't told you how she is paying the rent.
You should have done all this when you started with her; ALWAYS presume your tenant is going to be a wrongun; get things set up; just in case!!!

Adam Zeeblebum

12:37 PM, 7th July 2013
About 6 years ago

> "By the sounds of it though she is on full HB"

???

Sally T

12:49 PM, 7th July 2013
About 6 years ago

Reading this with my husband and we both agree that the best thing to do would be employing a third party to deal with the eviction and cut off all communication.
It might mean cutting your losses but she sounds like real trouble to us, wouldn't surprise me if she's either done it before herself, or taking advice from someone else who's pulled the same stunt.
I'd quickly end all communication just to protect myself, you may never know what she might come out with next !!!
Good luck !!!

Adam Zeeblebum

12:54 PM, 7th July 2013
About 6 years ago

Well...firstly, I'm not a landlord, so my comment doesn't come from that perspective...

...but I'd probably continue trying to 'encourage' her to pay the rent, set up some kind of repayment plan to clear the arrears, contacting the Housing Benefits now (*if* she is in receipt of Housing Benefit) to see if they can use their discretion to start paying the Housing Benefit directly to you with immediate effect, and contact your local authority's homelessness team and private sector housing team (or equivalents) to see if there is any help that they can offer.

Informing Social Services or the child's school could be an interesting optional step to take, particularly if there is already some involvement from Social Services and/or concerns about the child's welfare/development.

And I'd give it two weeks from today to see if any of that bears any fruit and, if it hasn't done, serve a Section 21 notice that expires on 23/09/2013.

Her claim that she has been to the CAB is strange - what advice did they give her? Did anyone from the CAB contact you? Has anyone from your local authority or the Police contacted you? Did she say that this has been reported to the local authority or to the Police? My guess is that this trip to the CAB didn't happen.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

7:05 AM, 8th July 2013
About 6 years ago

Mark emailed me and asked if I would consider requesting rent in texts could be construed as harassment Roy. The fact that she has been to the CAB alleging harassment doesnt mean to say that your actions are harassment.

Paraphrasing here but basically harassment in a residential setting by a landlord is defined as acts that are done that are likely to cause the residential occupier to give up their accommodation.

Also, even more specifically you have Section 40 of the Administration of Justices Act 1970, which makes it a criminal offence to make demands for money in such a way that "They cause alarm, distress or humiliation"

So you have to look at it from the tenant's perspective in order to understand how the offence works. Chasing up rent without evicting the tenant is perfectly sensible and understandable thing to do but its the way that you do it that makes the difference.

What worries me about your predicament is her allegation that she didnt sign the tenancy agreement. Why has she been living there and paying the rent then? If she mounts a defence on the accelerated possession defence claim then there will likely be a court hearing rather than automatic possession, even if the judge decides it is nonsense, so it could drag on.

Thinking the argument through (at 6.45am on Monday - so I may be way out) If a court took the view that the tenancy agreement wasnt signed by her then maybe the worst that could be said is that the tenancy agreement is invalid, but her occupation and the fact that she was happily paying the rent for a while would create a tenancy anyway and as an AST is the default tenancy she is back where she started.

andrew townshend

17:23 PM, 8th July 2013
About 6 years ago

yes get rid a s a p, sec 21, & make sure we all know her details so we don't get her.

Roy

17:45 PM, 8th July 2013
About 6 years ago

Hi Mark

Many thanks to yourself and particularly Ben for taking time out for a complete stranger, for this most recent comment, which along with all others, has given me much food for thought. I will step back a bit from this to consider my next move. However "keep them coming" as each submission has brought something new to the table. May I thank everyone who has replied to my original posting and freely acknowledge I am a much wiser person subsequently.

I now need to "think twice but act once" regarding my next move.

I will keep all in the loop as events develop.

Many thanks again to all those who responded.

Roy

Mark Alexander

18:03 PM, 8th July 2013
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "andrew" at "08/07/2013 - 17:23":

Please note that we have a "no name and shame" policy - see >>> http://www.property118.com/what-property118-is-not/

Ben Reeve-Lewis

19:06 PM, 8th July 2013
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Roy" at "08/07/2013 - 17:45":
Thanks Roy. Its my job to stand in the middle of disputes between landlords and tenants and there are different ways of handling different situations.

Some landlords and tenants have a relationship whereby they are more personally involved with each other, in which case I would always counsel, work with them to sort things out. If you read Serena's excellent HMO Landlady blogs you will see what I mean.

Other landlord/tenant relationships arent built on that connection, in which case I would always advise, stick to the eviction procedure, that's what it's there for. No enforcement officer, like me, can argue if the landlord is following due process.

If you decide this is the appropriate route for this situation, keep everything official and keep everything in writing. Dont get caught up in arguing about who said what to who. Be impartial, be legal.

No judge or TRO expects a PRS landlord to be a social worker

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

44% of landlords fear Right to Rent

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More