Tenant died and adult son stayed but didn’t pay rent

by Property 118

10:06 AM, 28th January 2020
About 4 months ago

Tenant died and adult son stayed but didn’t pay rent

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Tenant died and adult son stayed but didn’t pay rent

A tenant of mine recently died leaving behind her 18 year old son. Naturally I was very understanding and tried to help him and the family out as much as possible; offered him an AST in his own name, plenty of support, regular contact.

He said he wanted to stay in the property and sign the tenancy and said he could take on more hours to make ends meet, but kept making excuses as to why he didn’t want to sign the contract yet and when we would arrange to meet to sign he wouldn’t turn up. He also made several promises to pay rent and arrears, even at one point saying he was on his way to the bank to pay, but it never came. It became abundantly clear he had no intention of staying when I received a call from a letting agency asking for a reference for him to rent another property.

This was all over the Christmas period so obviously a sensitive period anyway. 3 months in I served a section 21 notice, another month on he moved out so a total of almost £4,000 rent arrears and he trashed the place before he left.

We are now on the Small Claims track and him and his family are obviously trying to slow everything down. Just asking for advice anybody might have. I’m concerned I may have given him and his family enough rope to hang me with…

Thanks in advance!!

JC



Comments

terry sullivan

11:29 AM, 28th January 2020
About 4 months ago

was he a squatter?

WP

12:28 PM, 28th January 2020
About 4 months ago

difficult one. I had similar when the person listed on the contract did a bunk leaving another tenant inside (this tenant not able to sign a contract himself as listed name was his carer). Law states that as I knew of the other person being in the property and ergo me giving consent for him to live there, he wasn't a squatter so couldn't go down the route of eviction this way.
Is the son not listed or mentioned at all on the TA? If he is 18 now he might not have been able to be on the TA anyway as as under this age at the time and it was signed by his parent.
Would he be open to some cash to move on after you explain that he may not want to go down the court route as clearly he is in the wrong and the law will find in your favour?
Told him you have discovered a rat infestation...?

WP

12:31 PM, 28th January 2020
About 4 months ago

sorry - just re read your post.
Stick with the Claims... if you have evidence of what you say/did then you could argue you have acted reasonably given the circumstance. He clearly has family that are getting involved. Stick with it and remember you can claim interest in debt owed. They might think about paying it off to clear it all up asap?

JC

14:22 PM, 28th January 2020
About 4 months ago

Terry, I'm assuming he wasn't a squatter because the property wasn't 'disused' but I might be wrong?

WP, thanks for your advice. All our communication was over text so I have proof of everything that was said. This might be a stab in the dark but is there anything to be said for a verbal contract? He was very keen to stay at the start, discussing logistics, money and contracts, and then obviously changed his mind and pulled a fast one.

Terence Joseph

15:00 PM, 28th January 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by JC at 28/01/2020 - 14:22
A verbal agreement isn't worth the paper that it's written on!

Charles Anderson

19:53 PM, 28th January 2020
About 4 months ago

There is no rent liability by the sounds of it .

Serve a notice to quit - 28 days

Then possession proceedings

Ask for possession forthwith ..

Puzzler

8:27 AM, 29th January 2020
About 4 months ago

I think the OP said he has already left...

I certainly would not give a reference other than by phone, bear in mind it has to be truthful so you are damned if you do and damned if you don't...

JC

11:51 AM, 29th January 2020
About 4 months ago

Yes, her son has now left after living in the property for 4 months after his mother’s passing.
As defined by the Housing Act the son qualifies to succeed the tenancy. He also expressed his will to continue with the tenancy and certainly didn’t say he wanted to cease it. Where does this leave me?
In my opinion I tried my utmost to handle the situation fairly and professionally.
In people’s honest opinion what could I have done differently?
His defence when the money claim was issued was that he moved out in a timely manner. 4 months? Surely that’s pushing it.

terry sullivan

12:09 PM, 29th January 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by JC at 29/01/2020 - 11:51
AST does not give rights of succession--unless he was on the tenancy agreement?

Possession Friend

19:26 PM, 29th January 2020
About 4 months ago

Money Claim on Line ( He is nowhere near being a Squatter ! )

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