Should she stay or go?

by Readers Question

9:58 AM, 9th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Should she stay or go?

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Should she stay or go?

My tenant has been in touch to advise that her partner has moved out and that she can still afford the rent if she makes a part-payment when she receives her wages and another mid-month when she receives Universal Credit.

She was late with rent twice recently but always made a part-payment on time then paid the remainder when she promised to a couple of weeks later, so I suspect he left a while ago and she’s been struggling with the adjustment in household income and wants to propose and formalise what she thinks she can manage. She isn’t asking to reduce the rent, just to pay it differently, across two payments a month instead of one.

On the one hand I can see as a now single parent she could be a great long-term tenant and that it could be to both of our benefits if I agree. On the other hand, alarm bells are ringing.

I haven’t let to benefits claimants before as I always let to Professionals who must pass a reference check which includes affordability (although she is working) and letting to claimants has never been part of my business model. I realise however that UC can be claimed for several things and as already said, she is still working.

Pros: potentially good long-term tenant (apart from the previously mentioned two blips which she made good promptly), saves evicting someone who has previously been a good tenant.

Cons: if she’s struggling, might she default anyway, if I stall impact re. changes to Section 21 to consider etc. if she then defaults, potential for income fluctuation/instability esp. Brexit uncertainty looming re. jobs (but that’s true of any tenant right now).

Anyone help me see the wood from the trees? I don’t want to kick someone when they’re down, especially when seem to be trying hard to see a way through, but equally I’m cautious/cynical!

LCH



Comments

LCH

15:28 PM, 10th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike T at 10/08/2019 - 12:08
Yes having considered all the replies so far my feeling is to informally agree to her proposal and maintain the paperwork as is.

Michael Barnes

3:28 AM, 11th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Trenfield at 10/08/2019 - 08:36
Do not do 2 as that delays when you can use S8G8.
I normally agree with tenant that no penalties will be applied if paid by Xth of the month but if not paid by Xth of the month then interest accrues from the due date.
Changing due date can cause problems with calculating how much is owing and repaying if S21 repossession occurs.

Do not do 3 (unless there are other good reasons) because
- that gives 6 months security of tenure (because the tenant is different);
- you have to sort out deposit return and reprotection (tenant is different);
- You have to sort out payments for damages against old inventory and issue a new one;
- you lose ability to claim rent from partner.

Is 'partner' spouse/civil partner?
advice may differ based on answer.

LCH

12:49 PM, 11th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 11/08/2019 - 03:28
Partner is spouse.

Michael Barnes

16:31 PM, 11th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by LCH at 11/08/2019 - 12:49
then there should be no benefits issue with keeping current tenancy.

LCH

21:13 PM, 11th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 11/08/2019 - 16:31
Thanks, as I thought 👍.

Martin

19:25 PM, 28th August 2019
About 4 months ago

I've had this same situation go both ways.
A previously good tenant had a significant change in personal circumstances, ultimately defaulting and leaving me with a bit of a bill to pick up.
Equally a similar thing happening and the tenant remaining good and reliable until they ultimately left some years later.
It is true that I would have taken neither of them on initially if they were in the situation they ultimately found themselves in.
Personally though I would always give an established tenant a chance. I'm sure I'll get caught out again at some point in the future, but equally I might just be the one thing that helps that person get back on their feet.
I make less money than I could if I was more ruthless with my business, but i have a good life and i sleep soundly!

LCH

11:14 AM, 30th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin at 28/08/2019 - 19:25Thanks. Sounds a good philosophy ☺

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