11:00 AM, 17th October 2013, About 9 years ago
At Landlord Action we just don’t evict tenants for rent arrears or ending the tenancy because the landlord wants the property back. We also get instructed by landlords that are worried about the condition of their property and how the tenants are treating (or mistreating) it. If instances such as this are left to continue, they can end up costing landlords a fortune to put right, negating any gains they have made through rental income for a substantial length of time.
In a recent case we were instructed to gain possession of, the landlord was desperate to get his property back. There were no arrears, but the tenant had severely neglected the property. She had rented the property on the proviso that she would be living there however, soon after getting the keys, she left to go to Africa leaving her teenage sons in the property on their own. When the landlord found this out during a routine inspection of the property, he quite rightly called social services.
However, this wasn’t the landlord’s only problem. Teenage boys under one roof would be bad enough, but teenage boys without supervision…a nightmare! Upon visiting the property the landlord found it to be knee deep in rubbish which had resulted in a mouse infestation. British gas had also issued a warrant and changed the locks to the front door to remove the meter and change it to a pre-paid meter as the bills had not been paid for several months. They had broken the landlord’s cooker and washing machine, along with other items, and the landlord was genuinely worried that the property was no longer safe to live in, as it posed a fire risk. At this point he took some shocking photos – see below.
When checking out the references again because he was suspicious, the landlord realised he had been conned. The tenant said she was employed by a charity but had falsified the letter of employment. With all this evidence being put in a witness statement, we now have the task of having to convince the judge, on discretionary grounds, to grant a possession order at the hearing.
Unfortunately, the landlord gave the tenant a 2 year tenancy agreement with no break clause and it still has another 11 months to run. The landlord is understandably worried that there will now also be rent arrears going forward as, of course, it could be another 4 months before he gets his property back.
1: Always make sure you have a break clause in your tenancy agreement so that you can end the agreement early and rely on a section 21 Notice, rather than discretionary grounds going to court.
2: Always have your tenancy checks carried out by a professional who is more likely to spot falsified information.
3: Always carry out regular property checks so that if something untoward is going in your property, you know about it sooner rather than later!
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