Newbie renting to Universal Credit claimants?Make Text Bigger
I have been browsing this site and found it to be very useful with lots of handy information and a great bunch of valued members – so I decided to join as well! I am having a few issues (with the agent & tenant) and I would like to seek some opinions on the issues.
I have a property (3 bedroom Terrace) which is rented out via an letting agent. Totally new to this buy-to-let thing and I am still learning so please bear with me.
Purchased the property in April 2019. In May 2019 the letting agent lined up a tenant, they asked me to carry out minor repairs and a deep clean to the value of 700 pounds to bring the property up to the standard they required it to be in time for the tenant to move in (single lady). This was all completed as per their requirements. I paid the money into their account and they got in their contractors and carried out all the work.
The tenant turned out be a Universal Credit Claimant, so I assumed, being an agent they knew what they were doing and the kind of tenants to look for via their checks, so I agreed to them letting out to this tenant.
Obviously the tenant had to put in a claim for universal credit so this caused a 2-month delay in rental income, I didn’t get my first rent till end September 2019. To date the tenant is still 2 months in arrears. I have asked the agent again and again to chase up the arrears and they keep coming back to me saying they have emailed UC and still no payment of arrears! However to date, the rent is on time (paid by UC to the agent, agent then take deductions (management fee & tax etc) and deposits the remaining funds into my account).
My first question is what can the agent do to recover the arrears from UC? So far nothing is being done and what should I do to push them to chase up the arrears? Can I evict the tenant based on the arrears?
Two days before Christmas letting agent called me saying the boiler at the property had broken down and it needed a new part, with Christmas coming up, no one wants to spend Christmas with no heating and hot water, so I sourced the part and the supplier (200 pounds include VAT) and passed the details to the agent who then called a plumber and had the part fitted for 103 pounds. Agent emailed me saying that I needed to pay 303 pounds into their account so that they could pay the plumber- this was done immediately, and I did state that no reductions to be taken from rent as I wanted to pay separately.
Last week I received my rent statement and they had deducted 57 pounds for the boiler repair? I asked that this was for since I have already paid them 303 as requested and they said since they are VAT registered they have to charge me VAT?
My second question is that since I already paid the agent 300 pounds for the parts (inc VAT) and labour can they charge me VAT again? Despite asking for the receipt they have still not sent me anything till date.
3 days ago I received an email from the agent saying that they received a call from a the local council officer who is supporting the tenant and the local council officer wants to arrange a meeting with the agent to discuss repairs within the property they think are necessary to forward to me.
My third question is what has the council got to do with this, my understanding was that it was the agent who would ensure the property is in a rentable state (which is what I paid 700 pounds for in May 2019) and If tenant complains we would take corrective action. There has been no complaint from Tenant. So why suddenly a local council officer who “supports” the tenant wants to discuss repairs, shouldn’t she be focusing on paying off the arrears?
Sorry for the long question, but I am new to all this so need a lot of educating.
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