Tenant may refuse to move due to Covid-19?

by Readers Question

8:36 AM, 22nd May 2020
About 3 days ago

Tenant may refuse to move due to Covid-19?

Make Text Bigger
Tenant may refuse to move due to Covid-19?

We have three very nice tenants (three individuals) in one of our rental properties who have stayed in the property for years.

We are currently selling this property and have found a buyer. The deal is fairly close to the position of exchanging the contracts and we have offered the tenants to move into another vacant rental property we own.

Previously all three were okay to move (though they prefer to stay in the current property) then Covid-19 happened and now one tenant has sent a text saying he is self isolating as he has Asthma and not working (though his employer is still paying him). He hasn’t refused to move as yet but think he may refuse to move until Covid-19 is over. Secondly the new property is too far from his place of work. This will scupper the deal on a property we have had trouble selling

Added problem is none of the tenants have AST agreements in place plus don’t think we can evict these tenants as will take too long to go down this route anyway.

Wondered if anyone had any suggestions. Maybe to give a couple months free rent in the new property?

Jim



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:43 AM, 22nd May 2020
About 3 days ago

Hi Jim,

If you don't have ASTs do you have a protected deposit, prescribed information, gas safety certificate etc etc.

Forcing someone out is going to be a non-option and I would take professional advice on how to rectify this.

Luke P

12:33 PM, 22nd May 2020
About 3 days ago

Don’t even advertise a property for sale until vacant! You’re asking for trouble and I suspect Neil is right that you’re in for a potentially big fight if your paperwork isn’t in order.

Clint

13:31 PM, 22nd May 2020
About 3 days ago

You may have to come to an agreement of paying them or the one tenant of in order for them to move out. It is a matter of weighing up from a financial point of view, which is the best option.

Jim Littlehampton

13:39 PM, 22nd May 2020
About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 22/05/2020 - 10:43
These tenants have been in the property for several years and yes we were little lax at that time. We have not given them any documentation.

These tenants have not refused to move and have been very accommodating with viewings. We have a very good relationship with them. They are decent people.

We said we will help them with the move and offered them another property. Two of them seem "okay" to move but the other one may move and need to speak to him and probably try to persuade him. I got a feeling due to Covid he will move but not until Covid-19 is over hence will then lose the deal. Previously before Covid-19 he said he was fine to move

I agree its not going to be possible to force them to move. If they refuse to move then will have to compensate them maybe £500 each. I guess money talks and each one of them will have a price. Somehow we need to get them to move as the house is close to exchange and we have waited ages for this.

Clint

14:00 PM, 22nd May 2020
About 3 days ago

Self isolation due to Covid-19 is maximum of two weeks unless, the tenant is permanently self-isolating due to his asthma. You need to find this out. He may be prepared to move after the two week period.

Jim Littlehampton

20:20 PM, 22nd May 2020
About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 22/05/2020 - 14:00
He said that his employer is still paying him. I don't think he is on Furlough. He said he needs to self isolate until July. Would the government send a letter informing him that he should self isolate for three months ?

Jim Littlehampton

20:20 PM, 22nd May 2020
About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 22/05/2020 - 13:31
Yes agreed it probably will come to that in the end.

Jessie Jones

9:49 AM, 23rd May 2020
About 2 days ago

Jim, there are only two ways of getting someone to leave your house; voluntarily or via the courts. Given that the latter is likely to take over a year you have no option other than to encourage him to leave voluntarily. Your lack of paperwork isn't as trivial as it sounds. It could cost you many thousands in legal bills and deposit repayments.
As much as I dislike the idea of paying a difficult tenant to move out, I would suggest that this is likely to be your best option. 3 months rent in a new place, plus all his removal costs would probably be a really cheap deal for you given the pickle you are in. But if you offer this before the other tenants move out then it will cost you three times as much, so wait for the other two to leave before you make your offer.

Luke P

10:30 AM, 23rd May 2020
About 2 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Jessie Jones at 23/05/2020 - 09:49
On condition of signing a deed of surrender, offer them a tempting enough sum. Forget anything you know about decency, fairness, equality and justice, then count yourself lucky for getting off so quickly and lightly.

Puzzler

10:43 AM, 23rd May 2020
About 2 days ago

A tenancy agreement does not have to be in writing and it sounds as though you have defaulted on your other obligations. Have you actually given them notice? It may not be valid if you haven't provided the obligatory documents, I agree with Luke that to sell with vacant possession without it actually being vacant is very risky.

https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/news/conveyancing/what-is-vacant-possession-8255

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Scotland to reopen housing market in phased plan

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More