Seriously ill Tenant’s Status

by Readers Question

8:40 AM, 31st January 2017
About 2 years ago

Seriously ill Tenant’s Status

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Seriously ill Tenant’s Status

Ok, some background on the Tenant (single lady), been in the property 8 years, claims housing benefit which is paid direct to herself, never missed a payment (in fact notify’s me every month when the payment has been made), basically the perfect tenant.

So on the 28th Dec she informs me that she was admitted to hospital on the 26th Dec with a brain tumor and that will be in hospital until the end of the following week.

On the 29th Dec she pays the rent for December and tells me she should be home the following Wednesday 4th Jan.

On the 9th Jan I contact her believing that she is home and she tells me that she is still in hospital. Seriously ill Tenant's Status

Anyway that was the last contact I had with her, despite numerous calls and messages from myself and a friend and a friend even going to the property.

So the rent was due by the 29th Jan and has not been paid.

Unfortunately I have no next of kin details so how do I go about finding out her current status?

If I can’t find out her current status, how long do I wait before I re-let the property ?

To be fair, I’m beginning to feel a bit stupid that I haven’t got her next of kin details, although I have never heard of this scenario before, plus Agents do not put on a contract that next of kin details are required.

Any useful info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Alfie



Comments

Mark Alexander

8:50 AM, 31st January 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Alfie

There are two really important issues here.

The first is that you must find out what has happened to your tenant. How you go about that really depends on how much you value your time. Hopefully there will be several suggestions but an obvious starting point would be to contact The Police and local hospitals to see what you can find out. Putting a note though her door, knocking the doors of neighbours properties and perhaps even putting a note on her door would be a good start.

I hate to ask but is her tenancy now periodic or is she still within a fixed tenancy term? You may have to consider serving notice, as heartless as that might seem. After all, you're not a charity. Personally, I'd give it until 1st March and then serve section 8 on the basis of two missed rental payments, especially if I couldn't get in touch. Dead or alive, chances are that somebody will be keeping an eye on her mail. Serving notice is a good way to show that you are serious and that contact is very important. There is nothing to prevent you from including a compassionate letting with the notice of course.

Personally, I wouldn't fancy calling Police, hospitals and effectively playing private detective. I have better things to do with my time and value it highly. On that basis I would prefer to engage a tracing agency on a "no-trace-no-fee" basis to find both my tenant and her relatives. It's a lot cheaper than you might imagine. With a very quick Google search I found a service offering "no-trace-no-fee" for just £30 - see http://www.findukpeople.com/
.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:52 AM, 31st January 2017
About 2 years ago

I think it would also be legitimate to telephone the council, pointing out the issue and to ask that they make a special case for direct payments - if she is then, for example, ill for a few months, you will still receive the Housing Benefit and not have to do anything too hasty.

Deborah Clare

10:03 AM, 31st January 2017
About 2 years ago

I'd start by phoning the hospital to find out what has happened to this lady. If you have her full name, address and D.O.B. give this to the admissions department (or ward she was last on) and they will be able to put you in touch with her if she is still at the hospital, or at least tell you when she was discharged, if she is no longer there. Whether or not they are supposed to give out this information, from my experience, they probably will. If you catch the ward at a quiet time, they may even be able to put you on the phone to the lady herself.

When you have established the likelihood of your tenant returning, you can then make the decision of what course of action to take next. Depending on the tenant's age, she may have been assigned a social worker if she is deemed to be vulnerable. The Social Worker would be a good point of contact for you as they would have all details of any next of kin, etc.

Helen (up North)

10:06 AM, 31st January 2017
About 2 years ago

Worse case scenario, have you considered looking in the obituaries online at https://www.iannounce.co.uk/ ?

Puzzler

22:25 PM, 31st January 2017
About 2 years ago

Bear in mind, they may not tell you. You'll come up against Data Protection and patient confidentiality. Best bet is contact the hospital as a friend - better still if nearby call to visit.

Fred Bloggs

3:50 AM, 1st February 2017
About 2 years ago

Thanks for the responses so far, yes Mark she is within a fixed tenancy, have tried the neighbor's and left a note.
Unfortunately we do not know what Hospital she was/is in.
At the moment i am trying to contact via her friends on social media.

Mark Alexander

7:39 AM, 1st February 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Fred Bloggs" at "01/02/2017 - 03:50":

In that case, if you haven't made progress and rent falls two months into arrears, I suggest serving a section 8 eviction notice on 1st March as described above. See our Legal section for help.
.

Rob Crawford

15:35 PM, 4th February 2017
About 2 years ago

A nightmare scenario, if she has been taken into care her benefits may well have been slashed so that the care can be funded. It may be difficult now for her to find the rent. I would serve notice now and include a letter that says you had no other choice and that she or her next of kin should contact you asap so that you can discuss the way forward. A tracing agent is probably the best way of finding her. You will probably get results within 24 Hours. Also check out the arbitrary column in local paper. Hospitals / care homes are unlikely to give you any info.

Mark Alexander

15:37 PM, 4th February 2017
About 2 years ago

It has been a week now Alfie, any news yet?
.

Nick Pope

11:32 AM, 5th February 2017
About 2 years ago

I've checked on the Housing Benefit situation and it appears that it is payable for up to 52 weeks even if the person is in hospital or care unless it is decided that there will be no possibility of them returning home. The situation is more complex it there are others living at the property. Try this link
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/benefits-affected-by-hospital-admission

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