Tenant left 6 months early and cancelled Direct Debit

by Readers Question

11:15 AM, 23rd February 2016
About 5 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


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Comments

Andrew Holmes

11:26 AM, 24th February 2016
About 5 years ago

Hi George,

Look at the rule for abandonment of a property, your previous tenants may fall under this category and as such i see no need to get court orders for tenants who have left, have no intention of living at a property. Just remember if they have left items at the property you are responsible for them but otherwise it will leave you free to re rent.

Ref the damage and/or outstanding utility bills. Contact the companies with your closing readings/dates and state that the tenants are responsible for any utility bill up to the closing readings. Give the new address of the previous tenants to the utility companies and it will be between the two of them to sort out.

Any damage you want paying for, contact their current estate agent listing the damage with a 14 day dead line for a response. State failure to do so you will search the owners of the current house they have moved to, via the land registry record, and as a matter of professional courtesy you will be writing to them to inform them that there may be bailiffs arriving at their rental property with an outline as to why this would be happening. I have used this before and it worked very efficiently. No estate agent will want one of their clients asking why they have what appears to be very undesirable tenants poorly vetted moving in to their house.They will not want to loose the tenants and/or the landlord from their books so will put pressure onto your previous tenants to play ball.

In cases such as this everyone will want to put the responsibility of the property and its bills on to you, no one is going to step up and volunteer to help you so you do have to fight your corner and re apply the pressure back onto the appropriate parties, which are the tenants and their current estate agent for taking them on when you warned them, and they have now decided to walk away from the debt they are responsible for.

I self manage my properties and i am happy to say any bad tenants i have had i have always got them to pay what they owe.

12:07 PM, 24th February 2016
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "23/02/2016 - 12:20":

Terrible position to be in. So in this case.. who is the true rogue ......the tenant or the letting agent? I am not a big fan of the latter.

Steve From Leicester

12:28 PM, 24th February 2016
About 5 years ago

Excuse me but why are some people criticising the letting agent?

This agent (as far as I understand) hasn't acted for George.

Some people seem to have appointed themselves as proxy for the new landlord (who we know nothing about) and have took it upon themselves to criticise the agent on his/her behalf.

For all we know the agent may have carried out full due diligence, presented the new landlord with the facts along with a recommendation to decline and the new landlord has chosen to ignore their advice and let to them anyway.

Believe me, as an agent I've had a number of landlords who've decided to ignore very strong advice from us and do it their own way - and as they are our client we have to follow their instructions.

George says at the end of his post that the estate (letting) agent said the tenant had sent an email promising to pay, but now won't forward him a copy of the email. Why should he? The person posting is not a client of that agent and has no responsibility or duty of care to him.

I do have sympathy for George's position of course but none of this is the fault of an agent acting for an entirely different client.

Steve From Leicester

12:39 PM, 24th February 2016
About 5 years ago

Having re-read the comments it seems George does have other properties with the same agent. However, the fact remains that what the agent and the landlord of the new property have agreed, or what the agent told the landlord of the new property is, to put it bluntly, none of George's business.

Andrew Holmes

12:50 PM, 24th February 2016
About 5 years ago

Hi Steve,

If the letting agent has taken due diligence and acted in the new landlords best interest then there will be no problem.

However if they have not and just took the tenants without acting professionally, which i have seen myself previously, then the Landlord they represent, for a fee, has the the right to know.

As a private landlord would i take a tenant who has refused to pay previous utility bills and left a TA early without taking the proper course, no i would not and i suspect most private landlords would walk away from tenants such as this. I struggle to understand why a landlord paying for a professional service would take tenants such as this but like you say, it takes all sorts. Either way i would still look at approaching their current Landlord if possible and making them aware of the situation, its a perfectly reasonable step to take.

Steve From Leicester

13:28 PM, 24th February 2016
About 5 years ago

Andy - I agree with what you say, the point I'm making is that we know nothing about the new landlord's arrangements with their letting agent, it has no bearing on George's situation, yet some people take it upon themselves to criticise said agent.

As for landlords paying for a professional service then ignoring what the agent tells them, the ones who always baffle me are those who pay us for a full management service, then pop round, introduce themselves to the tenant, give them their contact details . . . then call us to complain that the tenant keeps ringing them at all hours of the day and night.

Gary Dully

9:00 AM, 25th February 2016
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Andrew Holmes" at "24/02/2016 - 11:26":

Andrew,

What rule concerning Abandonment are you referring to?

I have scoured the Prevention from Eviction Act 1977 and there isn't one there.

What it does say is that a Criminal offence has been committed, by a Landlord, if the tenancy is not ended through due process of the law and further down in Section II that a notice to quit isn't valid unless ....
It's at least 4 weeks in length from when it should take effect and that it has been given in writing.

As for accepting a text, this law was written when people drove Austin Maxi's and Fiat Strada's.
A Text message then was defined as Witchcraft and you could be dunked in a pond for heresy and Devil Worship.

A malicious text can be sent by anybody to anybody so I wouldn't even accept notice from a decent tenant via this method, let alone this contract breaking one.

Even today, I have told a flunky tenant that has just gone to his girlfriends to live, that a Facebook message to a 3rd Party saying he has left is not going to stop me suing his guarantors arse off.

The property is full of junk and rotting food and is not rentable.

He actually told me on Tuesday that he had tidied it up and it was lovely, tenants rewrite agreements in their heads and twist and turn the truth to suit their mood.

Issue a Section 8 Notice and get a surrender, in writing.
If you can't - you should get a court order, prove abandonment to the judge and get a money order to go with it.

That gives you legal possession back.

Then repair, re-rent and then sue via MCOL.

The new Housing Bill deals with Abandonment and provided that your local left wing looney MP hasn't butchered it up, trying to make Saturday's headline in the papers against Landlords, we might have to avoid all these court cases.

George Harrison

12:25 PM, 25th February 2016
About 5 years ago

I sent an email to the estate agent last Wednesday asking for a copy of the email stating that the tenant was happy to cover the rental costs of both properties and because I knew they would hide behind data protection I quoted the relevant section under which they could release it (after speaking to the Data Protection help desk). I got an email back straight away saying they would reply in due course. A week later I asked them for a timescale, they AGAIN said they would reply in due course. How long have they got to get back to me with an answer to my problem

Andrew Holmes

12:34 PM, 26th February 2016
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "25/02/2016 - 09:00":

Hi Gary,

Never used the abandonment rule for any of my properties to date which is why i was unsure and suggested George to look into it.

Landlord Zone has some information and guidance on it according to the position of the tenant leaving the property.

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/content/abandonment

The above link may give you some more idea about the abandonment situation in case you need it in future, but as ever its down to interpretation of the situation.

Hope this helps.

Andrew.

paul smith

10:44 AM, 27th February 2016
About 5 years ago

They have 21 days or you complain to the Data Protection Commissioner

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