Section 8 or Tenant from Hell?

by Readers Question

13:49 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Section 8 or Tenant from Hell?

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Section 8 or Tenant from Hell?

I inherited a tenant who has been in situ since 2011. An annual Agreement is signed each year for a following 12 months.section 8

A recent inspection has found numerous breaches of the Agreement, some of which had been advised as remedied by the Tenant. Quite frankly the damage she has caused through pure negligence and laziness has to be seen to be believed. Tradesman visiting to quote say they have never seen anything like it.

The flat is a very small studio flat. It is designated as sole occupancy in the Lease.

A brief summary is – additional person staying permanently even though sole occupancy, large dog living there, no maintenance whatsoever, no opening of windows for ventilation, damage to walls, ceilings, fixtures and fittings, boiler system (new in 2011) damaged,, bathroom flooring wood and tiling needs replacing due to non replacement of shower door after breaking it, shower cubicle needs complete replacement due to grime which cannot be removed, and more including the flat is overcrowded with furniture contributing to mould which has damaged walls and two windows along with the non ventilation. The Property Manager who inspected advised she had to climb over furniture to get into the kitchen, she also said it was so cramped and felt that the living conditions with two adults and a dog residing there, plus smoking were the prime cause for all the mould damage.

At least 30 days vacant possession is needed to remedy the problems and will cost about £5000 minimum dependent on what else is found. As rental income is only just over £300 pm this is a disaster.

The tenant has her rent paid by the Council but it transpires the original Landlord did not have a formal contract or bond with the council, just an agreement to pay rent. Speaking with the council and showing photos of damage has led to them suggesting she has intentionally made herself homeless if evicted.

My options are Issue Section 21, with a view to eviction in December when Agreement finishes.

Issue a Section 8 because of all the breaches and go for eviction in 2 months.

Regardless of which I need the property empty for the repairs – what comeback could there be on myself if I waited for December ?

What implications are there if she vacates voluntarily for the work to be done, but I don’t allow her back in – what protection can I get legally if any.

My concern is if I don’t evict her and she moves out for 30 days, she will still have a period of time between then and December to cause problems again

What should I do ?

Andy



Comments

Gary Dully

14:15 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

If you refuse access after repairs, you will have evicted unlawfully, so don't do it!

Issue a section 8 and expect the same images in her defence.
You will have to tough it out, if she defends.

Chances are that she wont, but its the only legal way.

Andy Blue

14:24 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "29/03/2016 - 14:15":

cheers - I have numerous photos, electricians reports and an established Property Managers report on the conditions in the flat and attributable causes to the problems documented.

The normal tenancy is scheduled to end 16/12/16 - what date should I set the Section 8 paperwork to for the date of submission to court.

Thank you

Gary Dully

19:51 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Andy Blue" at "29/03/2016 - 14:24":

You should clarify my interpretation with a legal Boffin, because I am not qualified to offer legal advice.

If it was me, I would issue the section 8 notice on the following grounds.
12, 13 and 15, which all require 2 weeks notice after serving of the document, before you can issue court proceedings, unless she surrenders first.
You have the unauthorized tenant, dog, deterioration due to neglect.

Remember that the court can withhold possession on these grounds as they are not mandatory, but are discretionary.

You might have gone for grounds 6, but she would then get 2 months notice.

To see what each ground actually says, google it and download a copy for future reference.

Hazel de Kloe

20:11 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I would agree with Gary on this one. The sooner you can start the eviction process, the better, by the sound of it. If you wait until the 12 months are up, you will still have to potentially go to court and if your property deteriorates even further, then you'll have even more damages to pay for.

Doesn't sound like you'll have much joy getting any repairs paid for by the tenant. Do you know if there was ever an inventory done at the beginning of the tenancy? Most likely not, I guess, if there was no formal contract even at the start.

Did you ever see the property before you acquired the property?

Andy Blue

20:56 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Yes it is a difficult call

Section 8 runs more risks than a Section 21 it would seem - but Im thinking about Section 21 with the accelerated option with an N5B form, ok it will cost more but more likely to be quicker.

This way I can give her a couple of months on a Section 21, then apply to the Courts mid June - which suits me as I still have to raise the funds for the repair work and court costs - this income was my pension.

None of the repairs can be done until she is out of there anyway as mentioned because of the clutter she has there, you just cannot move to even open up a plug socket apparently

My daughter owned the property from 2008 until end of 2013 when I bought it off her. She needed to vacate 2011 as heavily pregnant - tried selling but a lot of people were put off by the management company who are apparently known around the industry, so I took it to help her out eventually when she needed the money.

We have asked the Estate Agent for original photos they took back then as the property was immaculate at that time

Andy Blue

20:58 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I forgot to mention yes there was a formal inventory and my daughter included it on her first Lease Agreement with the woman

Hazel de Kloe

22:10 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Gosh, that's a tough one... I respect you for having taken this problem off your daughter's hands...it's a real shame you now have to deal with it!

In your first post, you mention that the tenancy runs til December, though in your last one, it sounds like the tenancy is up in June? If this is the case, then perhaps it may be worth waiting to issue the Section 21 as we're only looking at a few months. Can you find out whether there was ever a guarantor put in place at the time of initial tenancy? If we take on a benefit tenant, we always look to put a guarantor in place. I know it's a long shot, but worth asking the question. If so, then the costs incurred and proof of original state from the original inventory could mean you may be able to recover some of your costs.

It's about limitation of risk from now on. If the council are still paying and you are going to incur costs to get her out, then best to resolve as swiftly (and amicably) as possible so as to limit any further damage. It's a hard lesson to have experienced in this circumstance.

With regards the damage, when did the agents first advise of the problems? Surely, if they'd notified you sooner, you would not have renewed the tenancy and therefore been able to get her out sooner. Just thinking whether there is any liability/recourse on the part of the letting agent for not having informed you sooner...though doubt it.

Andy Blue

22:18 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

The original first Tenancy was June to 16 December 2011.

Since then it has been annually to the 16th December.

I changed to a Property Manager in February this year, and this came to light as having happened at some point in the 6 month period - either that or the original agent was not doing a good job - they are now out of business.

Is there any market in issuing the section 21, but suggesting verbally only that she might like to react by giving me a months notice in exchange for no pursuing for her damages ?

I asked the Council anonymously as they pay the 4 weekly rent payments direct to me. But it seems that no deposit bond was created because my daughter in her desperation at the time didnt even think of it - she needed to pay the mortgage on her new home and needed someone in there quick. The tenant had previously been in the flat below.

If I go the Section 8 route they said it likely she would be deemed Intentionally Homeless - so that would not fall favour for me with a Judge I dont think.

This is why Im considering issuing the S21, with a date of 17 June being 6 months + 1 day, and then using the reports from the Property Manager and the Quotations for repairs as my witness statement basis, to which I can add if there is a benefit the list of issues.

My other concern is having issued a S21 to her, she retaliates by reporting the problems to Environmental Health not withstanding that no repairs can be actioned whilst she and her debris are in situ.

Andy Blue

23:03 PM, 29th March 2016
About 3 years ago

What about a Surrender of Tenancy Agreement if I could persuade her to do that in exchange for writing off the debt.

I could get one of these but still issue a Section 21 at the same time

Gary Dully

0:29 AM, 30th March 2016
About 3 years ago

There is no court hearing for a section 21 route, it's generally a postal service scheme, unless a defense is offered.

If you evict via section 8, there is always a court hearing if they don't leave at the end of its expiry.

The council can't deem her intentionally homeless if she has a repossession order against her.

Councils have just been warned not to tell tenants to wait for the bailiffs by the Housing Minister.

You asked for our advice, we can only tell you what we would do.

Your property is being wrecked, you said you can prove it, so now it's time to prove it in front of a judge, they are not fools and won't accept a tenant trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

If she wants to surrender, fine, but be careful how it's offered.

My wayward tenants have never shown up at a hearing, they usually abandon the property as soon as the court hearing date is issued.
You should still go and say they have abandoned and trashed the place.

The ones that do show up at the hearing, have their say in court, but the judges are not stupid, just a bit impatient if your case file isn't up to scratch. They tend to have a balanced view, believe it or not!

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