Tenant left 6 months early and cancelled Direct Debit

by Readers Question

11:15 AM, 23rd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Tenant left 6 months early and cancelled Direct Debit

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Tenant left 6 months early and cancelled Direct Debit

I have just found out that my tenants has left their property 6 months early, have cancelled their direct debit and claim the property is covered in damp/condensation. left

I took an independent person (estate agent) with me for my first viewing as the tenants couldn’t or wouldn’t go. There are several things wrong, large items of rubbish to be removed, window blinds missing, oven filthy, kitchen benches damaged due to chopping on them and the whole property has been badly painted with vinyl silk (looks like gloss) I only ever use matt.

The tenants have moved a few streets away, I know the street but not the number and are blaming damp/condensation and a new baby for moving out. When I viewed there was a tiny amount of spotted mould to a wall in the bedroom which just washed off.

I informed their estate agent before they moved out that they where tied into an agreement but they decided to still take them on as they had received an email from them stating that if they got the new property they would still pay the rent etc on the my property.

As soon as they moved out they cancelled the direct debit with me and the estate agent is refusing to give me a copy of the email

Would it be best to go though the small claims court or use a solicitor.

George



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:19 AM, 23rd February 2016
About 3 years ago

It might be best to find another tenant asap for cash flow, but I would have a chat with The Sheriffs office.

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

Gary Dully

12:20 PM, 23rd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hello George,

There are a couple of issues here and you ain't going to like what I am going to write.

Property damage and rent arrears are the least of your troubles to deal with.

Firstly, has the tenant expressly surrendered their tenancy with you?
I.e. In writing, with a signature on it?

Something along the lines of " you are a git and your property is smelly and MOULDY so I left the keys and I ain't coming back,
Yours Sincerely
Mr & Mrs Rogue Tenant"

That should be enough to convince the jury that you had every right to believe that the tenancy had ended.

Secondly, was the tenancy still in its 'Fixed Period'?

If they have left in their 'Fixed Period' , they are in breach of contract and you could issue a small claims via MCOL, but before you do that...

What is of more concern, is can you legally re-rent, without either a surrender or Court Order? The answer is NO!, unless you have a written surrender to back you up.

It is a criminal offense to end a tenancy without a court order, legal notice or express surrender from a tenant once granted.

That is why the new Housing Bill has a section dealing with 'Abandonment', but it is not yet the law.

Common sense would suggest that the tenant has left and will never come back, but you can't take that chance.

They have already lied in their promise of upholding a contract, paying you as well as their new landlord, the damp issue and so it wouldn't take much persuading by a No-win-no-fee solicitor to convince them that there's money to be made from you, when you illegally evict them by not obtaining a CCJ or surrender document.

Abandoned tenancies are a nightmare to deal with, because of the ridiculous rules of the Prevention From Eviction Act 1977.

You have to do something to get legal possession back, which is get something in writing, signed saying that they have ended their tenancy of their own free will.

If you can't, you need a County Court Order,,after issuing a Notice Seeking Repossession (Section 8).
That will take several months.
But you can still charge them rent and the Court should award you the outstanding amount.

Getting payment though is a different matter.

If you re-rent and change the locks Etc, you could be liable for substantial damages, should the tenant know their legal rights.

As for the letting agent, they have obviously chased their commission and charges and don't give a sh*t about your predicament.

I pity their next landlord, because they will do it again.
Welcome to the 'Dark Side' of the Force.

Rob Crawford

14:42 PM, 23rd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi George, I can't add to what Gary has said. I sympathise with your position. Why on earth would a letting agent take these rogue tenants on? There is obviously an ongoing issue with them. These sort of agents should struck off. Good luck to the new unsuspecting landlord!

Chris Clare

9:23 AM, 24th February 2016
About 3 years ago

I would give the new agents the benefit of the doubt as none of us truly know what this tenant will have said to get the new property.

I am certain everyone reading this will know that people can be very convincing when it comes to getting what they want and these people will have been no different such as "our landlord is the worst ever he won't do repairs and we currently live in a death trap, we have absolutely no option but to move please please help us etc etc....."

Am I right?

Rob Crawford

9:34 AM, 24th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Clare" at "24/02/2016 - 09:23":

Hi Chris, you are right but also very wrong, letting agents are employed so that they can use their experience to see through false claims often made by tenants. At the very least they should have acted in the best interest of the client landlord and verified what the tenants were saying. In this case a simple discussion with the existing landlord would have confirmed this one way or the other! In my eyes there is no excuse.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:54 AM, 24th February 2016
About 3 years ago

I would, like Gary says, prioritise getting a letter signed from them. I would write the letter myself - very brief like Gary's (but not so hilarious) and try and get the agent to get them to sign. You can point out that they are accruing more arrears every day that they don't sign.

Then, as long as one of them is in a reasonable job, don't panic, as you will later be able to apply for an attachment of earnings. They're not foolproof, but in my experience work in the majority of cases. When it comes to that point, you can get some more advice. I would join the Guild of Residential Landlords pronto as Adrian Thompson there is great with this sort of thing - and I think it will cost you around £70 a year to be a member.

All the best.

Chris Clare

10:00 AM, 24th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Crawford" at "24/02/2016 - 09:34":

You are right Rob the agent does have a duty of care to their landlord but my comment was, to never underestimate the power of persuasion that a motivated tenant can have.

And for that reason the agent should be given the benefit of doubt rather than vilified for their part in this situation.

George Harrison

10:24 AM, 24th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Clare" at "24/02/2016 - 10:00":

What makes this worse is that I have one house up for sale and several properties up for rent with this same estate agent. They also know how good my properties are. I have asked them to get in touch with this tenant to ask for a letter stating that they have left and will not be returning, but they say they cant get involved. I have also asked them to confirm that they informed the new landlord that this person was still tied into an AST for another 6 months, I await their reply but am not hopeful. Is there an organisation that I can complain too

Chris Clare

10:36 AM, 24th February 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "George Harrison" at "24/02/2016 - 10:24":

Wow George!!

That changes everything as they have intimate knowledge of both the property and its landlord.

By the sound of it they have no excuse here to have placed this tenant elsewhere.

In this scenario with the same factors in play there is no way I would have offered these tenants a new property it is a disgrace.

However I now wonder whether you have a very legitimate claim against the agent as they have clearly not acted in their landlords best interest.

George Harrison

10:43 AM, 24th February 2016
About 3 years ago

I have a text from the tenant saying I am unable to live at the flat and therefore don't live there anymore. I have posted the key through the letterbox so cant get into the flat anymore.
Is this enough to put the property back on the market or do I need a signed letter stating the same

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