Lying tenant

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  • Lying tenant

    We had a tenant in our property. Initial agreement was for 6 months from April 2016 but then went on to SPT.
    In June he didn't pay his rent due on 15th of the month. Chased him and got excuses. On 10th July got a text from him saying he had moved out and left a key under the mat for us. He reckoned he'd only decided to move out that day. He'd left furniture and rubbish in the property and damage to carpet and bath. We have struggled to get his deposit back because he won't reply but that is now almost sorted.
    We have since received bills from electric supplier and council. He had told both of them that he had moved out on July 8th and we are therefore liable from that date.
    Because he didn't give any notice he should be responsible for all bills until August 15th.
    I have spoken to both these organisations and got nowhere. The only way I can prove that he is liable is to send a tenancy agreement (which ended nearly a year ago).
    It appears that a tenant can tell these organisations anything and they believe it without question. He has given no forwarding address to them but they still accept what he has said.
    As landlord they are not remotely interested in even listening to what has I have to say unless I have proof.
    It makes me think that the only way forward with our properties is to always have a tenancy agreement in place. Forget SPT and sign tenants up every 6 months .
    Added to all this we are getting dozens of letters every day from finance companies who are clearly chasing him for money. The new tenants will almost certainly have to deal with bailiffs on their doorstep soon. I've tried contacting these companies to explain the situation but again they don't want to know. Only one company was prepared to put a note on his accounts saying he didn't live at the address and assure me that they wouldn't send bailiffs. Everyone else said "we'll keep sending the letters just ignore them. If the bailiffs come your tenants can tell them it's not their debt". Thanks for that. I'm sure the tenants won't be terrified when the bailiffs hammer at their door at 6am.
    This whole thing seems crazy!!

  • #2
    I'd forget about getting utilites to believe you. Just work out a reasonable extra amount to add to deposit request.

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    • #3
      There are rules about who is responsible for the council tax. And they relate to residence, not the tenancy.
      If the tenant is in the fixed term of a tenancy agreement, that means they're liable.
      If they are in a rolling agreement and move out, you are liable.

      If the tenancy agreement says that the tenant is liable, you could chase the tenant to repay the council tax they are liable for.

      Same with utilities.
      The person using the utility is responsible for the bills - Again you can try and recover from the tenant.

      Send the finance company letters back with "not known at this address on them" (I use pre-printed stickers and stick them in the post box).

      Having a tenancy agreement always in place is one option, but sod's law says you'd be half way through when the tenant wanted to leave, and the mess would have been slightly bigger on one hand and less on the other.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JK0 View Post
        I'd forget about getting utilites to believe you. Just work out a reasonable extra amount to add to deposit request.
        And, of course, this.

        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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        • #5
          Unfortunately the deposit doesn't come close to what he already owes. Deposit of just over £1100 to cover two months rent at £900 per month, replacement carpet £200, bath replacement needed, disposal of rubbish, clearing of garden. He 'kindly' left us some furniture which I managed to sell for around £250 to add to the pot.
          I've also had to go to a solicitor to get the Single Claim firm for the dps witnessed and spent hours on the phone sorting out this mess.
          I've totally given up the idea that the utilities would choose to believe me over a man who is probably already in debt to them.
          Hey ho. Just very annoying.

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          • #6
            The deposit doesn't limit what you can try and recover from the tenant.
            It's simply a convention designed to make a simple claim easier.

            You can't sell the tenant's goods and use the proceeds to settle their debt without their consent.
            That's the tenant's money.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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            • #7
              Hmm. If tenant was stupid enough to leave valuable furniture behind, it's JK0's money in my book.

              (Not that that ever happened. All I get left is broken Ikea tat.)

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              • #8
                I understand that I could through legal means try and reclaim more than the deposit but this isn't even worth considering. His business had gone into receivership. He owes thousands as an individual and he is almost certainly now living in Poland. Not worth attempting to get any money out of him.
                As far as the furniture is concerned he gave me permission to sell it. When he told me he had left (by text message) he also explained that he had given me the furniture to dispose of. It was most certainly not valuable. The whole contents of the house raised £250. Broken divan beds, 2 ancient settees and 3 broken big backed tvs aren't worth a lot. A few other bits and pieces raised the money but also took our time and energy to get rid of.

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