11:08 AM, 24th January 2015, About 7 years ago 21
After reading the article “why are my tenants trying to destroying me”, I want to share with other landlords my recent eviction experiences, so that other landlords can be warned when this type of problem comes up.
After I put in a brand new kitchen and bathroom in my rental property I put my house on the market for let a family with 3 children came along. When they were viewing the house, the woman confessed to me straight way before I did credit reference check on them, she had a bad credit history a few years ago. The man said once you have a bad credit history it is difficult to come out. They seemed to regret what they did.
After the credit reference check I found out the woman had already had two CCJ against her back to 2010. I made a mistake at this stage, I was in a hurry to have tenants in and I believed they were changed people. I agreed to let to them, we signed a 6 month contract started 25th April 2014.
First: they tried it on, they moved in a few days before beginning of month, but they wanted to pay the rent on the 1st of the month, that was when the man got his pay.
Second, 6 weeks later they moved in, I reminded them about maintaining the garden, I got a reply back saying: I spoiled their quiet enjoyment.
The real nightmare began after this.
At the end of June the woman knocked on my door and claimed she could smell gas, and she had called National Grid to cut off the gas supply. I called a Gas Safe registered engineer to come out the same day and fix. The leak was underneath the hob, behind built in oven, the compression nut was loss. The engineer tightened the compression net but the woman claimed the strongest smell was upstairs her baby’s bed room. While I was monitoring the repair work, the woman was shouting, screaming; no respect for me as her landlady.
The very next day, the woman called and said there was another gas leak, so National Grid turned up and cut off the gas supply again but the first gas engineer was refused entry to check, so I had to call a second gas engineer. The second gas engineer found a leak underneath the hob, behind the built in oven. By rectifying the problem, the second gas engineer tightened the compression nut again.
When I read the two reports, I knew something was dodgy here. How can the nut loosen by itself?
I didn’t think they dared to call a third time about a gas leak.
After 9 days, they called National Grid to cut of gas supply again because she could smell gas in her baby’s bed room. I said I would call back the second gas engineer to attend next day. The next day the woman went to the council and complained the house was leaking gas, unsafe for them to live in, wanted re-housing, but refused the second gas engineer entry to check if there was any leak.
I asked the council when was this was going to end, first gas engineer was refused entry; second gas engineer was refused entry. So we called the Gas Safe inspection team.
Before the Gas Safe inspection reports were produced the woman sent a letter (blackmail letter to me) demanding all the rent and deposit back and they would go at the end of July.
The Gas Safe reports said no gas leak, no fault with your appliance, and the council said they were bound by their professional judgement, there is no reason gas supply cannot be re –connected.
We just went around in a circle every time when she emailed me; she continually ranted “we live with no safe working gas supply”. I asked, who would you like me to call to re-connect the gas supply …. her reply “No, the gas supply cannot be switched back on”. At that time I still had three months to run the tenancy.
I started looking into how to end or evict tenants legally. By reading various articles on the internet, they all seemed to suggest you had best wait you can use section 21 which gives you right to recover the property at end of tenancy. Section 8 could give tenants chance to put defence in.
On 1st August they stopped paying the rent, I felt there was nothing I could do apart from instructing a solicitor to serve them with a section 21 notice. I had read that if a letter comes from thirty party it looks more serious.
On 1st September there was again no rent payment made. At this time I could serve them section 8 notice, however, I didn’t, section 21 is cheaper and has no defence option.
By the middle of September I started to look into what kind of documents would be required if I need to apply for a court order. I then discovered my previous section 21 was invalid, because I didn’t attached terms and conditions of deposit when I gave to my ex-tenants. I thought I gave them most of the information, and everything is online.
After contacting a leading eviction expert, the advice was I had to refund the deposit and re-serve the section 21 notice. Then it was another 2 months’ notice period. I was stressed out at this stage. I didn’t know what to do, what was my best option to go forward. I briefly explained my situation to the expert, my best option was still section 21. I was powerless to do anything but to wait until my section 21 notice expire.
This disgracefully family enjoyed staying at my house rent free for an even longer period. At this time I was fed up waiting and waiting, nothing really happening. I decided to serve them Section 8 notice, even though deep down I was thinking I wasn’t going to use it, just to put pressure on them.
I was struggling to decide which notice to use to start court proceedings (it is my first eviction). The advice I got was to still proceed with Section 21 and less things could go wrong. I thought to myself, I have done nothing wrong in this so called gas leak incident, why should I be afraid of going to court? If the judge can’t see who is lying then he or she shouldn’t be a judge.
I served section 8 (2 weeks’ notice period), I filed the possession claim online, next day; I got court hearing date set. The tenants moved out before court hearing date, because it was cold and no gas, no heating.
I hired an advocate to attend the hearing, submitted copious amounts of evidence on the basis of likely counter-claim at the hearing, if the defendant mentioned gas leak was the reason for not paying the rent. The judge disregarded their claim and made order in my favour. He must have read all my evidence, there was never a despair issue in this case, it was all about my tenants plotted gas leak, in order to get out of contract and not pay the rent and get council house.
I share my eviction story with everyone in the hope it may help. If you experience tenants who claim gas leaks, be vigilant. If you know you have done nothing wrong and you can prove your case to a judge, then don’t be afraid to use Section 8 to evict them.
All the best
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