Tenant behind on rent, universal credit, struggling to get in touch

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    #16
    Did you sign the new agreement before giving the T his copy? T can ask for an interim payment (it's not called that but I can't remember what it is called). I'd issue a S8, S21 and a MCOL (having issued the relevant paperwork before hand).

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      #17
      Yes, I signed the agreement and gave him his copy to get sign and return back to me.

      We sent a letter on the 26th March, recorded delivery and another through his letterbox, both advising him to get in touch within 14 days or we would be issuing a section 8. I've just checked the status of the letter, and Royal Mail left a card on the 27th March and the letter hasn't been collected yet. This doesn't surprise me though, as we believe he's living at his girlfriends and nipping back to the property every once in a while.

      We've literally been trying to get hold of the tenant since the middle of Feb, he's never in, his phone is always switched off, we literally have no way of contact him other than putting notes/letters through the door.

      What happens if we issue a section 8, and because he's at his girlfriends all the time he doesn't get it? I'm assuming we then have to apply to the court to take back possession?

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        #18
        Give notice of inspection, then go round, with witness. He could be in prison/hospital/dead, none of which end tenancy.

        NEVER give signed tenancy to tenant before getting their signature.

        Tenant does not have to sign tenancy agreement.
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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          #19
          Whilst it's possible the tenant could be dead or in hospital, I don't believe this to be the case. We've had this issue in the past where he goes missing for weeks, and when you do finally get hold of him (usually because he wants something from us) he says he's not been well and has been stopping with his cousin. However, during conversations with him, he's mentioned that he has a girlfriend who has her own place, who keeps pestering him to move in with him, but he keeps saying no as he'll lose his own place. So, we suspect that he's spending all his time at her place, probably so that that him or her don't lose any benefits as a result of living together.

          We've been trying to get in tough with the tenant now since the 1st March, dropped notes through the door, sent two letters recorded delivery and another through the letter box. We've made 2-3 visits to the property per week and we just cannot get hold of him. We've given him until the 10th of April to get in touch, at that point we'll issue a section 8. But what if after the section 8 period we've still not heard from him? I guess we need to go to the court? What happens if we simply cannot get in touch with the tenant at all? if he's simply just moved his stuff out to his girlfriends and buggered off? The tenant knows that we're not receiving any rent because when we last spoke to him I told him, he said he would speak to however he needed to speak to and get in touch, we've not heard from him since.

          I emailed DWP last week to see if they have an update there end, i.e. is the tenant of universal credit, have they received our request to have rent paid to us, still waiting for a response from them even though it says that they respond within 24 hours if the issue related to a possible eviction.

          It feels like the whole system is setup to protect the tenant and not the landlord. This is our only property, and we're paying for the mortgage out of our own money while the tenant isn't paying rent.

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            #20
            So, we sent a letter to the tenant recorded delivery on the 26th of March giving the tenant until the 10th April to get in touch or we would be issuing a Section 8. Royal Mail were unable to deliver the letter and it's still sitting at the post office waiting for the tenant to collect. I also posted the same letter through the tenants letter box. As yet we've heard nothing from the tenant.

            On the 28th March I sent an urgent email to Universal Credits people asking if they could confirm that they had received our request to have rent paid directly to us instead of the tenant. I marked it as urgent and specifically said there was the potential of eviction, which the website says they will response within 24 hours, or 5 days if it's not urgent. 8 Days later I've had no response. I sent another email to them on Monday, again, marked as Urgent and advised them that we would be raising a section 8 on the 11th. Still no response.

            I've put together the section 8 notice this morning which I'll post at lunch time.

            I also want to perform an inspection as suggested in a post above. In the letter I'm suggesting an inspection date of the 20th April to give the tenant plenty of notice. I'll be sending it recorded delivery and posting it through the letter box. I wanted to check, if I put the text below at the end of the letter, is this ok?

            "You do not need to be present for the inspection, and should I not hear from you, I will assume you are happy for the inspect to go ahead with or without your presence."

            I think it's ok as the tenancy agreement does say we have reasonable access to the property, and the research I've done suggests we should be fine, but wanted some opinions.

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              #21
              Forget recorded delivery - tenant may be out or refuse to sign. Next time just get **free** "proof of postage".

              Why bother with letter at all? Simply serve s8. As advised previously.

              Sigh!

              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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                #22
                My intention was the serve a section 8 notice, and a notice for inspection.

                The notice of inspection was the two reasons, the first to do an actual inspection, but it would also give an idea as to whether the tenant has vacated the property and just "done one".

                I'm just bewildered by the fact that as far as I'm concerned, the tenant knows we've been trying to contact him, has read the letters we've sent, knows that we're going to evict him but has still not made any contact, I mean not even to put the keys through our letter box.

                I'm off now to put the section 8 through the letter box and send via the post office (with proof of postage).

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by TheBinarySheep View Post
                  On the 28th March I sent an urgent email to Universal Credits people asking if they could confirm that they had received our request to have rent paid directly to us instead of the tenant. I marked it as urgent and specifically said there was the potential of eviction, which the website says they will response within 24 hours, or 5 days if it's not urgent. 8 Days later I've had no response. I sent another email to them on Monday, again, marked as Urgent and advised them that we would be raising a section 8 on the 11th. Still no response
                  You may be interested in this FoI request about UC APA's, in particular the DWPs reply of yesterdays date:
                  https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...coming-1140160

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                    #24
                    One last question.

                    We've issued the section 8, what if at the end of the period we have still not heard from the tenant, and the tenant has vacated the property without telling us or handing the keys back? The blinds are always closed so it's difficult to tell if the tenant have removed his possessions, and we think he won't want to face us and may just vacate without telling us.

                    How on earth would we know? without knowing for sure he's left, I guess we would still need to go to through the courts? Or between now and the date on the section 8, do I issue a notice of inspection and providing I've not heard from the tenant, visit the property to perform an inspection while at the same time checking if he's still there?

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                      #25
                      Stone me: Write with notice of inspection, as outlined above.

                      If a tenant has left by s8 expiry date I'd break open the Champagne, get LOADS of photos, with witness, showing he's departed but also try & get an email/wotsapp/facebook/woteva message to them pointing out they are still liable for rent until you get a firm email stating they have left & ended tenancy.
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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                        #26
                        An update.

                        The date on the section 8 was for yesterday, we've still not heard from the tenant and he hasn't collected the letters we sent from the post office.

                        We sent a letter advising that we're going to do an inspection, never heard anything, so we've been and done the inspection this afternoon. All of his possessions appear to still be in the property, but all of his post going back to around the beginning of March are piled up next to the front door. So it appears that he's not been back to the property for at least 4 four weeks, or at least he's been back but not opened any of his post.

                        We're trying to speak to a solicitor friend now about our next step, whether or not we need to go to court.

                        We roughly know where the guys sister lives, is it worth knocking on a few doors to try and find her to find out if the tenant is ok?

                        EDIT: I've noticed that in the tenancy agreement there is a section about abandonment. It does say that if we have cause to think that the property is abandoned that we could take it back. Does the fact that we've not heard from the tenant, and there are cards from the post office dated at over a month ago on the floor at the front door enough for us to think the property is abandoned?

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                          #27
                          Clearly not, his possessions are still there.

                          Please tell us you have already served s8 & s21. (And, just in case, an NTQ should abandonment be ever the case)
                          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                          Comment


                            #28
                            We've issued a section 8 which stated the earliest date for court action was the 25th April.

                            We've not issued a section 21 as the tenant is in a 12 month tenancy, so we've issued a section 8 for breach of terms (No rent payments for over 2 months - currently 17 weeks in arears).

                            We spoke to a solicitor friend, they said leave a note on the property saying the tenant has 7 days to remove their belonging, and if we don't hear from the tenant then change the locks, however my online research says DO NOT do that, and it says we must go through the courts. So I guess that's the next step?

                            I have managed to speak with someone at DWP regarding the tenants universal credits, and they've confirmed that they have recently (within last two weeks) received a new claim, even though the tenant told me that he applied before Christmas and received his first payment in January.

                            Either way, I doubt UC are going to back date his rent for 4 month, so we need the tenant out, but as he's not even checking his post, I'm worried that he won't defend himself if we issue court proceedings and what I've read says if the tenant doesn't defend themselves then it could take 5 month to get them out!!

                            I'm completely at a loss here.

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                              #29
                              Suggest you engage a new solicitor who specialises in landlord/tenant matters.

                              Be aware s8 for arrears easily defended with disrepair arguements.

                              Good luck!
                              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Thanks.

                                I had read about disrepair being used, but I certainly hope he doesn't try that. We have fixed every problem the tenant has raised within days if not on the same day. At this point, I am unaware of any issues with the property and certainly have not been notified of any by the tenant.

                                The last problem was back on the 1st of March, a snow day, when buses were off, businesses were closed. The tenant informed me his electricity was off, and I spent most of the day sorting an electrician to fix it that day.

                                In fact, when I have spoke to the tenant previously, he's always told us how other people comment on how good a landlord we are in terms of fixing problems quickly.

                                I'll find a local solicitor and see if I can arrange an appointment.

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