Tag Archives: rent arrears

How not to be treated as a source for cheap credit Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

We landlords are not in the business of lending money to our tenants but that is in effect what we are doing when they run up rent arrears.How not to be treated as a source for cheap credit

The trouble is it is far easier for someone NOT to do something than it is to DO something, ie it is far easier NOT to pay rent than it is to borrow the money from someone who is in the business of lending e.g. a bank. What’s more, unless we have a very good system in place the penalty for running up arrears is very small and the consequences very far away, i.e. at least six months to evict.

I need to improve my system.

Not only shall I start to issue formal rent demand notices, first a polite reminder, followed by a stronger letter then followed by the appropriate action.

I would also like to introduce a financial incentive so that tenants pay me before they spend the money on something else. Unfortunately the poultry “base plus 4%” interest rate that is the acceptable standard is very little incentive and other fixed fees are very difficult to enforce. So I am thinking of introducing a *prompt payment discount*.

I would like to put the rent up by a reasonably significant amount, say £10 a week and offer a prompt payment discount of the same amount. Then each week a tenant is in significant arrears it will cost them £10, that should make them realise that it’s not a cheap loan any more.

Has anyone used this method?

How did it work?

What wording did you use for a clause in the tenancy?

In addition to writing this into all new tenancy agreements from now on I would like to try and introduce this to existing tenancies. I can put the rent up with a formal Section 13 rent increase notice but I doubt I could include a discount clause as this would in effect create a new version of the tenancy with all the ensuing complications. How can I introduce the discount? Can I put something in writing outside the Section 13 notice or would this too change the existing tenancy? Can it be left as an unwritten gentlemen’s agreement?

If we work together on this we can build a better system for us all.


Rent arrears stats are improving says the NLA Latest Articles, NLA - National Landlords Association, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

According to the latest research from the National Landlords Association (NLA), incidences of arrears have fallen to their lowest level for over two years.

39 per cent of landlords have experienced instances of rental arrears in the last 12 months, down nine per cent year on year and back to levels previously seen in quarter one 2010.

Void periods in private-residential property have also fallen, down five per cent since last Quarter to 33 per cent, a low last seen in 2012.

At a regional level, voids are greatest in the North East of England where 60 per cent of landlords have experienced empty periods in the last three months and lowest in the South West of England where only 20 per cent of landlords have experienced voids over the same time frame.

The research results also established that seven in ten voids are unplanned. And landlords are covering the financial impact of voids using various means:

• 33 per cent of landlords cover the costs of a void period using rent from other properties

• 10 per cent of landlords cover the costs of a void period using their other income or salary

• Nine per cent of landlords cover the costs of a void period using funds from their savings

Carolyn Uphill, Chairman of the NLA, says:

“It is positive to see reductions in the instances of arrears and voids. This demonstrates that long term, enduring tenancies are on the rise as it is in every landlords’ business interest to maintain good, long lasting tenancies and avoid voids.

“However, it is worrying that void periods often come as a surprise to landlords. Whilst voids represent more of a problem in the North than in the South, where demand is far higher, it is imperative that empty properties are filled quickly, following any necessary maintenance and improvements.

“The NLA’s advice to landlords looking to minimise void periods is to talk openly with their tenants about their future plans. This will give the landlord some idea of when the property might next be empty and allow them to make any improvements and plan advertising activity in good time. It is also wise to budget for 11 months’ rent per year to avoid needing to find additional funds to cover outgoings if a void does arise.”


Meet The Landlords TV programme – fair representation? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property Investment News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Last night I finally got around to watching a TV programme I recorded on BBC a few weeks ago called “Meet The Landlords“.

I was asked to appear on the programme when it was first considered but when I told the reporter what managing my portfolio entailed he wasn’t really that interested. Who could blame him? My tenants stay with me for years, I outsource most things and for that reason I doubt I spend more than a couple of hours every week looking after my property portfolio. It makes me enough to live on, my tenants are all very happy and neither me nor my tenants are ever very likely to make good viewing on the Jeremy Kyle show.

The appearances from landlords and tenants featured on “Meet the Landlords” though was a proper rogues gallery. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the programming team had stood out the Jeremy Kyle recording studio’s a picked the worst of the worst people. Perhaps they offered them a free Maccie D’s in return for them and their landlords to make another appearence on the telly? LOL

The programme featured:-

  • Two amateur landlords whose tenants had not been paying rent for months,
  • a landlord calling himself the HMO Daddy who runs what I can only describe as “doss houses” for the dreggs of society,
  • and a woman from a North Eastern letting agency who let a property for a private landlord to rent to a drunken ASBO tenant who couldn’t even be bothered to turn up sober and then broke down into tears when presented with a property which he clearly realised he didn’t deserved to live in

If the BBC wanted to make a documentary revealing broken Britian this was a success. If they wanted to portray the Private Rented Sector then sorry, in my opinion it was a massive #FAIL

If the two amateur landlords had employed a decent letting agent or spent some time reading forums such as this one they wouldn’t have found themselves thousands of pounds down in rent arrears. One of the landlords was quite clearly on the verge of a mental breakdown but the hypocrisy of her story was that whilst her tenants were not paying the rent due to her, she was falling into arrears with her own landlord and prioritising subsidising her own mortgage! No wonder Paul Shamplina for Landlord Action has such a thriving Tenant Eviction business. He was one of the few people on the programme who came across as being decent.

I’ve heard about the HMO Daddy selling coaching and mentoring and I had always wondered why a landlord who claimed to be successful would do that. In my mind, you mentor people either to grow your own business (i.e. employees) or you do it when you’ve made enough money to become truly altruistic and because you thrive on helping other to achieve or solve problems which you’ve previously encountered. Having watched this programme I think I may have worked it out. Perhaps “landlord Jim” needs to sell a blueprint of his “secret recipe”, or a positive spin on what he would really like it to be like, in order to subsidise the appalling behaviour of his appalling tenants living in his appalling properties, all of which were exposed on National TV?

I’ve read some very positive views elsewhere on the web about the lady who worked for the letting agency and dealt with the ASBO tenant. Yes she was grounded, caring and very patient. What I can’t get my head around is how it can possible be in the interests of any landlord to put a drunken lout like that tenant into what seemed to be a relatively decent property. Fair enough, it was explained that the rent was guaranteed to be paid directly by the Council due to this chaps “issues” shall we say but come on! Anybody with half a brain can see this chap was on the road to nowhere but prison. If that house isn’t completely trashed within a year then I will eat my words but I’d happily lay a bet that the damage he causes to the property and the distress he causes to the poor people living in close proximity to him will not come close to the rental income. What man in his right mind would think his wife and children would feel safe living to a sexist drunk like him? The guy believed he was God’s gift to women and obviously has no respect for society or the law either. The chap needed to be institutionalised in my opinion, for his own safety and for others, but I suppose that’s the result of what was badged “Care in the Community”.

The real shocker for me was the prostitute tenant who gave up possession of her property without going to Court in return for a tenner. Yes she signed some papers but it was pretty obvious to me that she did that under duress and whilst under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both.

Maybe I’m lucky, perhaps I will be labelled as a snob for writing this review, but the “Meet the Landlords” TV programme was nothing like the Britain I know and love and certainly not representative of what I have witnessed as a result of being a landlord for the last 24 years!

What were your thoughts?Meet The Landlords


Readers account of an ongoing eviction by their agents Latest Articles

We have a tenant who is a single mum and she has been in the property since December 2011. One month after her starting the tenancy with the letting agent we use she started missing payments and paying minimal amounts like £5 per month.

We served her section 21 notice on Oct 25th 2012 and have had real issues with evicting this tenant. We have the following discussion with the letting agent, please see below. Any readers advice will be gratefully received.

1) Please provide the details of the solicitors who are dealing with this issues as we would like to get an understanding from them on the complications of this case- ?
The solicitors are based in Northampton they have informed me Monday that we currently have a court date of the 28th August 2013 so we are literally waiting for this date as we speak before going forward and settling this once and for all

2) How much rent arrears are due?
– so far the tenant owed £1680 until the 7th July- I am in daily contact with the guarantor to negotiate payment plans etc

3) Why has the guarantor not been pursued for the monies, to us what is the point of the having a guarantor of there is nothing to enforce them to pay the monies due. Can you please also explain what option we have legally to pursue the monies from the guarantor ?
The guarantor is aware we will penalise them for the lack of payment and the court will deem them secondly liable for this money- They can even be ordered to pay this on behalf of the tenant (In some cases)

3) We know she mentioned she would empty the property out on the 7th July which we have always been dubious about. Why would she voluntarily evict herself when she as you mentioned to me is fully aware would not be re-housed by the council under that circumstance?
The tenant decided to leave the property due to being able to live with her brother for the time being before being re-homed, unfortunately the brother is in hospital and is therefore unable to stay with him until he is back she has also been informed by the council/ accommodation concern & others not to move as they will not re-home her again.

4) What exactly are the delays with evicting her legally and through the courts?
– generally going to court can take a while they estimate 6-8 weeks on getting a date, because the courts are so full they have to prioritise putting a lot on the backlog unfortunately I have known cases to be delayed for as long as 11 months.

5) We have had several other tenants who have been problematic and within 3-4 months they were evicted after a section 21 notice. Its been 9 months since we gave her section 21 notice (October 2012) and yet we have not made any progress, why is this and what makes this so unique.?
Basically because the tenant is on housing benefits ( I am currently trying to re-home her as we speak) she is now not attempting (from the best of my knowledge) to move, find another property. She is requesting the accounts to be re-looked at- ( I have previously had a meeting with her to discuss this further but she simply and will not believe she owes so much despite going through this thoroughly)

6) We have duly paid rent and legal insurance. Why exactly is the rent arrears in this case not covered by the insurance and what other options do we have to recover cost ?
– The court will determine if the tenant can AFFORD to pay back the arrears- chances as she is not working she will not be able to pay this back unless this is the minimal amount (£5 a week I am estimating!) therefore this is where the guarantor comes into place- this will all be determined in court where they will go from here to obtain this money for you

7) Can you please specify what benefits she is on and under what pretext is she a tenant on the property. From the best of my knowledge the tenant is currently just on Housing benefits?
– she has a savings account from her late husband which she uses to “top” up the shortfall with

8) What options do we have to evict the tenant and recover the rent arrears?
– From my experience the courts will not allow her to stay in the property due to the arrears- therefore will give her 14 days to leave on- the new tenant lined up is more than happy to wait and is being updated on a fortnightly basis by myself- generally a money order from the court can be given but again this depends on the tenants earnings

Jiten ongoing eviction


Landlords Revenge Latest Articles, Tenant Eviction, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

A landlord who came out and told BBC’s The One Show of her troublesome tenant has now had further problems. 

Broadcast on 2nd May, the landlord Mrs Trivedy was featured on the show in an item about rent-arrears and the difficulties landlords are having with tenants on benefit who are not passing on the rent.

Mrs Trivedy was shown getting the help of Landlord Action when her social tenants stopped passing on their housing benefit yet refused to vacate the property, leaving her £4400 in rental arrears. After the case was broadcast on the BBC, the tenants moved on which may have been a good result.

But the tenants left with much of the landlord’s furniture. And they have wrecked the home. Mrs Trivedy says “Wear and tear in a rental property is inevitable but what I was faced with, even given the tenants previous behaviour, was completely unnecessary. Not only is there damage to every room, they have stolen two sofas, a wardrobe, a chest of draws, a fridge-freezer, curtain poles as well as numerous smaller items. What remains was a complete mess and totally unliveable.”

The Condition of Schedule following the tenants’ departure describes the property as in poor condition with damage, missing items and a lack of cleanliness reported in every room, in addition to the garden being littered with dog mess.  Mrs Trivedy says she has made a statement to the police in regards to the missing items but was advised that it was unlikely to be taken much further as there are varying degrees of theft and it is her word against the tenants.

Mrs Trivedy says “I am obviously thrilled to have regained possession following the notice served by Landlord Action which has avoided further rent arrears and additional court fees, but I still face being thousands of pounds out of pocket.  I will have to make-over the entire property and replace furniture in order to let it again. I think the tenants should be made to pay.”

Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action says this is not an uncommon scenario. Tenants can feel aggrieved after being asked to leave. But he adds, “In this case it seems the TV exposure may have made these people more upset”. Even though the house in Bracknell was shown on screen, the tenant was interviewed and the landlord is very shocked at their behaviour.

Shamplina also advised that in these cases landlords have to be careful not to throw good money after bad. The potential outcome of further action has to be weighed up against the costs and time involved. Firstly, is it possible to track down the tenants to recover the rent arrears and if so what is their financial position? Secondly, when you regain possession, what state is the property in and how much will it cost to put right? An inventory is paramount to proving this.”

Landlord Action has a busy rent recovery department for landlords who will act on behalf of Sandra Trivedy in helping her locate her ex tenants for a fixed fee. However Mr Shamplina says “in a case such as this, we must take a view as to whether the landlord really wants to spend money and enforce a money judgement if the tenants do not have a job or any assets. Obtaining a CCJ and trying to get a court order for monthly payments off such tenants is likely to take years to clear. Many landlords wish to do so out of principle but we advise landlords to weigh up their options before going down this route.”

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.

Landlords Revenge


Landlord’s right to visit his property with or without notice Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

My understanding  of the housing act is that a landlord cannot just visit his property when he likes, he has to give the tenant adequate notice, usually 24hrs.

Please correct me if I am wrong. I also have a few questions

1. Does this notice have to be a written notice, and if so how should it be delivered so that a troublesome tenant can’t deny getting one.

2. Does this notice cover more than one visit if assuming the property needed some attention and the landlord would need to make more than one visit to put things right.

3. If a simple phone call to the tenant was made to give a 24hrs Notice, can a tenant claim to not have been warned and the landlord turned up unannounced?

4. What are the rights of a Landlord when a tenant has not only breached many tenancy conditions but also fallen behind in rent by several months, does a landlord need to give his/her tenant a notice when the rent arrears have reached more than 6 months?

I will appreciate your answers to above questions.

Thanks

Mike

Landlord's right to visit his property with or without notice


Rent arrears on the up again! Buy to Let News, Landlord Action, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, Tenant Eviction

Rent arrears on the up again!It is believed that last quarter (Q1, 2013) severe rent arrears, which constitutes those more than two months behind on rent, rose by 4,000 to 94,000, the fourth highest figure on record (figures from LSL property services).

The highest level ever was only recorded in the second half of last year. Continue reading Rent arrears on the up again!


Universal Credit will be paid direct to landlords but …. Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Universal Credit will be paid direct to landlords but ....The Residential Landlords Associated revealed yesterday the housing benefit element of Universal Credit may well be paid directly to landlords after all. However, a lot of questions remain unanswered.

According to the RLA “automatic direct payments to landlords will now be allowed in the pathfinder areas. The policy change was tucked away on the last page of an obscure circular published by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) yesterday.” Continue reading Universal Credit will be paid direct to landlords but ….


Can I charge tenants for extra admin if they are in arrears? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Can I charge tenants for extra admin if they are in arrears?Following the news from Property118 last week regarding “no win no fee” debt collection for landlords I have been re-thinking my strategy. I have a question though, can I charge tenants for extra admin if they are in arrears?

This is my thought process. Continue reading Can I charge tenants for extra admin if they are in arrears?


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