Tenants notice to quit by text

by Readers Question

5:52 AM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Tenants notice to quit by text

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Tenants notice to quit by text

I am being messed about by a young HB tenant. I said never again to young HB tenants, but this time her mum lives on the same road and was happy to be a guarantor, so i accepted her.

After one year she has missed 6 weeks rent due to a HB issue when she tried to work part time. This money is now lost, but is not my concern now. I have issued a section 21 and this will expire the first week in June.

The tenant has texted me her notice to quit giving 2 weeks notice and this expires on Wednesday. Can this text message be a valid form of surrender ? I have a long text exchange printed out you see.

The tenant does not communicate with me and i have been told she may not be leaving after all. So i am in a bit of limbo. I also have new tenants who want the house as soon as possible.

As I see it if she doesn’t move out I will have to enforce the section 21 in a few weeks time, However, if she does move out I don’t want to be in a situation where i re-rent the house out and then get told she wants to live there still.

This is why the text information is important. Would this be seen as a valid notice by the courts if it ever got that far ?

Also on another matter about the guarantor. If I have to go to court to evict and possibly incur more rental losses what is the realistic possibility of getting money from a mother who is on benefits herself ? Could I get the court to deduct weekly payments to cover my losses and costs ? Currently I am down £275 and I am not bothered by this at all so will let it go. But if this rolls on I may well be looking at loosing a greater amount.

I need to fully understand if I am in a good position to reclaim lost money and what is involved. I have not done this before. If I am in a strong position i will explain the ins and outs of it all to the mother and hopefully she will help her daughter move on with as little fuss as possible, if she understand what potential risk she is exposed to. At the moment she thinks no one can touch her, but I don’t think she has been a guarantor before.

Thanks

Johntext



Comments

Gary Dully

11:10 AM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

You have one big issue that you need to resolve, which is the legal possession being granted back to you by a text.
It might never stand up under scrutiny.
As you are already having difficulty with this tenant, suppose that she left her next property under a cloud and was stuck in front of a no win no fee solicitor, trying to obtain money from her next landlord.
That solicitor might ask how the tenant got into this position in the first place..
She might say something on the lines of, I was forced out by my previous landlord after they said I had texted them saying, I would leave, but I didn't.
They said they needed the keys to let the gas man in for a boiler check and they wouldn't give me my keys back afterwards.
I did owe some rent, but I was trying to make an offer of repayment, but they ignored me and tricked me out!

That forced me into being desperate for somewhere to live and I over stretched myself.

Do you think in 9 months time that no win no fee solicitor will show you any mercy?

So the answer to your texted notice should be, sorry my dear that's just not good enough, I want your notice in writing and signed.
A text can be sent by anybody and the only 3 or possibly 4 people who can legally end a tenancy in England or Wales is a tenant or you with the permission of a County Court Judge followed by a bailiff.

You need to read the Prevention From Eviction Act 1977, Section 2, item 5.
It states that notices are only deemed as valid if they contain certain prescribed information. This act has never been repealed, just updated.
You may be walking into a trap!

Obtaining legal possession of a property by text, seems a bit risky, would you agree?

As for the other stuff, although important can be left in the short term and pursued at a later date.
End that tenancy legally first!

Freda Blogs

11:28 AM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Gary is right that you must properly end this tenancy.

I suggest that you arrange to visit the mum asap (with tenant present) and take along a Deed of Surrender for her to sign. Explain about Mum's obligations as guarantor and ongoing liabilities should the tenancy not be ended formally in advance of the expiry/S21 process (and the consequences of proceeding with that, plus possible adverse credit effect), but you are being helpful in letting her out early (and then you can re-let to the interested person, mitigating your losses...).

It doesn't have to be threatening, just pointing out the facts which they probably do not appreciate.

Ian Narbeth

11:56 AM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

John
The text notice is not a valid notice unless your tenancy expressly says it is - unlikely. Therefore the tenant is entitled to stay. If they do go next Wednesday though you can protect yourself by checking the tenant out from the property and confirming verbally that the tenancy has been surrendered.

As to getting money out of the guarantor that may be difficult if she has no assets or proper income. However, the threat of bankruptcy might get her to find the money somewhere. Most people wouldn't want to be bankrupted by their daughter's debts.

john henderson

11:56 AM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Thanks for info. I didn't think the text wouldn't hold much water.

I have heard she is moving out slowly this week.

My problem is that i cannot contact this person. The mum and daughter just do not reply to texts or answer the phone.

So if she does leave this week and i get the keys through the letter box what am i supposed to do with regards to ending a tenancy cleanly if i cannot get her to sign anything ?

Her HB is still running.

Maybe i will just get a text to say "i am out and keys are through the letter box". Would this be proof she has left ?

john henderson

12:25 PM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "20/05/2015 - 11:56":

If she does go this week i will be down about £275 so will just leave this as it is. I am too busy renovating other properties to get sucked into legals.

So if she has gone i will write a letter saying she has vacated on x date and i have received keys. The only place i know she may get this letter is at her mums up the road from my house.

Dr Rosalind Beck

13:36 PM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Are you getting the HB direct? If not, I would ring the council today and say there is reason to believe that if she receives it, she won't pass it on to you, given the issues. I would ask them to place a hold on any more money going directly to her. They will probably then ask you to send a rent schedule to show any missed payments. Depending on your council this may be enough for you to receive any further HB directly, minimising your potential losses. I believe you will never get anything out of her or her guarantor - only if she gets a job within the next 6 years and you can get an attachment of earnings granted. But it may be different where you are - I've never had any success in getting anything deducted from tenants' benefit to pay me what they owe me.

john henderson

13:55 PM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

yes direct payment

Romain Garcin

14:21 PM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

A notice to quit must be in writing, and IMHO a text is in writing.

The issue is probably more one of the method of service, and of the validity in general since 2 weeks notice is not enough: Ie. this is in any case an invalid notice to quit.

Now, it can nevertheless be taken as an offer to surrender, however if the tenant changes his mind and stays then the tenancy continues.

Dr Rosalind Beck

15:41 PM, 20th May 2015
About 4 years ago

And then she will be legally obliged to pay double rent!

David Price

7:19 AM, 21st May 2015
About 4 years ago

Distress for Rent Act 1737, section 18.

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