feedback for arrears situation

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    feedback for arrears situation

    Hi,

    My motivation initially was not based on financial gain but to have the house in a livable state and not left to deteriorate while my employment takes me overseas, covering the mortgage while helping someone out after their unfair eviction.

    Circumstance
    - tenant is a family of 2 adults 2 children (1 is a blood relative)
    - main communication and agreement done with male tenant
    - 3 bd room house with driveway and front/rear big gardens
    - Tenancy Agreement is Assured Shorthold Tenancy (monthly rolling)
    - Tenancy Started 1 year+ (Oct 2018)
    - Rent charged monthly @ £550
    - zero deposit, advance payment, guarantor or fees for tenants
    - tenant proposed doing the labour for renovation work in lieu of rent 6 months (3 years ago start).
    - tenant hasn't finished the work or moved in but has furniture, clothes, vehicle and pet snake there.
    - tenants claims housing allowance and has regular work paid cash but claims that non payment on two jobs resulted in missed payments
    - tenants had good history of paying their rentals and the guarantor to previous rentals gave good report
    - tenants do not communicate well and don't inform each other of conversations or agreements made with either party.

    I tried to do myself and the tenants a favour to trade their skills for rent and they haven't completed the work. I agreed they could do additional non essential renovation at their taste (cost impact to me was negligible) and I have pursued the completion and was reassured repeatedly by tenants they would do complete however they failed to do so.

    The outstanding work right now is to lay the stairs carpet and fit curtain rails. Have made countless offers to finish the work for them long the way, male tenant insists they can do it and move in while female tenant refuses to move in.

    The tenants asked for the agreement in Oct 2018 and reassured would move in by Christmas at latest. Informed them that once the agreement is issued they will recieve 6 months free rental and from April 2019 have to make payments. Between April to date, they have gone £3,150 into arrears after making 3 random payments spread over this period totalling £1,800. Tenants currently stay at parents home free of charge.

    Issued written notice to seek repossession and received many sob stories with pleading for chances. Vague promises of payment as they have successful court claims for money owed to them of 5-7K before fees, with expected reciept of that payment to them in 2020 no precise date given. Male tenant was non responsive with no update on circumstances prior to notice being sent.

    Tenants offered to pay £1,550 immediately and overpayment monthly to clear arrears.

    I offered terms not to pursue the arrears if they remove their belongings without protest and without damage within 1 month. My belief is that tenants have no motivation to move in until the risk of losing occupancy was given.

    a) would you trust arrears to be paid?
    b) is it worth the risk of them moving in and things working out?
    c) can i change the locks and have them remove belongings under supervision?
    d) when can I dispose of their belongings left behind? (Furniture, clothes, vehicle)
    e) what is the most effective/cost effective option for collecting arrears?
    f) are the tenants committing benefit fraud and would you ignore that?

    Note: Please don't tell me I'm stupid, I know I've made mistakes here. My good nature mixed with friend and family got the better of me. Hope others can use this as an example of what not to do.

    #2
    a - No.
    b - No.
    c - No.
    d - When the tenancy is properly ended, you have to make reasonable efforts to contact the tenant to allow them to collect their possessions.
    e - Either use notice under s8 and get a judgement which will include the arrears that you can try to enforce. Or use s21 and use a small claim to get a judgement against them that you can try and enforce. Nothing you can do can bring about a situation where people who have no money can magically acquire some to settle their debt with you.
    f - You have no way of knowing that and it won't help your situation. But possibly.
    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
      So do you still think their original eviction (paragraph 1 of OP) was likely "unfair"? Or is "unfairness" only when it affects you personally, your lives, children and welfare? Did you speak to their previous landlord to see what impact it had on their life and welfare and health, as it has now on yours?

      Comment


        #4
        Do not rent to relatives! How many times do we say this on here?!



        Freedom at the point of zero............

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          e - Either use notice under s8 and get a judgement which will include the arrears that you can try to enforce. Or use s21 and use a small claim to get a judgement against them that you can try and enforce.
          But is it an AST?

          OP appears to say they are not living there.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Mardanis View Post
            ......................
            - tenant proposed doing the labour for renovation work in lieu of rent 6 months (3 years ago start).
            .........................
            Never ever agree to this: Much better to say the rent is as per normal but you will pay for any work on valid invoices for quality-approved (by you) invoices. And copy invoices to tax-man (both as expenses for you & evidence of income for tenant....)

            Further, if renovation was required to get the place decent enough to rent get it fixed first!
            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


              #7
              Yes painful lessons learnt. Never let anything like this happen on the others. Was fortunate enough to resolve any non payment or other issues with discussion.

              The unfair part was from the previous landlady had a misunderstanding with them and has said to us she would have them back. Perhaps she was saying anything out of relief they gone...

              MdeB, they pay the council tax and the bills but not the rent currently and are not spending their days or sleeping there. They themselves and others have said the same thing and visiting the property they have beds in the house but nothing is set up. Just piled up.

              They've asked for a letter to allow them to goto local authority to seek housing with it being my decision to repossess. Will it make any odds to me either way? I believe not and they will get the same 2 month period to get lost.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Mardanis View Post
                They've asked for a letter to allow them to goto local authority to seek housing with it being my decision to repossess. Will it make any odds to me either way? I believe not and they will get the same 2 month period to get lost.
                You can serve a s21 notice which means that you don't have to give any reason for the notice.

                However, the housing department will almost certainly ask you why you're giving notice and not telling the truth involves you in the tenants attempt to defraud the local authority. So that's a matter for your conscience. It's likely that the tenant have no idea that the council will be checking up on what they claim.

                If the tenant is not paying rent, they're deliberately making themselves homeless, which means that the council is obliged to give them emergency housing - which the local authority would prefer not to do, so they're definitely going to ask.

                They'll still owe the rent and that will increase by the legal fees, because the council won't help them until you've been to court and won possession, which the council will instruct them to defend.

                Unless your tenant has been living in a bubble, they should be aware that the chances of the local authority being able to house them full time are probably zero.

                A personal view, these people are playing you like a piano and the more you try and help them, the worse the consequences for you. You've tried to help out someone with a problem finding somewhere to live and now you're contemplating committing fraud. You know where the road paved with good intentions leads...
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Mardanis View Post
                  ...................

                  The unfair part was from the previous landlady had a misunderstanding with them and..................
                  So you bought the place with them in it? If so did you serve notice(s) complaint with s48 and s3 please?

                  If not no rent due - s48 - and possible fines and criminal record - s3.

                  Or do you mean you had a reference from previous landlord which was - err... not 100% accurate: If so tough, which is why it's worth getting references from previous-previous landlord who is likely to be more honest,
                  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


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Mardanis View Post
                    , they ... are not spending their days or sleeping there. They themselves and others have said the same thing and visiting the property they have beds in the house but nothing is set up. Just piled up.
                    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                    You can serve a s21 notice which means that you don't have to give any reason for the notice.
                    If they are not living there, then S1(1)(b) Housing Act 1988 is not met and therefore this is not an Assured Tenancy (and hence not an AST), and therefore S21 and S8 notices do not apply.


                    Originally posted by Mardanis View Post
                    They've asked for a letter to allow them to goto local authority to seek housing with it being my decision to repossess.
                    If they have somewhere else that they live, then the local authority has no duty to them
                    1. Something here does not seem to add up.
                    2. Issue both S21 notice and NTQ to cover yourself over the possibility that judge deems it is or is not an Assured Tenancy.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Mardanis View Post
                      - tenants claims housing allowance and has regular work paid cash but claims that non payment on two jobs resulted in missed payments

                      f) are the tenants committing benefit fraud and would you ignore that?
                      If they are claiming Housing Benefit (HB) or the housing element of Universal Credit (UC), then yes, inform either the Local Council (HB) or the DWP (UC). This is because if they are not living at the property (even if they have belongings there) they should not be receiving any HB or UC.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Okay so yes I've been played like a piano and hell no to being involved in the fraud. They have to be responsible for their own actions as I have to be with mine.

                        the tenant has confirmed they are receiving UC and living elsewhere but on paper they pay council tax and minimal bills at the property with an AST agreement so it would be hard for local authority to prove and ultimately not something I want to get involved in. I'll answer honestly to enquiries.

                        I need to proceed to issue a S21 (once I decide on which provider to use, so many out there. Can anyone advise here? Random nationwide or local service?) as others said the council will dig in and help them defend. I read the websites today and the council are worse than slumlords and scumbag tenants combined. Seems like they'll do anything to make it not their problem.

                        The property was not acquired with sitting tenant.

                        Yes the tenant lives in a bubble from what I've found. Detached from reality by hopeful dreams and optimistic outlook. They have said they intend to go apply for emergency housing however stated if the offered housing is not sizeable to retain their possessions they will refuse it and are aware this would not go well for their situation.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Mardanis View Post
                          I read the websites today and the council are worse than slumlords and scumbag tenants combined. Seems like they'll do anything to make it not their problem.
                          That's presumably right - they shouldn't be spending money where they don't have to.
                          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


                            #14
                            Okay, so S21 was issued some days ago. Their stay ends on 28th February 2020 as per the S21. In the mean time they will goto the council for help in finding housing there after and I can move on with the property.

                            I intend to wait until they have left to do some touch up and repair works (such as they pinged the architrev off when moving furniture into the home recently).

                            thank you everyone who has provided feedback, advice and a wake up call. Lesson learnt - no family.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Mardanis View Post
                              Their stay ends on 28th February 2020 as per the S21.
                              That aint necessarily so.

                              Comment

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