One HMO tenant left after Section 21?

One HMO tenant left after Section 21?

10:11 AM, 4th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago 19

Text Size

I own a 6 bed HMO and wish to renovate it and rent out as a whole house. Having served a section 21 several months ago (via my solicitor and agent) all the tenants have now left, except one. The remaining is refusing to leave. We have sent him a letter indicating we will now have to pursue through the courts to evict him, and he will incur charges and costs on top of any rent owed.

My agent has met him and offered him one month’s free rent to go. He still refuses to budge, saying he doesn’t need the money and has nowhere else to go.

Going to court and having him evicted will take 6-8 months minimum I have been told, and I will have to cover the mortgage and bills during this time. The property doesn’t break even unless four rooms are rented. It will cost me a fortune to keep it running.

The law is totally not on the landlord’s side. Any suggestions or thoughts on how I could get him to go?

Or has anyone experienced the court process and costs, so I know what to expect next?

The alternative I thought is to get more tenants in for say 6 months until he leaves to help cover the bills, but we may well end up back in the same position with other tenants.

Many thanks

Doug



Comments

by Rob Guy

9:31 AM, 6th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago

Give notice to raise the rent to cover the cost of the building as a single dwelling as it is now. It is not an unreasonable increase under the circumstances. Long shot but worth trying anything in this situation.

by Richard Peeters

14:02 PM, 7th October 2021, About A week ago

We had a similar situation with 4 of the 5 working tenants of the HMO already gone or happy enough to go when we served the separate S21 notices, but the 5th refused. The refurb included a new boiler (in the loft), splitting a large room to create the 6th bedroom, adding two more showers and another toilet. We worked hard to plan the refurb around him, but he called in the council who sided with him and halted the works. It was a heat wave summer, but we had to accelerate the new boiler works, so that the engineer had to fit a temporary air conditioner in the loft space to complete it.

He had stopped paying rent, but he restarted just before the 1st court hearing. The court wasn’t happy when he sacked his solicitor, so on the 3rd hearing we were finally granted possession, but still had to pay for the bailiffs to appear. Our tenant was in his mid-40s, and was very keen to get a good reference on his way out, but his biggest worry was that his Mum would find out about his eviction.

Altogether, our HMO rent was reduced to less than one sixth what it should have been, had the 6-bed refurb been finished 18 months sooner as scheduled.

You should expect a long-term scenario like this if you cannot get him out much sooner, so bear than in mind when coming up with the “encouragement package”!

Try to find a mix of sticks and carrots tailored to his needs, including finding a new home and helping with relocation and new deposit.

by Richard Mann

8:48 AM, 9th October 2021, About A week ago

Would I be right in saying that if you have a property with only one tenant it is not then an HMO and said tenant would liable for Council tax tv license etc?

by Jessie Jones

9:52 AM, 9th October 2021, About A week ago

You should start formal eviction proceedings without delay.
Your tenant may well try various delaying tactics without any real intentions to leave. They may agree to a fixed date, which then gets postponed, and postponed again, with various excuses. They may agree to a 'bung' to go, but keep revising the amount they want, and each re-negotiation will cause a delay.
Using a Section 8 or Section 21 may well take a long time, but start the process without delay. Legal costs are usually a lot less than lost rent.
Also, if your tenant is even remotely clued up, they will know that you can never evict them without a court order and bailiffs.

by Carol

10:00 AM, 9th October 2021, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Mann at 09/10/2021 - 08:48
It will very much depend on the wording of the contract. You cannot change the contract without the tenant's consent and in this case I am sure the LL does not wish to issue a new contract. Section 21 and Section 8 need to be issued and keep trying to negotiate.

by Richard Peeters

10:20 AM, 11th October 2021, About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Mann at 09/10/2021 - 08:48There are two factors in this particular case that prevented us from putting bills in this one tenant's name: (1) our ASTs are on a per-room basis with bills included (including council tax), which has massively simplified our admin effort over the years compared to trying to split the bills and ensure bills do in fact get paid; and (2) that HMO is in an Article 4 area and we did not want to risk losing its HMO status (if the council deemed it a single-let with just that one tenant's name on council tax etc).

by Richard Peeters

10:32 AM, 11th October 2021, About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Guy at 06/10/2021 - 09:31
If you tried to increase the rent too much in one step, it would be thrown out out in Court if the increase were judged to be "unreasonable" and the new rate to be substantially higher than local market rates. There are restrictions on how soon you can raise the rent again too. So this approach would not be a quick fix, but it would show your tenant that things are changing to his disadvantage.

by Michael Barnes

23:17 PM, 16th October 2021, About 10 hours ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Mann at 09/10/2021 - 08:48
Would I be right in saying that if you have a property with only one tenant it is not then an HMO and said tenant would liable for Council tax tv license etc?
No to council tax, as the T does not have possession of the entire property.
TV licence is always T's responsibility.

by Michael Barnes

23:23 PM, 16th October 2021, About 9 hours ago

Reply to the comment left by Nigel Parry at 04/10/2021 - 12:36
Going through the eviction process will take months, and I know the temptation is to relet the other rooms, but if you do that then the tenant may have an argument when you come to court to evict that your actions in reletting are contrary to the Section 21 request.
Re-letting other rooms is not a defense to S21 proceedings. S21 can only be defended on procedural grounds.
A S8 notice, on the other hand, might be affected.


Leave Comments

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

Forgotten your password?

BECOME A MEMBER