New carpets and redecoration required every two years?

by Readers Question

13:02 PM, 28th April 2014
About 6 years ago

New carpets and redecoration required every two years?

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New carpets and redecoration required every two years?

Hi- I think I know the answer to this but it is nice to get a few other opinions.

I have a tenant who had been late in paying their rent. I found out that one of the tenants had started their own business and I suggested to help cash flow to pay weekly, which they did but then started missing weekly rental payments as well, meaning I would call round at least twice a month to chase.

Around Christmas 2013 I went to round to give a reminder to them that rent was late and not been paid. I was shown that the bathroom had a few tiles come lose which I said would be sorted and has. The house is in good order both decorating and flooring wise.

The kitchen and bathroom are ok and well above the standard I have seen in some tenanted properties. I said after a while that if they kept up with their rent and made payments on time I would look at having the bathroom refurbished. I got a quote and arranged for it to start but as you can guess payments were not meet as scheduled.

Any way after having to put off the contractor a few times, which he was good about and understood, they started to get payments on time and on 8th April I sent a text to say that they could pay weekly but from the end of April it had to go back to monthly payments in full and if they kept to the agreement the bathroom would be done starting 21st April – they did not keep up with payments and now say they won’t pay until the bathroom is done, there is a term in the AST saying they cannot set –off.

I know this is a breach and have made it clear that I will serve notice to quit and if they are not out by the due date it will be an illegal occupation and squatting is now illegal- Sept. 2102 new law came in.

I now get a text saying that an agent or landlord ‘has to replace carpets every 2 years and redecorate every two years as well’- there is no law to say I have to as far as I know, am I right, but they are being pain and say going to solicitors to prove they are right – they can if they want to waste money.

Aggravation I don’t need they have been in the property for 5 years and it was fully redecorated then and still looks in good order. If I lived there myself I would not do much to it. Would appreciate any view and or comments and or advice.

Many thanks

Alan carpets


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Comments

Neil Patterson

13:09 PM, 28th April 2014
About 6 years ago

Errr new carpets and decoration every two years!

How can anyone think that sounds reasonable?

I think you may have over promised in this situation and they are trying to take advantage.

You will get some good advice here about what you could/should do next but I would definitely stop texting as this form of communication is not going well.

Mike T

13:29 PM, 28th April 2014
About 6 years ago

Carpets and decorate every two years ! ? I don't think so. If our tenants want to redecorate and change the carpets they are welcome to do so at their expense. It would seem to me to be time to send them a section 21 notice - otherwise they will carry on giving you the run around. Better to bite the bullet now, and suffer a little loss, than get into a protracted tit-for-tat situation.
Good luck.

Andrew Taylor

13:30 PM, 28th April 2014
About 6 years ago

Unfortunatley this sounds like the start of the tenant using delaying tactics and fault finding that eventually leads to a messy eviction six months down the line. I hope I am very wrong on this, but it sounds like how my one bad tenancy started to fall apart.

They will not be squatters as they have a tenancy agreement, the fact they are not paying their rent does not alter their legal rights.

As Neil has suggested, its time to get formal. Letters only from now on, keep copies incase things end up in court. Start the eviction process today, and stick to it. If it was me, having endured an eviction through an insurance company appointed solicitor, I'd pay to get a professional outlet to evict them for you.

Andrew

Yvonne B.

14:03 PM, 28th April 2014
About 6 years ago

HI,

Yes, start eviction immediately as it looks like they've not got the money to pay, however this is what I do with a non-paying tenant - see what you think;

Go and see them for a chat - tell them you don't want to evict them because they are 'good' people and you don't want to see them on the street. (But give them the papers anyway and explain that costs are added to their bill!).
You are trying to help them - they have been your tenants for 5 years and been ok I presume. They've probably got themselves in a mess financially and yes using every trick in the book for excuses not to pay as I'm sure most people would do in that situation when they can't pay and don't know what to say!
Find out what's going on - if they're not earning enough money they could well be entitled to Housing Benefit / Working Tax credits which a lot of people don't claim when they are self employed because they think they're not entitled.
Point out the clause on the back of your tenancy agreement which says THEY are responsible for decoration while in the property.
Arrange with them to refurbish the bathroom straight away - when your tenants are evicted and you want to re-let fast - the bathroom will already be done so this will save YOU money on void time if and when it does come empty.
Doing this - you may keep your 'paying' tenants as they have all their needs satisfied and it will save you a costly eviction & void period. OR - at the very least, they will leave the property in good order as you have tried to sort it out amicably with them and they will appreciate it is their fault and not yours.
Always keep on good terms, they are less likely to trash the place and more likely to work with you than against you. Plus it's less stress on you!
Good luck.

Romain Garcin

14:10 PM, 28th April 2014
About 6 years ago

Good advice already given.

Just a word of caution about this: "I will serve notice to quit and if they are not out by the due date it will be an illegal occupation and squatting is now illegal- Sept. 2102 new law came in."

If the tenancy is an AST, you cannot serve a notice to quit.
A s.21 or a s.8 notice are not notices to quit and they have no impact on the tenancy.

Even in the case of the tenancy ending and the ex-tenants not leaving (e.g. if they had served a notice to quit, as they can in a periodic tenancy), as the previous tenants they would not be squatters and you would still need to possession order to evict them.

Don Holmes

17:34 PM, 28th April 2014
About 6 years ago

All good advise here but there is NO such Law, my view is with Andrew I am afraid, as much as Yvonne's approach sometimes works, it depends on a reasonable tenant and one that is not paying and giving you the run around cannot be considered reasonable.

Serve the section 21 now and if the rent gets to 8 weeks arrears in front of the section 21 date issue a section 8 as well as this will give you quicker access to proceedings and a money order.

The problem can be the bailiff lead in time but you can make an application to transfer the case to High Court Enforcement Officers, for enforcement purposes this needs to be made under section 42 of the County Courts Act (1984). I would recommend that this application be made by a solicitor, although you can make the application yourself as the claimant if you prefer.

The Court is not obligated to grant your application and you should support your application with information you have been provided regarding County Court bailiff lead times and the financial loss you are likely to suffer if you are required to wait for a County Court bailiff attendance. Or as Yvonne says see if you can talk to them? Good Luck Don

Yvonne B.

12:19 PM, 29th April 2014
About 6 years ago

Wow! All this info about court/paperwork/section 21/section 8 !!!

I have been doing this job for 10 years, over 1,000 tenants through the properties over the years and never had to take anyone to court - TALKING DOES WORK - taking people to court immediately gets their back up and they go on the defensive and stop talking.
Please be more human, take them down the pub, become friends, whatever it takes to make them open up to you - it WILL pay off!
You'll feel like an agony aunt - but it's better than being stressed with a non-talking tenant, a court case and costs!
Tell them about your life too - quite often they think landlords are loaded - tell them your stresses and what happens when you don't get the money and what bills you can't pay, etc - they'll soon realise that in fact we're all the same, just trying to get on in life and pay our bills!
I have issued section 21s and section 8s before now (only a handful) - when they've not been listening - and only as a last resort. Those few that have received them have then either sorted the problem out or left the property by the due date knowing that I'd tried to help them all I could.

Good Luck

Industry Observer

9:35 AM, 30th April 2014
About 6 years ago

Yvonne B

You and others are probably right but sadly agents do not have time to be social workers/mentors/ shoulders to cry on for tenants - not if they are manging hundreds of properties!! Private Landlords fine.

Point I wanted to make is of course there is no legal obligation on decor etc, though no-one has mentioned HHSRS yet so if you have lead painted walls or threadbare accident inducing carpets then there could be a legal position!!

But contractually there could be,. Anyone letting their property to LA/Hsng Assn beware often they slip in such a clause for every 3 years if you use their agreements (always try not to they are very heavily weighted in favour of the tenant surprise surprise)

Steve From Leicester

9:44 AM, 30th April 2014
About 6 years ago

I'm truly gobsmacked by Yvonne's comment that she's had over 1000 tenants and never had to take anyone to court. As an agent we manage many hundreds of properties. We do try (usually successfully) to manage problem tenants out of a property but occasionally we need the help of the courts and once or twice a year we have to go as far as having the court bailiff along to enforce a possession order. The time will come when Yvonne finds herself in a similar situation..

Note also that I said "manage them out of the property" - not "manage a problem tenant with a view to letting them stay". There is a big difference between the two.

IO is right - there's nothing wrong with the human touch but landlords are not social workers, and Andrew Taylor's first comment on this thread summed up exactly what my thoughts were as I read the original question.

Industry Observer

10:21 AM, 30th April 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi Steve

Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't, but here I must agree with you.

I do Landlord accreditation courses and actually have had Landlords tell me they have never had to serve a s21 notice in 10 years - makes me wonder what they do sometimes to get rid of tenants!!

I have for the past 20 years said that any private landlord who has never had a bad experience with a tenant even if only one property and perhaps handled only 10 sets of tenants is an extremely lucky landlord!!

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