Rent arrears

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  • Rent arrears

    undefinedAs a first time landlord I would be grateful for some advice as to the best way forward to a rent arrears situation. I have a 5 bed student let (each with their own individual room tenancies). The AST started 1.7.2005 and the Term is 12mths. One particular tenant rang me at the end of Sept to say that she was moving out to be with her boyfriend at a different property and was giving me a months notice and to take Octobers rent from her deposit.
    I explained that this was not acceptable and that the term was for 12 mths etc. The current situation is that no rent has been paid for Oct and that some of her belongings remain in the room. She has not handed in her keys or put anything in writing to me.
    Should I (a) Issue a Section 8 notice and claim for possession and arrears or (b) Issue a Section 21 Notice and go for possession only.
    My gut feeling is to cut my losses, gain possession and move on, however I also feel strongly that this is just sending the wrong message to tenants (as it seems to me that she has obtained the exact outcome she wanted) and that I should go for the arrears via a CCJ as it will be very hard for me to let a single room at this ime of year anyway.
    Lastly, can anyone advise on some good literature / website on the correct proceedure for the two above situations.
    Many thanks

  • #2
    Neither, you have no need to serve notice upon them, they have given you the notice. Inform her that she is liable for the rent until you find a replacement tenant(and you must make every effort to do so), and that while she can take the rent out of the deposit, any damages must still be paid for. Inform her that any unpaid rent and any damages she will be sued for in small claims. It is VITAL that you get her new address, whether you get it from her, or if she is not willing, find out her new address by hook or by crook!

    Out of interest you say the AST, but would you not have 5 AST's in place?

    *EDIT* out of interest, whereabouts is this?? I happen to know a female student who has done almost exactly the same very recently, and imagine the coincidence if it was the same person
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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    • #3
      Rent arrears

      Thanks for that, there are indeed 5 AST's in place.
      Does her verbal notice therefore mean that she can end the AST? I'm a bit confused! I thought that that the term was for the 12mths.

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      • #4
        No it doesnt. But she has given you notice of vacating the property, so you do not need to give her notice. Apart from anything else, neither would work. You could not use a S21, as it is not out of the fixed term, and you could not use a S8, as they are not 2 months in arrears.

        You did, I presume, get guarantors for your tenants?

        Still interested to know whereabouts it is wouldnt be in Newcastle somewhere by any chance would it?
        Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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        • #5
          No its not- It's in sunny South Wales, and no I did,nt have a guarantor for her, just the deposit.(harsh lesson I know!)
          As its almost impossible to let the one room this side of Xmas now,I'm tempted to let it go for a few more weeks, which means she will be 2mths in arrears and then issue the Section 8.Her belongings are still there which means that I can't let the room anyway does't it?

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          • #6
            But, if she has vacated the property, there is no point in going down the Section 8 route. She is entitled to give you notice to leave. However she must realise that inside the fixed term she is still responsible for the rent. My suggestion would be to do what I have said above, if neccessary follow her to the boyfriends one day, just to find out the address, and if rent is not paid, and damages exist, then serve court papers on her at that address. If her belongings are still there AFTER when she has said she will leave, then I THINK you will be permitted to remove them(although you must still store them for a while somewhere). This is a vital point however, with student lets you should always get guarantors. Do you know her home(ie parents/non term time) address?

            I could perhaps be wrong about the Section 8, but I believe I am right. Mainly because if a tenant gives you notice to leave during the fixed term, you are entitled to the rent. However(and this is the reason I believe I am right about the Section 8), I cannot emphasize enough the fact that you are expected by the courts to mitigate your loss - in other words, to attempt to find a new tenant ASAP. If you cannot prove that you have done this, in a small claims situation you will not get all of your lost rent awarded for definite.

            Just to point out, that although the Section 8 is possibly valid, possibly not(im sure others will clarify), the Section 21 is a no go for definite. Just to remove that option from you!

            Thought the coincidence was too coincidental haha
            Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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            • #7
              Just as a point of interest, whilst in an AST you can remove EITHER subletting OR assignment as an option to the tenant, you cannot remove both. So in order to resolve the issue, you may wish to tell them all the above, but point out that they can assign(give the tenancy to someone else) or sublet(rent out the room themselves to someone else) to resolve the situation, at your discretion. From a landlords point of view, assignment is the better option on the whole, and also probably(for a fairly genuine tenant) for the tenant also.
              Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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              • #8
                Why do you have five ASTs on a single house? are the rooms registered as individual addresses?
                For the avoidance of doubt, I am not a solicitor nor a specialist. I have simply spent many years in the business and am expressing my opinions. I would urge caution to any individual using these forums as a sole basis for decision without first speaking to a solicitor.

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                • #9
                  HMO with communal areas mjpl? If rooms are let on a room by room basis?
                  Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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                  • #10
                    cut your losses change the locks and get it rented out again , find out where she is and then get a CC order against her and tell her if she is workin you will get a AOEO that dose the trick

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