Tenants in HMO Fighting

by Readers Question

12:09 PM, 28th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Tenants in HMO Fighting

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Tenants in HMO Fighting

I have two long-term tenants in one of my HMO’s who obviously have a vendetta against each other. One is a fiftiesh builder, and the other is a younger thirty something. Both single guys. Their rooms have a common wall, through a party wall (I have two HMOs back to back). In the past they have complained a bit about the other one knocking , making a noise, etc etc, but it all seemed to settle down …Tenants in HMO Fighting

They have waited until I was away on a family holiday across the world to have a real go : 50ish started hurling abuse from the front garden up to 30ish. 30ish called the police and 50ish was arrested and an official Police caution given.

Both tenants were inherited with the house, purchased 3 years ago. No sign of any ASTs and no sign of deposits transferred from previous landlord.

So what to do …? We have issued both with about three warning letters etc in the past.which seemed to end the previous shenanigans. Both pay their rent every month, and both seem personable when spoken to…

Section 21 for the guy with the caution..? Section 21 for both…? How do we stand with no paperwork for either…..I presume there is an ongoing month-by-month tenancy so only a months’ notice needs to be given in either case…?

Any advice welcome. I am not going to do anything until next week when I return from overseas anyway

Many thanks

Ian



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:16 PM, 28th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Ian

You could always sell tickets to the big fight, who would your money be on? LOL 🙂

Seriously though, if they are not doing any harm to anybody other than each other I'd probably just let them get on with it. Boys will be boys and all that.

The minute they stop paying rent, disrespecting the neighbours or disrespecting the property though I'd take a very different view.

Given there is no paperwork, they've been there for 3 years and there is no deposit paid then s21 shouldn't really pose too many problems. If in doubt consult the experts >>> http://www.property118.com/tenant-eviction/39099/

If I was you I'd serve them both section 21 as soon as you get back but I would explain to them that you don't intend to go to Court to enforce it and get a possession order unless there is further trouble, in which case you will evict them both regardless of who is at fault. This should focus their minds again.

NOTE - there is currently no time limit by which you must apply for a Court order after serving a s21 notice.

Good luck and enjoy the rest of your holiday 🙂
.

Romain Garcin

14:16 PM, 28th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Could there possibly be an impact on the landlord insurance from the police caution?

Many policies are conditional on tenants having no convictions, or at least on the insurer being informed of the convictions.
I know that a caution is not a conviction but I have read many horror stories (Google "police caution and insurance").

Jamie M

16:02 PM, 28th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Give a final warning that next time you will -Take them to court where you can ask for a suspended possession order. This allows you to evict them at any time they make a nuisance after that.

Mark Alexander

18:54 PM, 28th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jamie Moodie" at "28/08/2014 - 16:02":

Why not do that now?
.

Ian Simpson

18:55 PM, 28th August 2014
About 4 years ago

OK, some useful advice there thanks guys. I think I will take Mark's advice and serve both with a Section 21 as suggested. I think serving a section 8 for perceived nuisance is almost impossible to get held up in court...

Christopher Browne

1:16 AM, 31st August 2014
About 4 years ago

Romain,

Thats an interesting point. Are you suggesting that a landlord's insurance cover would be invalid if the landlord had a tenant with a conviction? Should landlords be asking prospective tenants about previous convictions as part of their due dil... that would need to be a well framed question!

I can't believe that really is the case, however insurance companies are not charities so I suppose any way they can get out of paying up I'm sure they will try.

Steve Masters

8:35 AM, 31st August 2014
About 4 years ago

A couple of years ago I had a HMO tenant tell me that an another tenant "Exposed" himself to her returning from the shared bathroom. I spoke to both at length, told the guy to cover up at all times and as it was a first offence and a plausible mistake I suggested they make up and move on.

A few months later when I was on holiday it happened again, she called the police and he was arrested. I used Paul Shamplina at Landlord Action to get him evicted, serving papers on him in prison!.

I felt incredible guilty for not dealing with it more strongly at the time.

A few months after that in another inherited HMO house I had one tenant "attack" another tenant in the shared bathroom. The victim called the police. I spoke to both tenants and again is was not 100% clear who was at fault. The police suggested I meet at the house and talk though the incident with both tenants. Fortunately the meeting went well and in front of the police I was able to use my intuition to determine who was at fault. This time I was not taking any chances and issued the aggressor with an S21. During the process the tenant produced a receipt for what he claimed was a deposit that had never been disclosed before and consequently had never been protected. I gave back the deposit (with signed paperwork) and fortunately the tenant moved out amicably without further fuss. Few!

Get it confirmed in writing the status of any deposit from each and every "inherited" tenant.

Serve the appropriate notice and use professionals if you are not experienced or confident you can handle it your self.

As time goes by and the issue unfolds things might change and you can assess whether you go ahead with an eviction or not.

Don't leave any serious issue un-resolved because it is a bit tricky.

Romain Garcin

10:45 AM, 31st August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Christopher Browne" at "31/08/2014 - 01:16":

Hi Christopher,

Yes, this is a real issue.

See this post by Ben Reeve-Lewis: http://www.property118.com/how-minor-criminal-convictions-can-invalidate-a-landlords-insurance/22700/


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