Student Let Gone Wrong – Advice Required

by Readers Question

9:21 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

Student Let Gone Wrong – Advice Required

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Student Let Gone Wrong – Advice Required

I have a foreign student and his partner who started living in my property in September. He is a student at the local university and is repeating his first year, for which he attended a different university in a different part of the country.

I made all the necessary checks before admitting him as a tenant and everything was going fine until last week. He said that his previous university had not transferred the fees to his present university and the present university in unwilling to take him on, and his visa is going to be cancelled. He said they have agreed to take him on as a student from September 2014. As a result of this, he is now saying that he will be going back to his country (Saudi Arabia) but will be returning to the UK in summer next year. He also said he will leave some of his belonging in the property and that he has a cousin in the UK who will make sure I get the usual rent in full every month, until he returns in the summer next year. Student Let Gone Wrong - Advice Required

I have never come across this situation and was wondering if any of you have? What things would I need to clarify with him before he and his partner leave the country?

Finally, I do have a short term 12 month tenancy agreement with him. Do you think it is just best to terminate the agreement and let the property out to someone else?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Manjinder



Comments

Mark Alexander

9:38 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

I have no experience of this but I can foresee several problems.

If the property is unnoccupied for the period of time your insurance will become invalid and risk of damage, burglary, flooding etc. will all intensify. Also, if your tenant fails to pay the rent then you will have further problems in terms of rent arrears and eviction. Clearly you need to negotiate a surrender the tenancy.

Another issue which has occurred to me is that you may be breaking the new immigration laws by renting to him.

I appreciate that he is in breach of contract and you might like to consider how you are going to deal with that. Charging him the full 12 months rent clearly wouldn't be fair but I do think it would be reasonable for him to pay something on the basis that you may now suffer a void period, re-letting costs and inconvenience. I would urge caution though, if he just goes home without doing anything you may have to suffer the expense of eviction, rent arrears, void periods and storing his belongings for a reasonable time period with little or no opportunity to get your money back.

A lesson for the future would be to charge rent in advance but take professional advice on this before you do it as the contract needs to be worded properly.

I wish you well with this, you are going to have to tread very carefully and try to negotiate an amicable settlement based on him surrendering his tenancy. At least based on this comment you have some very good reasons to put to him explain why you are unable to accommodate his request.

Good luck.
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Industry Observer

10:04 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

Where is the income coming from to pay the rent?

You can't just terminate except for breach though you'll have plenty of choices there!!

Mark the new Immigration Laws aren't law yet just proposals which seem to be getting rapidly watered down

Patricia Malicka

10:15 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

I would be wondering why he has proposed to keep the room and continue paying rent but he can't pay his uni fees.
Also if he is repeating a year, unless he had valid reason to drop out last year, 1. his previous uni won't give him a refund, 2. he may not necessarily get visa even if fees are paid; immigration is more strict nowadays and they very rarely give a second chance.

Mark Alexander

10:21 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "18/11/2013 - 10:04":

"Mark the new Immigration Laws aren’t law yet just proposals which seem to be getting rapidly watered down"

I agree, hence my use of the word "may". Can't be too careful 😉
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Michael Dong

10:22 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

I agree with Mark , its problematic .
What stuff are they leaving behind ? I suppose they wont leave very valuable items in which case they might not even keen to come back for them

I would, if they still want the property, require 12 month rent in advance giving him your reasons to do so

if that did happen, you would then need to keep an eye on the property yourself while its vacant ..

good luck

Mark Alexander

10:23 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

Further thought.

Why would an overseas student qualify for funding anyway?

I'm beginning to smell a rate here!
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Mary Latham

10:25 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

If he has no legal right to be in the country he has no legal right to the tenancy. There is no point in discussing Money Laundering, Council tax (which you will be paying) and several other issues that might arise you just need to terminate the tenancy and ask him to remove his belongings at the point where his right to be in the UK is removed.

I know this sounds harsh but this could become very complicated and I can see no reason why you should have to deal with the potential complications.

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Industry Observer

10:34 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

Mark

I love debating semantics with you - hoiw may someone break a law that isn't yet law?

Manjinder you mention a partner are they vacating too? Are they joint named as tenants
Anyway to more important matters. Hi Mary surprised you didn't latch onto this one, I only just have.

I have an agent client where a sole named female tenant has vacated permanently and left behinfd a non named as a teant boyfriend. No problem you may think, just serve s21 etc.

However...............

An AST can only be granted where one or more of joint tenants occupies as their main or sole residence. That requirement continues during the tenancy, otherwise the AST status is lost. Bit like a resident LL it is only a Reslan tenancy as long as the LL is there. Minute they are not it loses that status and funnily enough reverses the other situation and becomes an AST (courtesy of 1996 Act)

However back to the plot.

So in my case can a s21 served when the lady was in residence be relied upon - probably yes.

In none has been served can one now be served when it is not her main residence - possibly not.

Nonbe of this comes from me but from brains far superior to mine, but came as news to me I thought you could always serve a s21.

Anyway point is if your tenant vacates and it is not a valid AST any more then you can't use s21 which is another complication. If not already served and assuming TDP is all in order I would serve a s21 right now even if it is an academic exercise.

I agree with Mark. I suspect use of property here for other purposes and I will go no further than that, but they could range between naughty and etremely unpleasant. Get rid asap is my advice.

Romain Garcin

10:47 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

It's not obvious to me why visa status would have a bearing on the existence of a binding tenancy.
However, as Industry Observer points out if the premises are no longer the tenant's principal residence then the tenancy is no longer an assured tenancy, which will make it much easier to evict should the rent goes unpaid, etc.

Regarding council tax, if tenancy exists, then tenant remains liable even if property is unoccupied. But of course if he disappears abroad and does not pay, it is likely that the council will start knocking on landlord's door.

What is not clear is whether the tenant intends to leave the property unoccupied until next year, or whether his partner (and hopefully joint-tenant) will remain.
I would not accept to have the property unoccupied for that long.

Mark Alexander

10:47 AM, 18th November 2013
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "18/11/2013 - 10:34":

I'm pleased for you that you have the time to debate semantics, I don't.
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