Tenant moved out and let cousin move in without telling us!

Tenant moved out and let cousin move in without telling us!

9:33 AM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago 12

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Hello, I have a tenant with a large family who has rented from me since 2019. This tenant has had a breakdown and suicide attempt and let me know she was going to stay with family an hour away to recuperate leaving her husband (joint tenant) and some of the older kids at home.

The tenant rang to let me know she likes the city she’s in and isn’t coming back, has applied to the council for housing and has already got the kids into local schools for September. Her husband is still living in the rental here with the older kids and will join her as soon as they are housed in the city. She gave a rough notice of 2-4 months to end her tenancy. They have rent arrears of just under £1000 and due to the circumstances, I’ve agreed she can repay at £150 per month.

The tenant has asked for a reference and I’ve provided an honest one detailing the arrears and agreement, and the house conditions – really not good. Visited the property yesterday to hand deliver the reference and a letter detailing the rent arrears agreement and accepting her notice to end the tenancy, to find a random family living in the house, who told me they were a cousin and living there for 4 weeks while their own house was being repaired by their landlord.

Random family mum told me that neither of the tenants is living in the house, both in the city with all the kids, and they have taken their personal belongings including all the photographs off the walls with them and don’t plan to return to the house except to collect the rest of the furniture. Random family have nowhere to go and has been told by the tenant they can live in my house until theirs is sorted!

Just to make everything even more confusing – the tenant’s adult daughter then walks into the house and sees me, saying Dad will be back tomorrow and is living at the house until September and she will be staying until then too. Random cousin is giving me raised eyebrows in a way to let me know that this is all lies.

Ideas on the best way forward please? I’ve prepared Section 21 notice, deed of surrender of tenancy, N215 notice of service and plan to visit at teatime today as apparently Dad will be back. House is an absolute mess and looks like every room needs gutting, not confident I’m going to see the rent arrears either now. UC are paying a good chunk of the rent so it feels wrong knowing that they are not even living there too.

Thanks,

Julie


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Comments

Martin Hicks

10:24 AM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

I assume that you do not let the property through a high street rental agent. Sounds to me that your original tenant has been lying throughout and you may have been naive in believing her story and now own a property that has been trashed. Also, if the new occupants do not have legal right of residence in UK then you could be liable to prosecution.
If/when you get this mess sorted out and wish to continue as a landlord, I would advise using a reputable established rental agent. Ask them for proof of successful dealings with bad tenants and what checks and guarantees they offer. It will have a cost but should restore your peace of mind.

Happy housing

10:26 AM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

You need to evict them, if they don't leave have to get a possession order long process.

RoseD

10:42 AM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

Hi Julie
What a problematic mess but all in a days work hey. Presumably you managing the property yourself so this is where you need steel armour. Your contact is with the legal tenants (not daughter or cousin) so deal directly with the tenants. Technically the 'randoms' you refer to are guests as your tenants are still the legal occupants despite one of them saying she had left. They are in arrears. They are messing you about. They are trashing your property. Stop with the nicely nice approach. Give it straight if you do get to speak with the tenants. You want them out. So start the eviction process. Without delay.

Simon M

13:01 PM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

I've had one a bit like this. You can't believe anything the tenants tell you, and have told you. Only judge on the evidence you can see.

They need to know you've seen through all the fabrication and are serious. Begin eviction process for the house. If you can withhold the reference, or contact their new landlord yourself. As soon as you can wind up the pressure by starting legal action to recover the debt. You probably won't get the money but your aim must be to minimise your losses.

Freda Blogs

13:12 PM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Hicks at 16/08/2023 - 10:24Having an agent probably wouldn't change a thing - would they have hand delivered a reference and identified the new 'tenants'? Unlikely. It sounds self serving and attempted victim shaming.

These are just tenants being untruthful and I agree with other recommendations to evict asap.

You should also be careful about you accept 'rent ' from to avoid creating a new tenancy with the new people.

Russell Cartner

13:14 PM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Hicks at 16/08/2023 - 10:24
Everyone is getting out of PRS because tenants can now please themselves
Best advice should be accelerated Sec 21 ang get yourself out
My tenant was in custody his friend moved in and girl friend came round.
I called the police said they were burglars and threatening me .They left

Judith Wordsworth

13:14 PM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

If UC housing payments are being paid direct to you, and your tenants are not living there, you will be asked to repay any rent benefits that your tenants were not entitled to.
Your post is a little confusing as to who your tenant is? ie Just the wife or a joint tenancy husband and wife?

If their relations have been invited to stay as guests for less than 6 weeks then you may have no alternative but to let them stay as "holiday guests". Unless your tenancy stipulates how many days/weeks guests can stay as a guest.

Confirm who is paying the utilities and Council Tax.

You need to have your tenant/tenants sign and date a Deed of Surrender when they finally vacate, and take and agree meter readings etc. when you do the checkout and complete the checkout inventory.

Happy housing

13:18 PM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

Hi Fred similar situation, very frustrating as tenant just blocks you. Having an agent helps with getting documents correct they usually have better solicitors. Though they do make mistakes and don't care about the property like the LL, it's now a different ball game compared to last year, rent increases etc. LL need to learn more about property now otherwise they fall victim to mistakes is what I've learnt.

Happy housing

13:22 PM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 16/08/2023 - 13:14The tenant probably still claiming the uc and name on council tax, nothing stops them from other people moving in. When the UC payments stop then you know. You need evidence.

Martin Hicks

13:41 PM, 16th August 2023, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 16/08/2023 - 13:12
My agent is very thorough when selecting tenants and visits the property regularly and reports with photos about it's condition and checks the tenants are as they say they are. Removes a lot of hassle and stress on me during the past 29 years!

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