Rent shortfall – I am prepared to work with him in an amicable way?

Rent shortfall – I am prepared to work with him in an amicable way?

15:37 PM, 29th July 2021, About 2 months ago 6

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Hi, I have a tenant who for some months now has been underpaying the rent since he had a work accident and was therefore rendered unable to work and in receipt of universal credit/disability allowance.

He’s renting a 3-bedroom house, however, housing benefit are currently only paying him a rent allowance equivalent to a single bedroom, not the full rent.

I agreed to this arrangement as a goodwill temporary measure since he’s overall been a good long-term tenant who has fallen on hard times and due to the uncertainty from the pandemic, however, I feel this has gone on too long and the time for him to pay the full previous rent is long overdue, or alternatively he should look elsewhere for accommodation. I’m also not convinced he’s genuinely claiming disability benefit, and suspect he’s actually working but not passing on the full rent.

I’d prefer to approach the subject delicately to avoid an adverse reaction on his part, hence I was wondering what might be the best approach and what are some pitfalls to be aware of given his circumstances and the temporary ban on evictions. I would be prepared to work with him in an amicable way to support him being re-housed if required.

For example, would a section 21 notice be the best route? And if so, what documentation would I need to have in order to avoid any roadblocks along the way. I understand there is currently a 4-month notice period on S21 which is potentially going to be reduced to 2 months by October.

Many thanks

Leah



Comments

by David Judd

10:29 AM, 30th July 2021, About 2 months ago

You don't mention why he has a 3 bedroom house, so Im assuming he has a family? If not suggest he rents some of the rooms out to make up for the loss in rent. What does his contract say, is there a break clause? Any section notice will take months and given the backlog, probably longer. See what his contract says, offer solutions, but also say that if he wants to move out because he can't afford the rent, you would release him early (if no breakclause)

by dcawkwell

10:32 AM, 30th July 2021, About 2 months ago

Don't mess about your not a charity. Give him notice to leave and get a tenant in who pays full rent.

by Smartermind

11:04 AM, 30th July 2021, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by David Judd at 30/07/2021 - 10:29
"housing benefit are currently only paying him a rent allowance equivalent to a single bedroom"

You've made the wrong assumption. If he had a family he would get a greater allowance than a single bedroom. Assume he is single.

If he sublet some rooms, then that would be regarded as income by UC and it would be reduced accordingly. Leah would also then be lumbered with HMO and additional tenant liabilities.

As dcawkwell suggests she needs to cut her losses, give notice and get a new tenant herself.

by Janet Carnochan

13:11 PM, 30th July 2021, About 2 months ago

I would try to have a conversation with him. Explain that he is coming to the end of the TEMPORARY agreement. Set a date ie in a month's time. It is then up to him to decide if he is prepared to somehow find the extra or look for something else. he may decide to look for something else which would ease the process and would definately cost less in the long run. Stand firm on your decision.

by Leah Pemberton

16:55 PM, 30th July 2021, About 2 months ago

Thanks for the feedback however I was looking for more practical advise on issuing S21 (assuming this is the most appropriate course of action?). For example what documentation do I need to have in order prior to issuing a S21 for it to be valid and not thrown out of court?

For example, gas safety certificate, proof of deposit protection, anything else?

Any other pitfalls I should be aware of that the tenant could throw a spanner in the works with ?

by Jo Westlake

10:49 AM, 31st July 2021, About 2 months ago

Your description of the situation sounds strange.

Is he a good long term tenant or someone who intimidates you?
Why did you agree to reduced rent? If it was an unforeseen accident or illness wouldn't he have been able to claim a discretionary payment from the Local Authority? Have you formally reduced the rent (in writing) or is it undocumented? How long has it been going on for?
Is Section 8 more appropriate than Section 21?

If you need to ask questions about what paperwork you should have served you probably need to speak to an eviction specialist.
Do you really want to evict him or do you just want him to pay full rent?


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