Recardo writes to raise a debate on how honest landlords can remove bad or non paying tenants.
I have been a landlord for 12 years and as I manage my own BTL properties I am always looking for information and procedures on this industry. I have even written in the past for advice from other landlords on Property118, and I hope this article will help other landlords.
Over the years I must just have been lucky as I didn’t get any bad tenants, but over the last year I have had three. Must be a sign of the times.
One was a long term tenant who after signing a new 12 month tenancy wanted to leave 10 weeks later with 1 months notice. Another has just left after a year because “things just kept breaking”, front door lock, back door lock, toilet flush twice in 2 months, glass in the oven door (£220 to replace). Broken basin taps, and leaking connecting pipe. I just could not afford to keep this tenant on. The worst one I want to talk about is a tenant who stopped paying the rent and the hassle and stress that has caused.
This lady was in her 2nd year of tenancy when she had some “problems” and stopped paying the rent, she has a stay at home partner and a couple of kids. they were receiving LHA and she was the only worker. Her “problems” led to her loosing her job.
After she missed her first rental payment I contacted her to ask what was happening and she said she was having a few problems, but it would be paid in a couple of weeks. After 2 weeks you’ve guest it no money, so I went on the chase and emails went unanswered and no reply to my phone calls. I sent her a section 21 giving her about 10 weeks to vacate (2 full months required). I also offered her a payment plan to catch up on her rent so I would not have to proceed with an eviction (my first). I also said if I had no reply within 5 days She would receive a copy of the section 21 in her hand delivered by my cousin, who is local and does small repair jobs for me.
She then contacted me three days later by email to say how sorry she was and she had received my notice, but she had lost her phone, and would you believe it her internet connection had gone down at the same time. No I didn’t, but if no money was received in seven days the eviction would proceed. She said her mum would lend her some money, but no money came as her mum was ill and taken to hospital.
It was now time for her 2nd rental payment (2 months) which she missed again. I contacted the council on that day to say she had missed two payments although agreeing to a payment plan, so could I have her LHA directly, and I had served her a sec 21 notice. They agreed to do this and I started to receive £565 from them although the rent was £725. At least I was getting something and if it was a private tenant with no RGI it would be nothing.
The day for them to leave on my notice was fast approaching, but she said she could not leave as they would be according to the council making themselves homeless. As such they would not have any responsibility to rehouse them! Isn’t it about time the council were banned from this practice. I have given 10 weeks notice and the tenants have made themselves homeless by not paying the rent they receive from the council to help house them. The lack of rent makes them homeless, not a court order.
Next step: Download a Claim form for Possession of Property. A four page form. As a landlord you have done nothing wrong, the tenants have broken their agreement to pay the rent. If they will resume they can stay there for the next 10 years. Question 7 on the form, have you taken a deposit if so was it held under a tenancy deposit Scheme, who with, give the reference Number. Was every one involved given the prescribed info etc etc. Are you sweating? Who’s on trial now! Is your deposit protection correct, up to date, and info sent to tenants been recorded and singed for by them? Phew thanks to reading the 118 site mine was.
This court process only cost a £175 fee, but that’s Ok as you can reclaim it from the tenant who hasn’t got a job or two pennies. They then have 2 weeks to appeal.
Luckily (you notice how lucky I’ve been so far, hope you are too) 3 weeks later there has been no appeal (as far as I’ve read no appeal against a sec 21) and the court has given them 18 days to move out. So that’s alright then this all started nearly 5 months ago.
The tenants receive the following court order: On 1st March 2013 District Judge——– etc. The Court Orders the defendant gives the claimant possession of ——- on 18th March 2013. The defendant to pay the claimant £175 costs.
I then receive a call from the partner (first time in nearly 2 years), this is the first he’s heard of this and they need more time to move. I said “I’m sorry you don’t talk to your partner who was paying part of the rent, but since she stopped 5 months ago I want my house back now”.
His response “this house isn’t worth 725pm, it’s falling apart and I’m going to paint all your walls black, you need to get a new gas cert as this one has expired it’s the law.”
Mr response was “you should not be in my house, so I’m not getting a gas cert until you leave and if the house is not worth the money then leave. On my last inspection there was no complains and the house looked fine to me. if you want to do some work I will bring you some magnolia and pay you to redecorate” he then hung up.
I sent the bailiffs form off (£110) on 18th and I’m still waiting for a date. If the tenants wait for the bailiffs I hope they can take their old car, TV etc to pay my court costs, because the lost rent has gone forever.
Universal Credit starts soon so I am sure more evictions are on the way and my advice is to make sure all your paperwork is correct and up to date because if not you’re the one on trial.
The tenant refuses to move on a notice, then on a Court Order on 18th, so are they in contempt of court? Are they squatters, new laws say the police can move them! Why would I be in court for going knocking, or wait till they are out and change the locks? Why does the landlord have to spend more time, money and lost rent to get the bailiffs in? What can we do to change the system on faster evictions and stop the council policy of advising tenants not to leave? A section 8 seems a waste of time when people have no money, but a sec 21 served for non payment of rent should mean they are out in 2 months.