Urgent help needed: Tenant troubles, rent arrears, and court setbacks

Urgent help needed: Tenant troubles, rent arrears, and court setbacks

9:40 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago 50

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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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Comments

Happy housing

10:19 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

I went through a similar situation, luckily after 2 months dwp rent payments came directly to my agent but I'm not how how the tenant can stop this. After 2 months housing cost elements should come to you directly. It's very unlikely I will also see the rent arrears over 4k and damage to my property cost me alot. Very hard to get the money afterwards if you can trace them

Happy housing

10:19 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Complaints will do nothing to dwp, they do not see the LL as a concern.

Southern Boyuk

10:43 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

If you have notified universal credit that the housing benefit is being paid and the tenant is not paying you, you can request that to be paid directly to you. if universal credit refused to do that tell the case officer that the tenant is creating fraud to which they are aiding and that you will be reporting the case.

You should also be able to claim from universal credit arrears, which will be deducted from the tenants Universal payments, they should not exceed 20%.

The Solicitor who screwed your application up, you have a case against, I trust they never charged you. as a minimum, you should get your court fees back and any fees paid to them. How are you decide on compensation for their inefficiency is don’t you?.

I suggest you take the tenant to court to gain a CCJ because you’re going to put a black mark on them for the future, then if you have to do it again, re apply to the courts for recovery of the property.

If the agent handling, the AST and guarantor was not performed correctly, which you state the deed of guarantor was never signed, you have a case against them and you can sue them. If you’ve got all your ducks lined up with the evidence who knows what compensation you’ll be able to claim from the courts.

I trust you told your mortgage company that you were letting the property, as it would be a breach of your mortgage deed, if not, they could foreclose on you and the Tenant.

Of course, any income that you received on the property is taxable, whilst you can claim expenses you cannot claim for loss of income.

Many of us are going through this, which is why many of us are getting out of the market. The bias towards tenants, who should be protected, is now far too great.

Martin Thomas

10:44 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Seriously, you couldn't make it up! What a terrible turn of events but sadly, I suspect not unique.
Interesting that 'Happy Housing''s agent managed to get DWP to pay the housing element directly to them after only 2 months. I would love to hear that "the rules" say that the housing element SHOULD or MUST be paid to the landlord when arrears reach a certain point but this probably isn't the case.

Happy housing

10:49 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Southern Boyuk at 02/02/2024 - 10:43The person is already in debt, you cannot go around suing people like ita a free service this costs alot of money. You a need better solution. Rent arrears should be paid by dwp not matter if it takes 1 year or 5 years.

Happy housing

10:52 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Thomas at 02/02/2024 - 10:44
I was in a similar situation all last year full on stress. Once tenant starts keeping the housing costs this is when the trouble starts my property turned out to be a wreck after costs my over 5k just to bring it back to some standards.

Southern Boyuk

10:54 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

If the Tenant is taking the piss and ruining your life, and getting away with it. There should be a stain on their character so that no other landlord could fall into this financial trap. Also with the CCJ mobile phone credit card and many other things are affected. It’s worth a Court fees just to get even.

Happy housing

10:56 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Southern Boyuk at 02/02/2024 - 10:54
Same situation, my x tenant didn't even pay the bills. They don't care about ccj.

Southern Boyuk

11:10 AM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

In extreme circumstances, the tenant may not worry about a CCJ, that the CCJ will put financial pressures on them. They will also be a mandatory repayment schedule, however, small until the debt is paid off. The misery caused to you will be played back.

Of course, there are other tenants who just get into a bad financial situation, and the CCJ hurts them, they work hard to pay off the debt and some become good tenants once again.

It’s just those tenants who have no care at all that we as landlords have a responsibility to identify so that we are neither passed or pass them on to another landlord.

Sheridan Vickers

12:06 PM, 2nd February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Southern Boyuk at 02/02/2024 - 10:43
I requested UC to pay me direct but the rotten tenant had control over what was given to me and he was on a really cheap rent (£800 - you can't even get a room for that let alone a whole flat) and he couldn't even pay that. UC only paid £216 so when the government say we must take people on benefits, I would say every time, take a hike. This is scandalous and is surely illegal. How can they think us landlords do not rely on the rent?? They make me sick the whole lot of them. I'm owed thousands in arrears and the property is a mess. A right dirty ponce. They're all in this together and I would rather go to prison than bow down to any of these idiots running the show.

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