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

by Readers Question

15:32 PM, 9th January 2019
About 2 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

Mike

11:17 AM, 11th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 11/01/2019 - 09:33Indeed you are right seething landlord, I did mean all existing tenancies, which really means all those tenancies predating 1st October 2015, all of those from 1st October 2018 must now be brought up in line with the current deregulations Act, which means all those landlords who have not yet done so, they must now serve or give their tenants all the necessary paperwork to comply with the current regulations. Without which a Section 21 Notice would not be valid
I hope that clears any misunderstanding.

Giles Peaker

19:42 PM, 11th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ela at 09/01/2019 - 16:18
It is rare for cases against a council for their 'placing' of tenants with private landlords to be brought, but there is at least one example of it being successful - Minter v Mole Valley District Council (2011)
https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2011/12/to-let-or-not-to-let/
It is only a county court case, so not a precedent, but might offer some suggestions to consider. Key is that the council knowingly misrepresented the tenant's suitability and past conduct.

Giles Peaker

19:50 PM, 11th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 11/01/2019 - 11:17
Hi Mike. I think you are muddling things up. For a pre 1 October 2015 tenancy that is still continuing, the Gas Safety Certificate rules haven't changed. Nor do the EPC or 'How to Rent Guide' requirements. See https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2018/09/autumn-mellow-fruitfulness-and-new-section-21-rules/

Of course, if a new fixed term (aka a 'replacement tenancy') was granted on or after 1 October 2015, all those rules apply.

Mike

2:50 AM, 12th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Confused and muddled as we all might be, since when is letting a premises made any easier with endless legislation and only lawyers can understand, what chance do we have even when Judges are confused and throw out many cases when they don't have to.
So what is a best strategy in a similar scenario is to cover as many angles as possible, would you want to take a risk of your case being thrown out over a small technical issue and wait another two or three months for another hearing and more expense and still get it wrong.
The whole bunch is confused and no one can give a precise answer, the outcome of a case depends who the judge
is and what he ate for his breakfast. That is how this housing Act legislation can be summed up in brief. No kidding does anyone has a clear answer? Do we need a degree in housing law before we can start renting so called houses made of bricks?

Giles Peaker

9:46 AM, 12th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 12/01/2019 - 02:50
There is a clear answer in my post that I linked to.

I agree the way MHCLG approached this - the 1 October 2015 changes - has been unhelpful, complicated and difficult to work out. The updated section 21 validity flowchart on Nearly Legal has been much in demand, by landlords, lawyers, advisors and indeed judges.

Lyn Mallee

10:49 AM, 12th January 2019
About 2 months ago

If a tenant owes 8 weeks or more in rent then you can request that the housing benefit be paid direct to yourself the landlord. A letter needs to be sent to the council /housing benefit stating the amount and the fact that it is more than 8 weeks and state that you would therefore like to request that the housing benefit be paid directly to you.

Ela

11:09 AM, 12th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Lyn Mallee at 12/01/2019 - 10:49
Problem is she refuses to apply for housing benefit , my understanding is she wants to cause as much possible damage to me possible as she perceives me as a foreigner with a property to let. There are no claims put by her to claim. Despite my relentless efforts for her to apply she simply lied to me and put no application. She sits back and enjoys my property and my sufferings. Disgustingly law allows her. If I was to challenge her the same law would give me a criminal record for harassment. I am sick to the stomach. I can not stop thinking about the damage she may cause to my property when eviction on it’s way. It was from beginning she moved to my property with malicious intention. Thus not even applying for her housing benefit.

Ela

11:17 AM, 12th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Even more disgusting is one night leading up to Christmas she called me complaining about electricity cut. I had to find an emergency electrician who quoted me 400 pounds to check the reason. Luckily the electrician I usually use answered my call at 10.30pm to assist. He did not charge me as he sorted the issue by phone call to her. It turns out she put some cheap Christmas lights which caused the cut. She was telling me her daughters medication was in the fridge and I had to find a solution. Sadly I could not even tell her you pay no rent and sort it out yourself. My understanding is I still have to attend her needs otherwise face persecution.

Mike

14:04 PM, 12th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Hi Ela, I know how you feel, doesn't it make your blood boil! our hands are tied behind our back and we keep getting insulted, there is very little the law is doing to protect landlords, how can the lawmakers protect us when they themselves brand us "bastard Landlords"

I wonder what she would have done if the power cut was due to an external cause, and would she have then telephoned her power company and screamed mad at them to restore her power immediately because of her poor daughter's medicine might get spoiled!
No wonder you feel like boarding up the place and not rent it out. Hire a lawyer and get her out.

Ela

14:31 PM, 12th January 2019
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 12/01/2019 - 14:04
Hi Mike, it certainly does every minute. The perceived view of landlords in this country shocking. All political parties and tenants seem to blame the landlords for the housing crises. Yet I see complaining tenants lived/lives their to full potential not saving, taking lots of overseas holidays, going out each weekend and then cry, complain to the governments and blame landlords. I personally made my own money for my properties by working from age of 17 and nearly full time through my university, for some years 6 days in a week. I was getting home around 8pm and start 8.30 following day, took no holidays for 10 years to save. And now this young woman with 3 young kids, whom never paid a penny in tax with the knowledge of how to play the system enjoying my hard earned property. I also as a tax payer subsidise her choice of life style, ie having 3 kids with no means to look after them. There is always going to be people with no moral values, how can it be fair to let these people live on someone else’s expense so many months. Again her life style choice is not my problem, I pay tax for policy makers to prevent issues, not for them to create laws to prevent her homelessness at my expense.
I have no sympathy for people like her and even stoped giving money to certain charities because of this lowlife.

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