One tenant, TWO tenancies, No rent?

One tenant, TWO tenancies, No rent?

10:08 AM, 21st August 2020, About 2 years ago 12

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To make a long story short… Tenant of about seven years standing finally became intolerably unreliable towards the end of last year – the rent was not paid on time and in full even once in eighteen months.

We’d been as helpful as possible with offers to arrange staged payments, refunding her deposit, referring her to places where help was available (local authority grants) etc, so finally, reluctantly a section 21 notice was issued.
It matured – she didn’t move.
We got a possession order – she didn’t move.
We applied for enforcement – paid the fee and a bailiff was due to evict her on 25 March. On that day the bailiff phoned, said he wasn’t going there because of COVID-19 and that was that!

Since then, fortunately, have had some direct payment from Housing Benefit and then Universal Credit, but the payment stopped on 8 July – no payment (no notification, no contact, nothing).

We then learn that on 13 June she was given a social housing place, but she hasn’t finished emptying my property, nor returned the keys nor surrendered the tenancy.

I have taken legal advice and have been told that the tenancy therefore still exists and that I am not yet able to take possession of my own property. According to reports from neighbours, the tenant returns from time to time to collect more possessions, although it seems that the main items of furniture such as beds, white goods, sofa, chairs etc. have been removed.

The tenant is obviously living comfortably somewhere else, and getting her benefits to pay for it while using my property as a convenient storage facility. UC will not pay me any more in respect of rent, although the tenancy still exists.

As far as I know, the Bailiff is still “Working From Home” (there’s a joke) and this tenant now has TWO tenancies in her name, and, as far as I can see until this case comes to the top of a very long list of outstanding bailiff warrants I can’t have my house back, but she hasn’t even lived there since June!

There must be sense and justice in this somewhere, but I am dammed if I can see it?

Paul



Comments

Gunga Din

21:19 PM, 21st August 2020, About 2 years ago

"What she won't be liable for is council tax as the council will bill the landlord as soon as she moves elsewhere. The council won't care whether the landlord has physical possession of the property or not."

True, unless its a CONTRACTUAL periodic tenancy, not statutory.

If she hasn't terminated the tenancy correctly, or handed the keys back and you've accepted termination, the tenancy still exists. there was an illuminating thread a couple of weeks ago...

https://www.property118.com/very-weird-legal-letter-about-council-tax-arrears/#comment-126599

... armed with which I have resurrected my dispute with my LA about a C Tax liability dispute re a tenant who left without serving proper notice. They have asked for a copy of the AST so there is hope.

"I was of the impression that 14 days was considered an adequate period." Yes but that starts from the termination. That hasn't happened yet.

Landlord Phil

13:37 PM, 23rd August 2020, About 2 years ago

Follow the abandonment route. Evidence of council tax & utilities change is useful but if there are no beds, it's obvious to a court that nobody is living there. Remember the basics of how occupation of a property is legally defined, where do you sleep most often? Bodies such as the council will tax a person based on this answer. I believe your right to excercise the rule of abandonment is reasonably set by the removal of sleeping facilities. You don't rent property for storage, it's not a warehouse, so sleeping is the key element that defines if a tenant is in residence or not. It's also likely that the TV has been removed, another piece of evidence that you can use to support your case. If you are confident that there is abandonment in place, you already have the right of entry & posession. I'd risk it, but if your not that confident, post the notice of abandonment as suggested earlier.

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