Wilful damage being caused by my tenant

Wilful damage being caused by my tenant

15:02 PM, 17th February 2014, About 8 years ago 36

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I recently bought a 3 bedroom property off another landlord with an existing tenant who has been there for seven years seven years. I created a new tenancy for 12 months to give the tenant some peace of mind and it has turned out to be a huge mistake!

My tenant is claiming benefits, £530 of her rent is by paid by the council and she tops it up £95 to make it £625 in total.  Her £500 pound deposit is protected with the “my|deposits” scheme and I gave her copy of the precribed information, gas safety certificate and other required documents. I’m telling you this to show that I done my homework unlike most newbie landlords. Wilful damage being caused by my tenants

After completing the purchase and the new paperwork with the tenant I went on holiday for 5 weeks and in my third week I received a text from my cousin who lives two doors away. He explained that the ceiling of my tenants kitchen has signs of damp and there is leakage in the waste pipe in the toilet. I cancelled the rest of my holiday and came back early to sort the problem. I went to take a look for myself and took a builder with me. The day we were supposed to visit her she informed me that ceiling had fallen down. When we went there my builder told me that ceiling damage had been deliberate. He explained that there were signs of damp but this much damp shouldn’t bring the ceiling down.

My builder carried out the work over a two day period by installing flashing lead on roof and by cleaning the guttering pipes and replacing the seals to stop leakage. The whole kitchen ceiling has been replaced and new toilet has also been installed.My tenant then showed me there are signs of damp in third bedroom, which builder believe was because of condensation. We agreed to take a look at that too but my builder couldn’t do anything immediately so we explained that he would be back the following week. Yesterday my tenant informed me that a hole has appeared in the third bedroom in the roof and she can now see sky through the hole which is unbelievable.

My cousin inspected it for me and he is convinced the hole has been created deliberately too.

Mt tenant is now threatening to take me the court. My cousin is her Facebook friend and he’s informed me that she’s been putting up the pics of the damage she has caused and saying that I am a lazy landlord. He told me that her intentions are to take me the court and that she’s looking for easy money.

This tenant has now asked me to provide her a letter to allow her to leave early. I obviously want to get rid of her ASAP too. My question is:

1 – Can I her give her such a letter to allow her to leave early? ( I don’t want to fall into any legal obligations and if that letter can be used as case of harassment to evict her early? )

2 – The property has been inspected again today by another builder and he too confirmed that hole is a deliberate damage, however we do not have a proof that she did it so can I report this to police as criminal damage to the property?

3 – Her AST expires on 12/12/2014. Under the circumstances, is it possible to evict her before then as I am not able to spend huge amount of this deliberate damage as I have already spent £4,000 in two months.

Many thanks for the suggestions.

Regards

Ash



Comments

Adam Hosker

13:25 PM, 19th February 2014, About 8 years ago

I would imagine a judge is an intermediary and not a 3rd party. Their is president for it being admissible and president for judges saying no.

Industry Observer

18:01 PM, 19th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Adam

A Judge is not an intermediary - when in a hole stop digging.

Private calls can be recorded for own purposes and use only and not given to a 3rd party - which would have to happen before anything got anywhere near a Judge anyway.

Take my advice and don't tape a call unless you advise the other party you intend to and they then stay on the line.

I'm now out

Adam Hosker

18:35 PM, 19th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Bye then. But no hole. Calls recorded HAVE BEEN ADMISABLE previously.

Londoner P

16:19 PM, 20th February 2014, About 8 years ago

That is the full stop to this thread. She reported me to EHO and I will be meeting him in 12th of March to see what needs to be done. I learn the following lessons:

1 - DO NOT EVER SIGN A CONTRACT LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS
2 - STAY WELL AWAY FROM PEOPLE ON BENEFITS

There is many flaws in the system when it comes to renting a property. A lot of free support available on internet for tenants but If a landlord is suffering then he has to pay for everything. Charities such Shelter etc making the mockery of landlords.

I have been really upset in the past few days so I may wait till the end of this contract and then put the property on market for sale to say good bye to property business.

Thanks for everyone for the useful support and advise and it is much appreciated as this site has been very helpful and so much knowledge available on here.

Regards

Richard Kent

17:14 PM, 20th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Londoner P" at "20/02/2014 - 16:19":

Ash,
I think you have made the right decision.

If she has reported you to Environmental Health ensure you put your case forward including any photos. They should quickly deduce that you're a good landlord.

Ensure you collect as much evidence against this person as possible including whether she is paying T.V License and water bill etc. Here's why- because in case she is not paying them, the more information you can give these services about her, the more financial pressure it will put on her and that pressure of debt will force her to leave your property also.

If she is more than 8 weeks in arrears make an application for the rent to be paid to you direct. But do not warn her of your intentions.

Apply such lawful pressure where you can, as it will make her stay at your property more stressful.

You WILL have to pay for everything including legal fees unless you have legal cover on your Landlord Insurance.

You will also pay for it by way of stress as you have already acknowledged in your posts.

You now see that everyone thinks you are great, including housing department, when you are offering the property to let.

Isn't it interesting how everyone turns their back on you when there are problems?

Speak to any housing officer from any council and they will probably tell you how they would never purchase a property to let because they hear of so many horror stories like yours.

Opinions differ here on this forum but I think you will find your life a lot easier once you have sold the property.

sharon underwood

10:29 AM, 21st February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Londoner P" at "17/02/2014 - 15:59":

What a nightmare, in a way it is a good thing council are going to view property BUT make sure you attend too & please please take lots of witnesses to that meeting ie builders etc & video the property as it stands, the council may very well try to intimidate you so again please take witnesses & video would be VERY useful. You can evict before tenancy ends its a little bit more difficult but under the circumstances would be worth doing. There are also some good sites online for good cheap legal advice such as lawdepot & basically if they dont answer your questions to YOUR satisfaction you dont pay anything. The previous owner has some responsibility in this aswell but try over avenues before considering causing them problems, its the same with every house sold any problems with neighbours or tenants should have been disclosed at the beginning of purchase. I also have malicious damage cover on my insurance although like most insurance they try not to pay out if they can but as you have builders to testify & the original itinery from the deposit scheme you have a very good chance to get this covered but I would concentrate on getting them out first, tell the council that you can not do any work as they are refusing access & once you have access take as long as you need, take lots of pictures of any repairs & bear in mind that even if boiler goes you have 21 days to repair, so lots of time limits in place. Hope you get this sorted out ive just gone thru all this & i am now trying to pick myself up & carry on, read some of my other posts as there is other options & dont allow council etc to bully you.

Londoner P

11:51 AM, 21st February 2014, About 8 years ago

Thanks Sharon and Richard.

Your advise is much appreciated and meeting with EHO will be on 12th of March. I am going to take all the documents including the completion of purchase which was 4th of December, my passport that I was away for my marriage and went to the property very next day 2nd of February after coming back from holidays. The work was carried out on 8th and 9th of February as I have original receipts and she reported me on 17th. I am taking the builder with me too.

No one can imagine the pain I am going through at the moment. After investing 32k and by giving her favor I have to listen a lot crap from her on the phone and she behave with me like I am a beggar. Every time I talk to her she threatens me by reporting to MP, taking me to the court and asking for huge compensation. It is very distressing situation which I have never faced in the past. It happened at a time when I just got married and seriously not enjoying these precious moments of my life ;'(

Thanks for all the help and post and I will keep on posting as the date approached and any update so it may help someone who is suffering the same fate.

Londoner P

12:05 PM, 21st February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "17/02/2014 - 16:53":

Hi, You mentioned post tenancy address, Is it my address or her's? I asked her permanent address which she told me she don't have one so She requested me to put on of her friends and if she received any letter that will be delivered to her.

Richard Kent

12:25 PM, 21st February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Londoner P" at "21/02/2014 - 11:51":

Hi Ash,
I understand what you are going through.

I think there are many people here who know what you are going through.

Ensure that the signals which you give this tenant indicate you are determined to get her out.

I also listened to a tenant's sob story and paid for it when he decided not to pay his rent.

Tenants like yours do not understand nor appreciate favours.

I can assure you that much of what this tenant says is hot air.

Whenever a tenant abuses you or threatens you just put the phone down.

Ensure you communicate everything by letter regarding access.

Important- The council are not necessarily your enemy as WILL be on your side if your evidence is good. As soon as you tell them she is refusing access it will put her in a dim light.

THE TENANTS who damaged my property were both prosecuted by the Police for Theft and Criminal Damage. They are also being pursued by Magistrates Court Bailiffs following Distress Warrants. This is not civil debt- It won't go away 🙂

sharon underwood

12:44 PM, 21st February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Londoner P" at "21/02/2014 - 11:51":

Hi Yes I can imaging what you are going thru believe me as I am going thru exactly the same, plz plz write to your MP there is a site called writetothem you simply put in YOUR postcode & write to him the more complaint they get the better it is all round, My MP is now dealing with 2 councils on my behalf due to their bullying, intimidation, & giving TENANTS legal advice which they have no right to do, they even called police to put them on alert for ME!!! They lied about everything they said blatantly lied until I said I had several witnesses to the call, so PLEASE whatever you do make sure you have witnesses & if possible recording. The councils are trying to get us private landlords on to their list to house all off their wasters, The problem is compounded by the fact that councils now have the right to impose asbos to get bad tenants evicted but where do they go??? Yes exactly we get them!! I was thinking of starting a site for bad tenants but have found that several already exists free of charge (just google bad tenants) I really feel for you & I have to say nearly called it a day & may still do so if this continues, however on the up side there are some really good tenants aswell. So like me you have just got to toughen up & make sure you dont do as I have always done & take ppl at face value sad but true, but your main problem will be with the council I suspect, My MP has said that he will take this to the Government ombudsman if we have no joy with the council direct, I had never heard of this before so if I was you I would wait to see what happens with council WITH WITNESSES then if you have problems make an official complaint to council & write to your MP setting out the facts & then perhaps the ombudsman...I wish you luck & hope some of this has helped xxx

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