Evicting a tenant on probation from prison

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    Evicting a tenant on probation from prison

    This is my first post and the first time I've had a serious problem with a tenant after 10 years as a LL.
    Unfortunately my letting agent manage to secure a tenant for me with multiple CCJs outstanding against her and previous history of eviction (though she did have a well paid job at the time).
    After 5 months of a 2 year AST, all was going well until at the start of May 2018, I received a phone call from the tenants daughter to say her mum had been sentenced to 1 year in prison for fraud at her work..
    Since then I have only been able to contact the tenant through the daughter who at first assured me with promises that the rent would be paid via Housing Benefit application and (
    when I asked if she would remove her mum's
    possessions), that her mum was adamant about staying in the property as she liked it so much.
    The property has now been vacant for 3 months and the rent is 2 months (soon to be 3) in arrears.
    I have offered to return the deposit and waive the arrears if the tenant vacates, but this has apparently fallen on deaf ears.
    A Section 8 notice has now been served on the tenant at the property and the prison by the estate agent's solicitor acting on my behalf.
    I've since spent a lot of time on the web reading lots of horror stories about evicting tenants and my worry is that this lady is absolutely determined to stay at the property as long as possible and knows all the tricks and delaying tactics to make this possible. I don't know her motives, but it may be that the longer she lives in the area, the more likely it is she will get help with housing from the local council when she is evicted.
    Another possible scenario is that any probation is dependant on a permanent address being supplied and now I've learned that she is to be released in the next week or so.
    With no prospect of the tenant being able to get a job and pay the rent, my fear is that the courts would delay any repossession until the probationary period expired. Any thoughts on what I can do?

    #2
    If you served a section 8 via a solicitor on the grounds that two month's rent was owed and that is still the case when the court hearing takes place, I'd just let your solicitor get on with it.

    The tenant can only delay so much.

    The most effective defence a tenant can offer is disrepair, so visit the property before the tenant is released and check it thoroughly (take lots of photos and videos as evidence). Check that the heating and hot water are working etc.
    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).

    Comment


      #3
      I had agreed with the daughter to visit the property last Saturday, but she cancelled on me at the last moment saying she was "uncomfortable" about it, but I do have a key to let myself in, so I'll take your advice today, thanks.

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        #4
        Unlikely, but what if the tenant is able to make up some or all of the arrears - does the Section 8 then fall flat on it's face?

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          #5
          Who agreed to 2 years? Next time, 6 months max.

          You may have a claim for negligence against agent responsible.. CCJs being missed, depending on your agreement with agent.
          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


            #6
            Originally posted by kennyj52 View Post
            I had agreed with the daughter to visit the property last Saturday, but she cancelled on me at the last moment saying she was "uncomfortable" about it, but I do have a key to let myself in, so I'll take your advice today, thanks.
            You should give written notice, 24 hours in advance. Entering without notice or against the tenant's wishes isn't going to sound good in court.

            Originally posted by kennyj52 View Post
            Unlikely, but what if the tenant is able to make up some or all of the arrears - does the Section 8 then fall flat on it's face?
            Provided your section 8 has multiple grounds (including 10 and 11) as well as 8, the hearing can go ahead.

            Whether possession is granted will be up to the judge, who is most likely to award a suspended possession order (I'd guess).

            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).

            Comment


              #7
              I agreed everything through the agent, didn't carry out my own due diligence at the time because I was extremely busy trying to become a Physics teacher, so my own fault really - moral: never trust the letting agents!

              Comment


                #8
                Not sure if I should start a new post about this or not, but...….. after serving a Section 8 notice on grounds 8, 10, 11, even though the claim (based on the rent arrears) was essentially admitted by the tenant, the possession claim hearing was adjourned for 3 weeks by the judge to allow the tenant to complete her Housing Benefit/Universal Credit applications on the basis that these benefits would be sufficient to pay the rent (without
                the court requesting
                any evidence of these applications, I might add). However, the reality of the situation is, I fear, that the tenant has no intentions of paying any arrears and indeed, now without a job, will never be able to afford the rent, but is hoping to be evicted into temporary council accommodation from which she can claim to be re-housed. Meanwhile the tenant is using delaying tactics (as advised by the CAB) to put off the eviction as long as possible. I find the whole thing rather inexplicable. The tenant's debt now stands at 5 months and will only increase with further delay. My main priority now is not the rental income, but to re-possess my home because,
                as a result of this situation,
                I am now having to live in temporary accommodation with most of my belongings in storage, but I found that the judge was solely concerned with the tenants predicament and absolutely not the landlord's. What can I do to prevent another adjournment or a suspended order for my claim?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Forgot to mention, the tenant is now back in residence at the property since being released in early August.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Aye, s8 rent arrears easily defended. When can 1st valid s21 expire?

                    Is any rent being paid? If not, keep issuing fresh s8's each missed payment: (A nice stack may impress judge)
                    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


                      #11
                      It sounds as though the judge should not have adjourned the hearing. If there was more than 2 months due at the time of the application and at the time of the hearing the judge is obliged to grant the possession order. Providing you properly evidenced the monies owing, you should appeal to a circuit judge as the decision is wrong in law. Next time, take a copy of the law with you and point out to the judge that they do not have any discretion and MUST grant the application for a possession order.

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                        #12
                        I would sell up and get out while you can and concentrate on your career - once you get her out

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by kennyj52 View Post
                          What can I do to prevent another adjournment or a suspended order for my claim?
                          Jon66 made a great point. The court can grant an adjournment before it hears evidence in a case, it has no power to grant an adjournment once it is satisfied that s8g8 is satisfied.

                          I'm not sure you can appeal to a higher court (circuit judge sitting in county court is a higher court than a DJ sitting in county court) against the adjournment. Even if you could, it'll be quicker just to wait out the adjournment itself. You may be able to apply to the judge in question to bring forward the hearing, but if it's truely 3 weeks and not 3 weeks then list for a hearing a few months down the line, then you may as well wait.

                          Bring a few copies of the judgment in North British Housing Association Ltd. v Matthews [2004] EWCA Civ 1736 with you to the hearing to show the judge if necessary. Note particularly paragraph 32 and onwards.
                          I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                          I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Why did you not serve s21 at same time as s8?
                            With a T with that record, why did you even consider her?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks for the replies. The tenancy agreement was for 2 years with no break clauses, so as I understand it I can only apply for S21 two months before the end of the 2 year period i.e. Sept 2019? The letting agent assured me the tenant was a good tenant and didn't disclose all the CCJs to me and frankly at the time I was too busy to worry about it much, but my circumstances have changed drastically since then having been made redundant and dropped out of University as I couldn't cope with the work, and now I'm retired on a pension. No rent is currently being paid and I'm not expecting any, neither do I want any really as it may only server to delay matters - why is it so easy to defend S8? But having said that the tenant hasn't really defended it although she did say I had interfered with her "quiet enjoyment" of the property while she was in prison by entering the property unaccompanied and without express permission. At the hearing, the judge appeared to be somewhat irked by my solicitor as the case files had not been immediately available for some unknown reason (the solicitor handed copies to the judge during the hearing). I was surprised my solicitor didn't really contest the adjournment, but he seemed to be somewhat intimidated by the judge too, though the cynic in me says delays may be acceptable as it equates to additional fees. I shall certainly question my solicitor about the legality of the adjournment and in reply to alice123, I will most likely take your advice as I probably will never feel at home in the property again after this episode.

                              Comment

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