Non-payment of final rent etc etc

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    Non-payment of final rent etc etc

    Hi All

    I'm a new member and could really do with some help advice please. I'm sure I saw a similar post on here, but can't now find it!

    After several fruitless months of trying to get a tenant to rectify the damage her dogs had caused to a formerly pristine garden, (now resembles a war zone), I issued the tenant with a Form 6a Notice, giving just over the statutory 2 months. Up until this point, her rent had always been paid on time. However, the following month (after some chasing), her rent was paid 2 weeks late. The final month has not been paid at all, despite further chasing and her voicemail confirmation that she would pay it). Despite my requests to have a hand-over meeting before leaving she declined to do this and posted the key through the letter box on departure. I have no forwarding address but know where she works.

    The day after she vacated the property, I inspected it and was met with a scene of indescribable filth - it would appear that she hasn't cleaned in the 3 years that she was in there, and definitely not since she was issued with the 6a.

    On the rare occasions (endless litany of excuses as to why it wasn't convenient, etc etc, or failure to turn up), I gained access to the house for inspection, there were covers over everything and it was in semi-darkness (so as not to upset her dogs - 3 hulking Newfoundlands). The cost to clear away all the filth and rubbish she has left, remove and replace the carpets and curtains (irredeemable due to stains, ingrained dog hair and stink), replacement of interior doors chewed by the dogs, deep cleaning and redecoration, plus reinstatement of the garden will cost at least double the deposit/bond she paid. Nor will it cover the time needed for the work to be done and a new tenant to be found, meaning I am without a major chunk of my income.

    A couple of days after her departure, I contacted the DPS and requested full return of the deposit to me, to go some way towards mitigating the costs above. Some 10 days later, the DPS are still "Awaiting Tenant Response" - is there a time limit in which she must respond?

    A couple of days ago I went to the property and found on the doormat correspondence addressed to another individual - the tenancy was in her name only, and I have no knowledge of this person.

    As a WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality - my pension age has gone back 4 times so far!) I don't receive my state pension until the end of this year and am dependent on the income from my 4 small BTL properties, so I could do with the outstanding month's rent and therefore fully intend to bring a claim in the Small Claims Court. I appreciate, certainly in these very difficult times, this may take some time and effort, but I am loath to let her get away with it on a matter or principle - what's to stop her doing this to someone else?

    According to the agency who found me the tenant, she had no judgements against her (otherwise they'd have asked me to sign a disclaimer), yet amongst the rubbish she has left behind, it's apparent from the demand letters from her bank and utility companies, pay slips that show a deduction from her wages to a debt recovery agency, solicitors' letters that indicate she owed money and damaged the property in which she lived at the time (belonging to her former father-in-law), that she had a shady financial past.These are dated several years ago - is there an expiry date on such "misdemeanours"?

    I have the Inventory carried out by the agency, and a video of the property showing it to be in pristine condition when she took on the lease. The property had been a private residence and required nothing at all doing to it before she moved in. I have copies of the correspondence between the tenant and myself regarding the reinstatement of the garden, plus text and voicemail messages, and have taken numerous photos of the property as it is now as evidence. Unfortunately(?) there is no way of capturing the overpowering stink of dogs.

    Any help or advice as to how to bring this individual to rights would be very welcome!


    #2
    If the tenant hasn't responded after a fortnight (I think) you can initiate the "Single Claim process" with the DPS.

    There's a single bit of faff, you have to get a solicitor to verify your identity - they normally charge a tenner for the service. It might be a bit odd during social distancing. Otherwise it's a simple form.

    The chances of getting any money from the tenant depend entirely on two things, the tenant having money or income and your patience.

    The first thing to do is probably to draw up a complete schedule of your loss - which is not what it cost to replace / put right, but the loss in value caused by the tenant.
    Make sure everything is properly adjusted for existing age and usage (the tenant was there for 3 years for example) and make sure the way that you've worked it out is clear and that you could justify it.

    To make a claim, write a letter before action outlining the debt you are claiming in full.
    You can either use your property address, which means that the tenant probably won't know about the claim until they discover the ccj, or you can wait a few months and use a people finder service (some advertise on this site). That way, the tenant will probably know about the claim and might even try and defend it.

    Even if you win, there are hoops to jump through to get anything, but it can be done. And the process itself can be very satisfying for some people,

    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
      Hi JP,

      Many thanks for responding. Is there a template anywhere for Letter before action or Schedule of Loss - I've looked through the Forms section but can't find anything.How do I calculate a Loss in Value - sorry to be a pain, but I've been fortunate in that this is the first time I've had to deal with this sort of issue.

      I'm prepared to be patient to make sure the b***h doesn't get away with it!

      Comment


        #4
        The landlord is entitled to compensation for any loss in value of their asset(s) beyond fair wear and tear that occurred during the lease.

        The formula that you should use, and a court would use is:
        (Cost of the original item and any installation/fitting [not the cost of a replacement] / expected lifetime) * (expected lifetime - actual lifetime).
        That is, compensation for the lost value (life of use) of the item.

        As an example: A carpet bought 5 years ago for £1000 (purchased and fitting) that's completely ruined.

        £1000/7 years expected life is £142.85 per year.
        It lasted 5 years, not 7, so you lost £285.70.

        That presumes that the item is entirely ruined and the landlord can show that it happened during the lease.

        If a repair is a more cost effective solution than a replacement (or vice versa), the cheaper option has to be taken.

        Alternatively, an actual repair cost might be claimed, but again, this should be adjusted to reflect the tenant's share of the lifetime (but sometimes this is just meaningless).

        Fair wear and tear is “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces”.

        A landlord is not entitled to charge his tenants the full cost for having any part of his property, or any fixture or fitting, “.....put back to the condition it was at the start of the tenancy.” It's not "new for old".
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          There's a single bit of faff, you have to get a solicitor to verify your identity - they normally charge a tenner for the service.
          I think it is swearing an oath, rather than identity check.

          My solicitor charges £5 (out in the sticks).

          Comment


            #6
            They sign to confirm that they've checked you are who you say you are (photo ID and a bill in my case).
            Sign and (ink) stamp.

            I don't think I ever got a bill, as it happens.
            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
              Last time I did it with DPS they demanded a 'statutory declaration' that has to be witnessed by a commissioner for oaths and I think there is a set fee of £5 - which went in the charity box.
              sadly the dps still stole my money and didn't even give it to the tenant who fled abroad.....

              Comment

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