Will the Judge issue a possession order whilst tenant is in Hospital?

by Readers Question

10:54 AM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

Will the Judge issue a possession order whilst tenant is in Hospital?

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Will the Judge issue a possession order whilst tenant is in Hospital?

I purchased a flat to let a couple years ago. We have had the same tenant in for the full period.

Although there have been several months of late payments, he has generally not been a problem. He has always suffered with kidney problems and this has left out of work on occassions, hence the late payments.

In February 2014 he became so unwell that he was no longer able to work and we have now not received any rent for the period of March – July.

Our letting agent started the eviction process and we now have a court date set for the possession order. In the meantime the tenant has suffered a stroke and is now in hospital for the foreseeable future. He has applied for housing support, however the council will only pay one third of the rent and on top of that he did not back date his claim to March, only to June.

My question is will the Judge issue a possession whilst he is in Hospital? We were advised that a judge would not, but given that he could be in Hospital any amount of time this seems unreasonable.

I don’t want to appear heartless, but having covered the mortgage now for several months I simply cannot continue afford to do this any longer and if the Judge suspends possession until the tenant is out of Hospital it could financially cripple me!

If anyone has any advise or has been in a similar situation it would be great to hear from you.

Many thanks

ChrisHospital



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:58 AM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Chris,

I can understand your moral predicament and at some point you do need to look after yourself.

I don't know the answer to this one, but hopefully readers can assist.

Are there any relatives in the background that can help do you think?

Tessa Shepperson

11:55 AM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

If you have a mandatory ground for possession (eg the mandatory rent arrears ground, ground 8) then the Judge will have no option but to grant an order for possession. However as the tenant is in hospital he will almost certainly exercise his discretion to give him more time.

For a mandatory ground, the maximum time he can give under his discretion is 6 weeks.

One problem - you say your letting agent started the proceedings. Note that only a litigant in person or his solicitors can sign the court paperwork. If your letting agent did this, then the proceedings may be vulnerable to being set aside if this is discovered.

http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2012/08/23/letting-agents-how-to-help-a-landlord-evict-bad-tenants-without-putting-your-firm-at-risk/

Adrian Jones

11:58 AM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Chris,

What justification do the Council have for only paying a third of the rent?

Neil Patterson

12:29 PM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tessa Shepperson" at "21/07/2014 - 11:55":

Many thanks Tessa 🙂

12:37 PM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

im guessing the council are only paying part of the rent due to he size of property? or the other income the tnt has from benefits?
do you know what your LHA rate is in your area?
You could challenge this amount if you or your tnt believe the amount is wrong
Also your tnt could apply for a discretionary housing payment which would tide him over and can be replied for.

depending on the line of work your tnt was in or if he has ever been in the forces he could see if there are anyother grants available to help pay his rent via Turn2Us website.

i agree with the point Tessa makes above, if your letting agent has signed the court papers the judge maynot be willing to proceed.

Chris James

13:20 PM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tessa Shepperson" at "21/07/2014 - 11:55":

Hi Tessa,

Many thanks for the informnation.

The letting agents put together the paper work but my wife, a solicitor, signed the documents so hopefully all should be in order.

Chris James

13:21 PM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Adrian Jones" at "21/07/2014 - 11:58":

Hello Adrian,

He is technically still employed, albeit on a Zero Hours Contract, which to my understanding is why his entitlement is so low.

Paul Franklin

13:58 PM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

With regards to the Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance, I was under the impression that most Council's had 'transitional protection' for these sorts of circumstances whereby the full rent would be paid for 13 weeks if the tenant qualified for LHA, even if the rental price is above the LHA rate or if the tenant is renting a property that is larger than he/she qualifies for.

This would obviously depend on the tenant having no income or savings to effect the amount of LHA he is entitled to. It may be something worth googling or asking your local authority about.

I agree with Julie that Discretionary Housing Payment would certainly be worth asking about - but again this would be time-limited and cannot usually be backdated but could save you a little bit of money if the tenant were to apply for it. If the tenant is due to be discharged from hospital at any point soon, they may even be able to pay DHP until he's discharged?

Adrian Jones

18:12 PM, 21st July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris James" at "21/07/2014 - 13:21":

Thanks Chris. I am just considering a tenant for a property in Wales. He and his wife are on zero hours contracts.

I'll check with Pembroke Council.

Appreciate you taking the time to reply given the **ap time you are having. Sincerely hope everything works out.

Adrian Jones

9:17 AM, 23rd July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris James" at "21/07/2014 - 13:21":

Morning Chris,

I have spoken to a very helpful lady at Pembroke Council. She said Zero Hours Contracts are not a factor in determining Housing Benefit.

The key factors are the ability of the tenant to pay the rent and size of family and size of property.

Good luck mate.

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