Time to bail but I have a Council notice of improvement?

by Readers Question

15:59 PM, 6th February 2017
About 4 years ago

Time to bail but I have a Council notice of improvement?

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Time to bail but I have a Council notice of improvement?

Hi I have decided BTL is no longer for me. I wish to sell ahead of the upcoming accountancy changes (I.e. mortgage no longer deductible etc).bail out

Before I enlist an estate agent to sell the property, I have a few hurdles to overcome:

– Council has served an improvement notice with 2 mo this for compliance (to repair the heating situation).
– My tenants first signed a 12 month AST on 14th March 2016.

I am wondering if I should try sell my property before:

A) The council notice improvement deadline in April 2017

B) If the 12 month AST started March 2016 then when should I serve section 21? I imagine having to give 2 month notice period may mean I have to comply with the council’s notice

C) I imagine the tenant (rightfully) complained to the council and whilst I am regretful of the situation, I have provided “temporary” heating which has lasted much longer since the heating conked in after Christmas and between NY.

Coincidental but I don’t want it to appear as a revenge eviction, its simply the changes in today’s BTL world, which I would like to bail whilst minimising any negative consequences. Tenants seem happy with the explanation and are OK to start looking elsewhere, however I will call the council tomorrow to explain I will look to comply (worst case I recoup the cost of the heating repair from the sale).

Appreciate guidance as I am unsure whether I can evict without this appearing vengeful, are there any other aspects I need to consider. I have protected the deposit and prescribed in the first 40 days, have all the necessary checks and tests (per the initial on boarding of the tenant etc) so all in shape except recent events.

Kind regards
Terry

Comments

Annie Landlord

9:29 AM, 7th February 2017
About 4 years ago

Are you a member of the RLA or NLA Terry? If you're not, to be honest it would be worth your joining (£75/£80pa) You can then call their advice line and get the answers to all of your questions. The dates on S21 notices have to be very precise and the council notice is definitely a complication. It isn't worth trying to fly alone on this one. You need professional advice.

Gary Dully

10:38 AM, 7th February 2017
About 4 years ago

The law views this as a revenge eviction, due to the improvement notice.

Step 1. Get the heating fixed

Step 2. Get it signed off for proof for council, they will come back and check.

Step 3. Get a valuation by a few estate agents to consider your position, after giving written notice of their visit to your tenant.

Step 4. Offer to cover some /all your tenants moving costs, if you decide to sell, before the improvement notice has expired and 6 months have elapsed in exchange for a signed tenancy surrender document, if you are feeling generous.

Step 5.
As far as the Section 21 notice goes you can't issue until 6 months has elapsed.

Part 33 - section 1 of the Deregulation Act 2015 covers this.
Part 34 then contradicts this rule, just to confuse you.

If the tenant is in occupation whilst Conveyancing they will be asked to give written consent before contracts are exchanged in all circumstances anyway.

A section 21 can be issued if a property is genuinely up for sale.
See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/20/section/34/enacted
But this act is very complex and you should seek legal advice from your solicitor handling your sale.

Terry Lo

13:18 PM, 7th February 2017
About 4 years ago

Thanks for the advice, I will certainly tread very cautiously and 100% will not be issuing the section 21 this month.

Got off a call with the council and what confused me is the opening letter specified timelines for remedial action but when I spoke to him he said this is not an improvement notice!!!

He is comfortable that I am engaging/ being responsive and mentioned it would not necessarily progress down the more formal route of an improvement notice as long as I keep him in the loop.

I will get the heating fixed (they still have the temporary heaters) but will hopefully close this in the next few weeks.

I will let the contract run to a natural end mid March and then issue section 21 after that giving a two month notice period.

If I tread cautiously with the tenant and council I might just get lucky...will revert back next month!

Michael Barnes

14:02 PM, 7th February 2017
About 4 years ago

You seem to think that the S21 must be dated 2 months prior to the expiry date. That is not the case.

The notice can be more than two months, so can be issued and dated any date that gives at least 2 months notice.
So you could issue S21 now to expire 2 months after the end of the fixed term.

Bob Plumb

14:27 PM, 7th February 2017
About 4 years ago

Its a shame your throwing in the towel so early, but i can see how the estimate for heating could put you off £350-3000 is miles apart, finding a decent tradesman who actually knows what he is doing,with reasonable charges is getting harder.

Rob Crawford

17:10 PM, 7th February 2017
About 4 years ago

As per Gary Dully but also consider selling with sitting tenants - estate agents should be able to advise on investor interest in this option.

Terry Lo

17:36 PM, 23rd February 2017
About 4 years ago

Just by way of update, the council tenant has suggested that when we reach mid march that she has a new tenancy agreement in place.

She didn't specify why, but alluded to the council needing some form of agreement, which I suggested she contact the council to send me written explanation behind this.

My preference is to move onto a rolling periodic monthly contract (which I presume does not require a new form to be signed etc) and this will allow flexibility from my side if I decide to sell.

As there is no formal notice of improvement is there any risk that this can be seen as a revenge action (I.e. if I decide not to renew or issue an AST contract?)

Assuming the tenant does have a credible/legit reason for renewing the AST lease hopefully a 6 month AST would appease the council...however playing devil's advocate what if I pushed for a new lease with a 10% rental increase, which I. don't believe the tenant could afford but the rise is modest...would this be seen as a revenge behaviour to push her out? Not sure if the "revenge" angle still applies since there is no formal notice of improvement.

Thanks in advance

Ray .

22:17 PM, 24th February 2017
About 4 years ago

Don't worry too much, just play along and give a one page signed letter indicating your tenant has moved onto a periodic rolling contract.

Doesn't really matter on the revenge front now that this is not a formal notice (just make sure the council continue eating out of your hand - I.e. keep them updated with the progress you are making with respect to the remediations and this will avoid a formal notice).

You can give any excuse to kick her out, even if you raise the rent by 30% and the tenant wishes to leave then that is no fault of your own.

Play the long game, appease your stakeholders and once your snitchy tenant is gone then get a more straightforward tenant in.

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