Terrible time with council tenant and shock at how law treats landlords

by Readers Question

15:32 PM, 9th January 2019
About 6 months ago

Terrible time with council tenant and shock at how law treats landlords

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Terrible time with council tenant and shock at how law treats landlords

I recently bought a property and wanted to rent it a 6 months on short term assured tenancy. I have been using the local council with my other property and had no issues in the past as they would always pay the rent to me directly. This time I used a neighbouring borough.

The housing team did not give me much information about the scheme I was introduced to and the tenant was putting me under so much pressure to sign the contract. I received a call from the council housing team and was assured the tenants checks were made and she can afford and will be paying the rent to me. As I always received the rent directly paid to me from my other property with my local council, I assumed this would be the case.

I sent an email to the council asking them to confirm that the rent will be paid to me. I have not received a confirmation but received the above phone call. Previously I signed the contract in my local council offices as I knew the tenant was pushing me and the council and I met the tenant in the property to sign the contract. She arrived with other 5 family members.

I realised I would have troubles with them and I did not want to sign, but felt I would get a backlash and signed. From that moment I knew I was in trouble. I called the council to ask if they are processing her housing benefit. I was told that they were not the one who will be paying as my property is not in their borough which was never mentioned before and it was up to my tenant to apply for her housing benefit at the local council where my property is based. I was shocked.

I have contacted my tenant who confirmed that she has but never had. I contacted my usual contact where she would apply, but was confirmed that there was no application for my property. She has not paid a penny in rent and it has been 2 months. Every time I contact her she claims that she paid the rent and was going to send me the evidence. Just insulting me.

I have complained to the council which introduced her to me with several calls and emails. They contacted her and they were told the same that she paid. They arranged to meet her to chat, but she cancelled at last point. I have told the council that I was getting legal help and I complained that they were the ones put me in this situation by misleading me. They have not accepted or denied any of it they said they did their checks, but would not tell me what checks or whether if they knew the tenant had previous bad behaviour before introducing her to me.

The council which introduced her told me that they have no property to offer to her and that they believe she will pay me the rent arrears. Basically I was let down by them and they will not offer me any help. I will be issuing a section 8 notice to my tenant, but I am very upset to find out that it will take 6 months to evict her (already been in my property 2 months rent free) the cost of mortgage payments and legal cost not to mention the possible damage considering the tenants behaviour so far has effected my well being.

Could you please advise is there any solution to my situation.

I am shocked how the councils housing team put me in this situation and all they are doing is believing that she will make a payment even though I have sent them evidences of my tenant’s string of lies about how she has applied for her benefit, and when, how much she paid etc and and my bank statements to prove that was not the case.

Finding out how the law treats landlords was another shock.

It seems people’s homelessness is prevented on tax paying landlords expense. Just looking at the requirements to evict a tenant who paid nothing in rent makes me think that the policy makers want landlords to take care of people’s housing needs. I have already paid a large amount of stamp duty and will be paying income tax next week.

Any thoughts and suggestions would be very welcome at this very stressful times.

Thank you so much.

Ela



Comments

Ela

15:07 PM, 10th January 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 10/01/2019 - 10:41
Thank you Mike. I will do all I can to make sure others not become a victim like I have.

Gary Nock

16:44 PM, 10th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Ela being a landlord is not easy. Experience is a great teacher. You have learned that local authorities and some HB tenants are not to be trusted. If you have not already get some landlord training from the NLA or RLA. You can do the NLAs Foundation course online if needs be. I suspect you have been self managing the properties you have. In the early days not using an agent and taking out rent insurance guarantee is exposing you to risk. Get a good legal team behind you and let them deal with it. It will be frustrating but do not let this get to you. Once it's all over reflect on the experience and decide what rental market you want to be in, if you want HB tenants, if you wish to self manage, and if you have a policy of ALWAYS taking out rent insurance guarantee following thorough referencing of the tenant. In 17 years of being a landlord and an agent I have had two evictions over 50 properties and around 400 tenancies. And that was in my first 3 years of being a landlord. There have been none since 2005. And the ABC method of assume nothing, believe nobody, check everything works. I used it in a previous career. Property 118 is a fantastic forum for help and assistance. Mark Alexander and Neil Patterson have put together a tremendous resource. They actually supported and encouraged me in letting my own properties and then being an agent. The people on this site don't know all the answers but we collectively know the answers to most landlord problems. Good luck in dealing with these shysters of tenants. Regards Gary.

Ela

18:43 PM, 10th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 10/01/2019 - 16:44
Dear Gary, thank you very much for taking the time and sharing your experience and advice. I certainly agree with all of your comments and also i agree your comment about this website. I have seen some good advice and discussions on forum section while searching for some help and decided to become a member.

Mark Shine

20:16 PM, 10th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Ela, like yourself, I let a couple of properties via 2 different council’s housing teams referral ‘schemes’ about a decade ago.

In short, I never will again.

My experience was not too dissimilar to yours and it took many months to get one of the council’s non paying ‘clients’ out.

That was via S21, as was advised not to waste time with S8. But that was then. Hopefully the S8 route is now a little more achievable than it used to be?

Best of luck to you!

Kate Mellor

23:26 PM, 10th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ela at 10/01/2019 - 11:24
Ela, don’t waste any more time chasing these people. They will never give you a penny no matter how long you wait. Get the paperwork underway ASAP. The sooner you act the sooner you’ll have your property back. I wish you all the best with it.

Mike

0:46 AM, 11th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Another thing landlords need to be aware of is when bringing their pre-October 2015 tenancies up to date to meet the current Deregulation Act, is to make sure when serving a Gas Safe certificate that is issued within the last 28 days, in other words even if you have a gas safe certificate issued let us say 6 months ago, and it still has 6 more months to go, do not give that copy to your tenants, get a gas safe engineer to issue you a new one even if it means you have got to pay an engineer his charges to issue you a fresh certificate, because one of the conditions of the new deregulations states that when GSC is renewed, a copy must be given to a tenant within 28 days.
Most landlords who don't personally attend when gas safe engineer is carrying out safety checks, it is usual for him to ask tenants to sign the certificate, which is also your proof that a copy was given to a tenant there and then on the same day the service or safety checks were carried out, as the tenants would have signed the certificate, a copy for the landlord is normally posted or emailed to the landlord by most GS engineers. I had to do just that to avoid court throwing any section 21 possession orders out of the window, just because the tenants were not given the GSC within 28 days.
This is the certificate that my tenant refused to accept and now it is already out of date (gone over 28 days) so I will have to pay my GS Engineer third time this year to issue me a new one, so that I can post that new one to my tenant within 28 days of its issue.

Old Mrs Landlord

8:50 AM, 11th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 11/01/2019 - 00:46Thanks for drawing this to our attention. It is not something I had realised. We have a longstanding tenant who plans to leave in the next few months whose cert. is due shortly so it seems we will probably have to get two inspections done in quick succession. What a waste of time and money!

Seething Landlord

9:33 AM, 11th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 11/01/2019 - 00:46
Mike I think this might be causing a bit of confusion and take it that you are only referring to the situation where for some reason a copy of the gsc was not given to an existing tenant within 28 days of issue. My understanding is that for a new tenancy a current gsc must be given to the tenant before the commencement of the tenancy but the date of issue or expiry is irrelevant. Please correct me if I am wrong as this is a potentially very serious matter.

Ela

10:02 AM, 11th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Ela

10:07 AM, 11th January 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Shine at 10/01/2019 - 20:16
I will never let to council tenants. I prefer to board up the property and pay mortgage.

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