9:40 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago 50
Hello, I rented out my only house in April 2022 due to a job opportunity in a different city. Two months into the agreement, the tenant claimed job loss and sought support from DWP and the council. Throughout the process, the tenant was uncooperative and failed to provide evidence for her claims. Unfortunately, I couldn’t evict her until waiting at least four months to serve the notice.
I had full landlord insurance covering rent arrears and legal expenses. To secure the property, I requested a guarantor through the agency, who underwent a credit check and signed the agreement.
When the tenant fell into rent arrears after four weeks, I filed a claim with the insurance. However, after two months of document verification, they denied the guarantor’s liability due to the absence of a signed guarantor deed. This resulted in a cancellation of my claim, causing not only the loss of precious time but also additional expenses.
Furthermore, I came to the crucial realization that the tenant and the agency were collaboratively involved in this situation, even though I lacked solid evidence to substantiate my claim. They even share family connections, adding to the complexity of the matter. In summary, I found myself as a victim of this intricate scenario, with no alternative but to disengage.
Simultaneously, the tenant continued to send emails asserting that she had applied for DWP assistance to cover the rent. Taking matters into my own hands, I reached out to the officers and discovered that she had been receiving housing elements for over three months (since January 2023) and retaining the funds without allocating them toward rent.
Despite submitting applications for a Direct Rent Payment on more than 20 occasions, each time the tenant intervened and canceled the requests. Despite my complaints to DWP’s case manager and multiple requests for contact, including escalated phone calls, they consistently ignored me. Consequently, the tenant persists in occupying my property, making no rental payments, and receiving DWP’s housing elements for over 13 months.
I enlisted the services of a reputable solicitor (based on reviews, etc.) to serve the notice, and my hearing was scheduled for August, experiencing delays due to court backlogs. During the hearing, I was informed that the solicitor failed to allow an extra two days for the postage process, resulting in a one-day shortfall, causing me to lose the court case and necessitating a restart. Subsequently, I engaged another solicitor to serve both notices, 8 and 21.
However, as I prepared to apply for court proceedings, the tenant initiated a breathing space application, hindering my ability to proceed. Attempts to cancel the breathing space due to non-payment and accumulating debt were unsuccessful, as they favored the tenant, who was engaged in fraudulent activities, and I provided evidence to support my claims.
In January, I attended another hearing where I obtained a possession order and a money order totaling more than £18k. The court granted permission to transfer the case to the high court, extending the tenant’s time from two to four weeks. However, just four days prior to the expiration date, the tenant reached out to the court, seeking an extension due to her ongoing application with the homeless team. The court contacted my solicitor, but as he was in a meeting, despite not providing us with enough time, the court proceeded to make a decision in only two hours after their phone call, granting the tenant an additional four weeks to stay in my property without paying rent.
I’ve submitted an additional application to set aside the previous decision and prompt a reconsideration. It is evident that the tenant is employing a mere delay tactic, attempting to prolong her stay to secure more housing benefits and accumulate additional income. As of now, she has received over £11k. Despite my persistent efforts to follow up with the court on a daily basis, they do not appear to be proactive, unlike their swift response to the tenant’s requests within a few hours.
I genuinely require assistance and advice to determine whether a judge can alter their decision without substantial evidence, especially since their secretary confirmed the absence of evidence from the tenant, who is not facing extreme difficulties.
As previously stated, this property is my sole possession. Losing a job opportunity in London has compounded the financial strain, as I must fulfill mortgage and rent obligations due to a non-paying tenant. Consequently, I am at risk of losing my house and facing homelessness, having depleted all my savings accumulated over years of work without any assistance or support.
Given the tenant’s familiarity with the system and its loopholes, I am seeking guidance on options to recover my owed funds. What are the most effective strategies for handling this situation, including any procedures involving banks?
Additionally, I need clarification on when and how to establish contact with the high court. During the hearing, the judge mentioned that the high court bailiff would evict the tenant the day after the specified 28 days. However, upon reaching out to several companies, they advised that acquiring the right would take a few weeks, followed by the need to serve another notice independently.
I am also interested in understanding the avenues available for filing complaints against the DWP. Despite my consistent efforts, spanning 13 months, which include numerous contacts, letters, and reports urging the discontinuation of payments to the tenant to encourage her to vacate my property, it appears that the DWP is aligning with and supporting her.
Feeling trapped in a relentless cycle of this problem for over 22 months, any assistance and advice you can provide will be genuinely appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my situation.
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