Sectioned tenant ripped out pipes and now wants to come back?

by Readers Question

10:08 AM, 24th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Sectioned tenant ripped out pipes and now wants to come back?

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Sectioned tenant ripped out pipes and now wants to come back?

I have what I think is a strange circumstance. My tenant has ripped all the pipes out of the water supply during a psychological fit, he has been sectioned, but will want to move back within a couple of weeks.pipes

This is the second time he has done this, the first time I repaired the property and allowed him to re-enter after he had received psychological treatment.

I do not plan to repair the work myself this time, I will allow him entry, but he will not be able to live there because there is no water.

He is on housing benefit and I doubt he will be able to pay for the repairs himself.

I am going through the process of repossessing the property but this will take months.

Will the Council force me to make the property habitable again? Will they stop paying his rent if the property remains uninhabitable although it was the tenant that did the damage?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Stephen



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:12 AM, 24th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Stephen,
I would be personally reluctant to give you any advice on this one as I have no idea what the implications of a tenant being sectioned are and then you have the council involved who could makes things even more complicated.

I would recommend you seek professional assistance. Please see our tenant eviction page under our Legal Advice tab >> https://www.property118.com/tenant-eviction-2/

David Price

12:10 PM, 24th November 2016
About 2 years ago

First serve a section 21, then report the criminal damage to the police and get a crime report number (you may only be given an incident number) and try to get the police to take action (https://www.property118.com/judge-to-look-into-why-tenants-are-not-prosecuted-for-criminal-damage/91363/). Then serve a section 8.
Meanwhile try to engage the local environmental health officer, at the least this will ensure that you know where you stand.

david porter

12:13 PM, 24th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Now
If you are considering letting him back then perhaps you need a psyciatrist?

Paul Shears

22:22 PM, 24th November 2016
About 2 years ago

You can pass all the laws, send people on training courses, talk to them, present them with processes to follow, but you will never be able to cure "dumb & irresponsible".
My certainly illegal view here is to show some leadership and get others to do as much work as possible.
I am referring to the agents of the state, starting with the council.
Don't assume that a person will not move back in because there is no water supply.
There is no water supply on the streets and your rental property will be warmer.
By all means issue the relevant paperwork but there is no way I would let this person back in.
This is just plain stupid.
Just take a step back and assume that you are standing before a judge.
It's a risk but you may get a judge who thinks that a tenant who wrecks a property has no place being there.
Alternatively you may end up paying some sort of fine or get dragged into some other battle.
But in the mean time you major financial investment in property, although not fee earning, will not be subject to further damage.
Change the locks!
Come on man, where does this stop.
Supposing this tenant pops back and sets the place on fire?
Are the agents of the state going to cough up?
I do not believe that anyone who is this mentally disturbed is going to get their head sorted in any short time frame.
Fight back.
You have suffered a grave misfortune.

David Price

23:56 PM, 24th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Shears" at "24/11/2016 - 22:22":

Don't care in the community! I agree with everything you have said but when faced with a do gooder who threatens prosecution because the little darling has rights, "it does not matter what he has done you need a court order to evict". I had a tenant who set fire to the flat, deep fat fryer (banned in the tenancy agreement) and fell asleep in a drunken state. Shelter were issuing all kinds of threats because I would not let him back in as he was a danger to all the other residents. It came to nothing but it took a great deal of resolve not to capitulate to Shelter's threats.

Stephen Barham

9:38 AM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Thank you to everyone for your comments.

I have done most of what you've suggested, I've served a Section 21 and I've contacted the local authority and the Tenant's carer to try and find their view on things.

I will be asking for them to take responsibility for him and the other tenant's if they insist he is allowed back in but that will never be given.

The law, I'm sure, will require that I let him back in. I was just hopeful that someone knew a loophole that protected me rather than the tenant. Foolish I know! 😉

Gary Dully

10:59 AM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

You should evict the tenant.
Sounds like a drug smoker again.

If he has the right to stay, so be it, but if you leave the water supply disconnected, your section 21 may fail if disrepair is used as a defence as a retaliatory eviction.
You could say he tried to stab the workmen with a Stanley knife and was screaming all the time at the gas meter, because it was telling him to kill the tadpoles in the water pipes and set fire to the wallpaper.

Section 8 eviction on grounds for criminal damage, antisocial behaviour, misrepresentation on obtaining the tenancy in the first place as well as the section 21 route may require considering.

Russell Thomas

15:30 PM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

What would your insurance company say? If you are knowingly letting this person back with after the previous history.

If you don't do the works you could be prosecuted. I had a regulated tenant who suffered from dementia who kept forgetting her key so broke the window and I kept getting the notice to repair. I put a wooden panel in so she smashed the door. Repaired the door so she smashed the side window. etc each time her carer told environmental heath who issued a notice. They did not care about my problems they said I was the landlord so repair it.

Don't you just love it. I wish you well

Dylan Morris

19:48 PM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

You have a tenant who has ripped out all of the water pipes TWICE. I would have thought as this is malicious damage caused intentionally by the tenant then the tenant has to pay for any repairs. I would obtain a repair quote issued by a plumber and present this to the tenant on the basis that when he has paid you then you can get the repairs carried out. In the meantime issue a section 21 or section 8.
The law can be an ass and we live in a topsy turvy world now, but surely as a landlord you are not expected to pay out continually for malicious damage caused intentionally by the tenant time after time.

Tim Wragby

5:45 AM, 26th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Unenviable situation and certainly a tricky one. I am not a legal advisor but my understanding of your situation is as follows:

From the threads it sounds like you have your tenant as part of an HMO?
Are they on an AST or a license?

If they are on an AST is it fixed term or periodic?
If it is fixed term and not due to end soon you will need to look at a Section 8 notice as the tenant would still have right to the property for the duration. Although there are 18 grounds for seeking repossession here there is only one potential ground for a mandatory granting by a judge - Section 6 - refurbishment. You would have to be able to prove that the damage done effectively makes the property uninhabitable and you need to have the property empty to carry out the work. Section 7A is for when the tenant has been convicted of a serious offence and I don;t think the level of criminal damage done would pass muster in court and you'd be wasting your time.
The other grounds in the Sect 8 schedule are discretionary and therefore your barrister would have to persuade the judge that this was equitable in law for you to have your property back.
The discretionary grounds would be:
#12 Breach of Tenancy Agreement - providing you have a decent & legal AST with a clause that specifically cover "waste" the weird legal term for damage
#13 Neglect of Property - which is one definitely to use
#14 Anti-social Behaviour - which if in a HMO is probably reasonable.

Your problem is that the cost of going to court could be wasted unless the judge viewed your plea in a favourable light as the discretionary grounds are easily swayed by the tenant's advocate's sob story!

With regard to repair of water it is a mandatory legal duty under Sect 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 to provide so it needs to be done whether this individual goes in or a new tenant does. You will not be able to earn money from the property/room until it is re-instated so it is a cost. Look at your insurance policy and also if it has a legal protection element because if it does you may be able to claim and take advantage of their legal beagles, You would have had to carry out proper reference checks at the start of the tenancy for this I expect.

A practical solution is to try and get the support care system (and any co-operative relatives/friends) on side and work with them rather than antagonize them. In my day job we had a not too dissimilar case and worked with the social services to get them to support the tenant requiring sheltered/ monitored accommodation and getting them to surrender the tenancy on move out - took a few weeks but was cheaper than going to court which would likely as not failed anyway.
Good Luck

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