Tenants fallen out and neither will leave?

by Readers Question

9:29 AM, 3rd June 2020
About 4 months ago

Tenants fallen out and neither will leave?

Make Text Bigger
Tenants fallen out and neither will leave?

I have 2 tenants in my property who each rent a room each and share a communal space. Since living together, they have argued non-stop over really petty things and were contacting me daily to complain about each other.

Finally, it escalated in January and in February one of them went to stay with her Mum and hasn’t been back to the property since.

I had offered to release both of them early from the contract if they were so unhappy, but both declined and said they didn’t see why they should have to move out when they were happy there and blaming the other person for being anti-social and impossible to deal with.

Just before lockdown I pre-warned both of them that I would be taking back possession of the property once the minimum 6 months were up. One of the girls replied and said that she had found somewhere else to stay and was actually moving her stuff out the following week as she was taking me up on my offer to leave early. No notice nothing! At this point I just wanted one of them to leave because it had got seriously stressful waking up to early morning messages from them both.

That was just before we went in to lockdown in March. Obviously as soon as that happened she was unable to come and remove her belongings. She then lost her job and was really worried about her Mums health as she already has a lung disease so she was staying with her and being very strict on the self-isolation which I totally understood.

I volunteered a reduction in rent for April to help her out and I couldn’t get new tenants in at that point anyway. I thought I was doing her a favour and that as soon as she could she would remove her belongings.

I haven’t received any rent since 4th March and she has now applied for housing benefit.

We discussed everything over email and I said that as the restrictions were lifting, and house moves could go ahead now I really need her to get her stuff and vacate the rooms. She agreed and was due to move her stuff out next weekend 6th June. I then found new tenants who gave notice on their current property and were going to move in later in June.

She has now emailed me and said that she doesn’t want to find another shared property because she doesn’t want to mix with other people while her mum is sick. She wants to apply to the council to house her in her own flat as she is unemployed and on benefits now but that they will not help her if she leaves my property voluntarily. So she wants me to start eviction process.

1. she hasn’t lived in my property since end of January she has just left her belonging there so even by me evicting her is not making her homeless
2. Granted her mum has a small flat but she can stay there she is not on the street
3. Where do I stand with these emails agreeing to move out already and then suddenly changing her mind because she wants a council property?

I know I’ve made this situation worse by being understanding and agreeing terms outside of the contract. The contract states that after the 6 months minimum (4th May) she has to give me 6 weeks’ notice to leave which she has never done.

If I want her to leave I need to issue section 21 with 3 month’s notice but I’m wondering if she will then ignore this in order for me to go to court so she is made legally homeless for the benefit of her council house application

This is the first and last time I rent a property, any advice would be gratefully received.

Many thanks,

Stacie



Comments

JohnCaversham

11:09 AM, 3rd June 2020
About 4 months ago

Eeee nowt queer as tenants! Does she realise how long the waiting list is for council property! She won't be anywhere near the top of the list for years and years...Give her a reality check, council house data and waiting times will be available from local authority, that may focus her somewhat...

Dr Rosalind Beck

11:22 AM, 3rd June 2020
About 4 months ago

You might want to look up the Distress for Rent Act. If she has given notice in writing that she will leave by a certain date it could be that she is liable for double rent from that date. Telling her that might persuade her to leave.

David Price

11:35 AM, 3rd June 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 03/06/2020 - 11:22Section 18 of the Distress for Rent Act 1735 Section is just about the only part of the act which has not been repealed. Beware take a copy of the act to court if this becomes necessary as most Judges are unaware of the act.
Apart from the notorious 1215 act this is the earliest act I have ever had to quote in court.

Penny DJ

17:14 PM, 3rd June 2020
About 4 months ago

You could tell her that you have accepted her notice for the 6th, which was just after the contract ended and you had stated that you were not renewing. Tell her that you will be informing the council/universal credit that she is living with her mother at that address and now cannot return to a house during lockdown. I would suggest that you OFFER to pack up her belongings and convey them to her mum’s address, or store them at your expense temporarily.
If she is waiting for eviction then that will be another 6 months minimum and she won’t pay anything else. You can tell her you have another contract, and if she doesn’t leave she makes them homeless, so they will get a house and she will get blacklisted by the council.

Ingrid Bacsa

21:55 PM, 3rd June 2020
About 4 months ago

You say she is in a room . If you are all sharing your residence, its up to you entirely. Are the bills all in your name? Is she using your kitchen?
She has no choice. Hold her to the notice unless you can work out another a way that suits you.

michelle green

23:55 PM, 3rd June 2020
About 4 months ago

Some great advice above.
Also point out that you will have to inform the council that she was behind/not paying her rent (if this is the case), and this will be classified as making herself intentionally homeless. Councils generally will use every possible reason not to house people, especially where there are no children involved. Non payment of rent will count against her.

Kate Mellor

9:52 AM, 4th June 2020
About 4 months ago

You should make it clear that you will be forced to provide copies of your email conversations to the council (which your contract with her should allow as it’s for the prevention of fraud), which will show that she moved out of the property of her own volition in March and hasn’t lived there or even visited the property since. She has made it clear that she is only leaving her belongings there to fraudulently claim she is homeless and jump the council housing queue. I’d say the council would take a dim view of her actions and tell her to sling her hook. Once she realises the council know her true situation her motivation to keep the room is removed.

Ingrid Bacsa

0:37 AM, 5th June 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by michelle green at 03/06/2020 - 23:55
True ... but Councils will do everything to stop landlords forcing someone out in order to reduce homeless levels. I wouldnt worry about the Council. She is, from the sounds of it, an "unoccupied tenant" same as being a "lodger". A live in Landlord cannot grant a shorthold tenancy - even if you have written one by mistake. She does not have protection from eviction..

Freda Blogs

14:48 PM, 5th June 2020
About 4 months ago

Look up Doctrine of Estoppel. You relied on and acted on her representation that she was leaving on 6/6, and if she doesn't you will now suffer loss.

Aside from the fact that fact that no S21s will be get into court for months, you could suggest you will claim from her for your losses as a result of her changing her mind after you had acted to relet based on her assurance to vacate, which can no longer proceed. Don't know how it would hold up legally, but just saying it to her might be enough to make her realise she can't just chop and change her mind and mess you about without any sort of consequences.

Puzzler

20:02 PM, 5th June 2020
About 4 months ago

The ban on eviction commencement has just been increased to five months - an extension of a further two months to August 23rd

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

Meet Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law) Landlord tax planning strategies - PIN

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