Tenant break-up with rent arrears a surprise lodger and S21 notice

by Readers Question

11:50 AM, 4th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Tenant break-up with rent arrears a surprise lodger and S21 notice

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Tenant break-up with rent arrears a surprise lodger and S21 notice

I have a small property let to a young couple which went onto a periodic arrangement about 9 months ago.break-up

Subsequently the man “misbehaved” and left the house. We have had no more contact, but informed the remaining tenant we still considered the other party to be liable for the rent.

She has made great efforts to keep up with the rent, but is slipping behind and we have reached the point where we must serve notice. She is otherwise a good tenant, keeps the house spotless (I like a tenant with OCD!) but we can’t allow it to go on.

The deposit is properly protected, but was originally in the male’s name as it’s not possible to have 2 names registered with the DPS.

So my questions are:

1) I intend to serve notice on both parties using the house address – do I have to make any efforts to track down the man for this purpose.

2) He has not given me notice and therefore I assume that he is still liable for the rent (though I suspect he can’t afford it anyway).

3) If the rent and any dilaps are sorted out to whom do I repay the deposit? I believe that the money originally came from the girl, but that he paid it to us which is why it is in his name. As he is, presumably, still due to pay the rent I can use it to offset the outstanding amount?

4) Just to confuse things further I think she may have taken in a lodger, but I assume he or she would have to leave at the same time, but would I have to include them on the notice just to be safe even though I have no contract with them.



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:53 AM, 4th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Nick,

I am sure you will get some excellent advice, but sometimes you just know when something is going to get messy!

I would personally call in the professionals rather than risk a costly and or time consuming mistake.

Please see our tenant eviction page >> http://evicting-tenants.net/

Charles King - Barrister-At-Law

12:40 PM, 4th January 2016
About 3 years ago

In answer to your questions:

No, you don't need to make any effort to trace him: just serve the s.21 on him at the address of the property.

Yes he is still liable for the rent as the tenancy which has become periodic is still a joint tenancy (although I have argued the exact opposite unsuccessfully in court when acting for a tenant!).

The remaining tenant should be getting some financial help from the lodger, or otherwise, if she kicked the lodger out, may be able to claim some Housing Benefit. Are there any children in the property? Or is it too large for her to get full Housing Benefit? It seems a pity to lose a tidy tenant who is trying hard to make ends meet if there is a realistic possibility of her catching up with the arrears.

Yes, depending on anything contrary in the tenancy agreement, you can use the deposit for unpaid rent (and the desposit scheme may have a 'lead tenant' registered to whom the deposit should be paid in any event - the scheme may be able to help on this);

No, don't bother including the lodger in any notice or proceedings - it just confuses matters - and the lodger (whether lawful or not according to the tenancy agreement) is the tenant's lodger (licensee), not yours, so when the tenant's right to occupy ends, so does the lodger's. A possession order from the court is valid against all persons found on the property (with some potential exceptions in squatters cases, which yours is not).

I hope this helps a bit, and good luck!

Nick Pope

14:26 PM, 4th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Charles

Thanks for your comments.

Thankfully there are no children as I would feel even more guilty than I do.

You have pretty much confirmed what I thought and I'm hopeful we can reach a conclusion without the need to serve formal notice. As she's a single person I don't know how helpful the local council will be other than telling her to sit tight. However her family are local and might be able to help her out short term.

Renovate To let

14:50 PM, 4th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nick Pope" at "04/01/2016 - 14:26":

Given this joint tenancy is periodic the person who left could give you proper notice which would end the tenancy for both of them.

Should the remaining tenant (and lodger) not leave at the expiry of that notice you could go straight for possession.

Just another angle you might evaluate.

Romain Garcin

15:20 PM, 4th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Nick,

Note that deposit schemes have been known to be fussy if the tenancy agreement does not explicitly state that the deposit may be used to cover rent arrears.
It would there be best to have it in the agreement.


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