Good ol' COVID-19 and a section 8 Possession

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    Good ol' COVID-19 and a section 8 Possession

    Hi everyone,

    I've got a tenant who has been sporadic with payments since January 2019 and has stopped paying at all since June 2020-ish and now has come to a point that the debt is now over £4000 (about 8 months arrears cumulatively). Upon asking what is wrong they quoted coronavirus and said "I thought we didn't have to pay throughout lockdown" which is obviously only on a landlord/tenant agreement for which no such discussion has occurred nor granted. So I have given the obligatory 3 months Section 8 notice on grounds 8, 10 and 11. I am currently drafting the court application and I have two questions:

    1) I am relatively competent at explaining the facts and can put forward reasonable, transparent arguments and can handle pressure. With that being said, is it worth self representing or is it absolutely crucial I have some representation? Has anyone had any experience and success of self representing in a possession order case?

    2) Is it absolutely crucial a gas certificate is in place at the time of the court case? The current one is due to expire and I am hesitant we will get access for the plumber to do it. Apart from that I have kept the property in good repair and have always managed to get break downs fixed as soon as reasonably possible. How probable is the tenant popping up saying X, Y and Z is broken/not working at the court hearing without giving me any indication? Especially when I have asked every time I have spoken to them "is everything ok with the house?"

    Many thanks in advance and I look forward to reading your comments.

    #2
    Did you not also issue s21? They are a lot harder to defend.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your reply. I didn't because the tenant was an insitu tenant when we purchased the house and no paperwork for deregulation act was supplied, nor was the tenancy agreement worth the ink used to print it. But if they've racked up a debt of over £4000 how can anyone have a defence to that?

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        #4
        They'll try, believe me.

        Usually some nonsense about the place being damp, which you should compensate them £4000 for. (Which of course means they don't owe anything, and so the s8 disappears in a puff of smoke.)

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          #5
          I've got to a point where I will forgo the debt just as long as we get possession, as it would be like getting blood from a stone even if we got a money order too

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            #6
            I would try to get gas certificate done just in case before submitting a claim and keep the record of your communication. Tell your tenant that it is a government requirement.

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              #7
              Thanks, that's my plan, I am going to arrange a gas certificate as best as I possibly can and if the plumber can't get in to do the check then, hopefully, as far as the court is concerned I've done my best to get one in place.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by greycarpet View Post

                Thanks for your reply. I didn't because the tenant was an insitu tenant when we purchased the house and no paperwork for deregulation act was supplied, nor was the tenancy agreement worth the ink used to print it. But if they've racked up a debt of over £4000 how can anyone have a defence to that?

                Did you find out how long the tennat had been living there for (date they 1st moved in) before you purchased the house with tenant insitu with very little paper work !



                Thunderbirds are go

                Comment


                  #9
                  Expect a defence and counterclaim for disrepair, though judges aren't stupid, they know when a tenant is trying it on and they'd need to prove (to a civil standard - more sure than not sure) of the disrepair and associated cost. If you have kept it in recent condition and properly served the section 8, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

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                    #10
                    Thanks, I have kept it to the best of my ability, they haven't communicated any problems with the house and if they do I'm pretty responsive to maintenance requests. As for properly serving section 8 is by first class recorded suitable?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      45002,

                      Thanks, I wasn't aware of the date they first move in but I believe its years before we purchased however it was only formalised with a "proper" TA a couple of months before purchase

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by greycarpet View Post

                        ....As for properly serving section 8 is by first class recorded suitable?
                        General advice is post two s8's, from two different post offices, each with **free** "proof of postage". Judge might accept one going missing, v v unlikely two. Keep copies & certificates.

                        Tougher now with Xmas & Covid, sorry.
                        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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                          #13
                          I see, I have proof of delivery from the tenant when they accepted the letter. I went on the notion that if 1st class recorded is suitable for the police in a traffic case then its more than ok for the section 8. They also acknowledged the fact that they have been told to leave in further correspondence so I believe it is beyond reasonable doubt they received the notice?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by greycarpet View Post

                            Thanks, I wasn't aware of the date they first move in but I believe its years before we purchased however it was only formalised with a "proper" TA a couple of months before purchase
                            So you puchased a property with tennats instu and do not know the date they 1st moved in !

                            So you dont really know if its a AST, Assured Tenancy or Regulated tenancy then ?

                            Signing an AST will not invalidate any previous tenancy they had.

                            https://www.gov.uk/private-renting-t.../tenancy-types
                            Thunderbirds are go

                            Comment

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