Anti Social behaviour from tenants?

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    Anti Social behaviour from tenants?

    Hi Folks,

    I'm a private landlord renting out my 2-bedroomed semi-detached house. The tenancy agreement has been signed for 12 months with a six month clause (it's the lawpack purchased from WHsmith). My tenants paid the deposit and one months rent in advance with rent being collected by standing order on the 22nd of each month.

    The first months rent was paid through standing order (albeit a few days late) but they have since told me that they cannot afford the monthly rent to be paid on the 22nd. They wanted to pay it weekly (with a discount of £75 per month). I wasn't happy with the situation but reluctantly agreed to collect the rent on a weekly basis for the time being.

    Ever since the tenants moved in I have received complaints from the neighbours that they are extremely loud, they scream and shout at each other all the time. On many occasions the adjoining neighbours are woken up at between two and three o'clock in the morning. The neighbours have politely asked the tenants to keep the noise down to which they apologise and stop but only until the next evening.

    Three weeks ago another neighbours called to let me know that they have been woken up at three o'clock on a sunday morning to the sound of two police cars and one police van. They observed the male tenant being handcuffed and thrown in the back of the van.

    The same day I spoke to the female tenant (who was black and blue) and she explained that he was an alcoholic, he'd lost his job, and that he had beaten her so badly that she had no choice but to contact the police.

    Now I am not being paid (two weeks outstanding) despite arranging to collect the rent and having to waste my time by turning up to an empty house.

    The police have attended the property again but did not arrest him. Neighbours are still complaining over the noise caused from fighting and now the tenants throw empty beer cans in the neighbours front gardens.

    I am at my witts-end with this one. I have told the neighbours to keep a log of events and to contact the police if they are disturbed. I have informed the tenants that I will proceed with court action to evict them. I have contacted a firm called Regency Law who are sending a Section 8 and Section 21 to the tenants and threatening court action. Is there anything else I can do?

    #2
    Your rights are:
    a. what the AST states; subject to
    b. what legislation applies- Housing Act 1988 and Protection from Eviction Act 1977, chiefly.

    It sounds like you have good grounds for a s.8 Notice (e.g. grounds 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, etc. in Schedule 2 to the 1988 Act). This applies during/ after fixed term. The s.21 procedure applies only after fixed term (although Notice under it can be served during term).

    What else did you have in mind?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


      #3
      when did the tenancy commence? How long unti lthe section 21 notice expires?

      Section 8 sounds like the way forward for grounds 8, 10, 11, 12 and 14 (assuming the tenancy agreement specifies noise/nuisance as a breach of the tenancy)

      Its a discretionary ground so a judge may refuse, but you appear to have little option - they are not paying rent and also annoying your neighbours.

      You could be looking at a fair amount of legal costs - under section 8 there will be 2 court hearings so you would have to pay for your solicitors attendance at both.

      If the section 21 notice expires shortly then go under that notice - its cheaper and you will get a possession order as long as the notice is valid
      PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

      Comment


        #4
        The section 21 won't come into effect until 22nd March 2009 so if they're not paying it'd be cheaper for me to take them to court. I doubt very much the tenants would even attend because they know they haven't a leg to stand on. What would happen if I were to proceed with court action and they failed to appear?

        Also, I have not protected their deposit, can I still do this without any consequences?

        Comment


          #5
          register it now - see other threads re this as it may help you at court.

          Section 8 will be faster, and where I said it was a discretionary ground that was only in relation to the nuisance grounds if there are defined rent arrears then ground 8 is a mandatory ground.

          I would get letters from the neighbours to support the noise/ASBO claim and press on.

          Up to you but if you confine your grounds to 8, 10, 14 and 15 where applicable - it means your section 8 notice only needs to run for 2 weeks rather than 2 months.

          If they do defend try to make them disclose the police file it seems relevant and disclosable
          PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

          Comment


            #6
            also the tenants may attend if they fail to defend they run the ris of the local authority finding them intentionally homeless. Have your mind set that they will defend and not leave until court bailiffs appear - anything sooner is a bonus
            PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Paul Gibbs View Post
              Section 8 sounds like the way forward for grounds 8, 10, 11, 12 and 14 (assuming the tenancy agreement specifies noise/nuisance as a breach of the tenancy)

              Its a discretionary ground
              No. Ground 8 is mandatory.
              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks Paul. The neighbours are more than happy to put their complaints in writing.

                Would a visit from the Council Envioronmental Health Officer work in my favour? Surely he will investigate the noise complaints?

                In your experience, will the section 8 and section 21 letters be enough to make the tenants realise that I am serious and maybe move out?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks Jeffrey - when i was originally replying was going to refer to just grounds 14 etc and meant that they were discretionary! (covered it tho in later post)


                  EHO will not assist in my opinion. They only will declare a statutory nuisance if the noise is of a sufficiently high volume for a sufficient time and also will take into account the time of day it occurs. I think it is unlikely it will be loud enough and the EHO will says its a nuisance, but not enough to be a statutory nuisance - this means they will not serve an abatement notice and it takes you no further.

                  Tenants may leave, but its hard to tell. In my experience tenants fight section 8 proceedings.
                  PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Without sounding racist, the tenants are Polish and I don't think that they are totally straight themselves (think they are unlawfully claiming various benefits), I get the impression that they would'nt know where or who to turn to and doubt they could afford professional assistance, again, not that they would have a leg to stand on.

                    I think I have been more than fair in trying to accomodate their needs. Remember that I have accepted weekly payments and a £75 discount per month. Would this be considered in my favour if this goes to court?

                    Is it worth offerring them their deposit back just to get lost (if I could get them to sign an agreement of course)?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by auto_detail View Post
                      Without sounding racist, the tenants are Polish and I don't think that they are totally straight themselves (think they are unlawfully claiming various benefits), I get the impression that they would'nt know where or who to turn to and doubt they could afford professional assistance, again, not that they would have a leg to stand on.

                      I think I have been more than fair in trying to accomodate their needs. Remember that I have accepted weekly payments and a £75 discount per month. Would this be considered in my favour if this goes to court?

                      Is it worth offerring them their deposit back just to get lost (if I could get them to sign an agreement of course)?
                      Probably, yes, as long as they haven't done any serious damage to the property. How willing would they be to move out early, though?
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I think the problem they face is that they don't have the money to put down as a deposit elsewhere. Still not sure how clued up they are.

                        I'll see what response I get from the solicitors letter.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hi

                          If you do decide to go for possession on the grounds of nuisance:

                          a) make sure your evidence is clear and in writing. Letters and statements from neighbours are very helpful. Log sheets completed by neighbours are also good - local authorities can often supply a format for this. Police records and records from other interested organisations are also worth getting hold of if possible. Summarise all your evidence in a simple chronology - make it as easy as possible for the judge. Include in your chronology everything you and others have done to advise the tenants of their responsibilities and to deal with their behaviour.
                          b) make it clear that there is a pattern of behaviour, rather than a simple one off incident - assuming this is the case of course. Again, in the summary point out the patterns and trends.
                          c) make it clear exactly what impact their behaviour is having on neighbours and yourself. Try to do this on an occasion by occasion basis, as well as overall. For example, noise late into the night kept tenants x, y and z awake till whenever; or put them in fear; etc. Overall the lack of sleep is affecting health, etc.

                          Generally speaking, courts and judges are becoming a little more sympathetic to landlords trying to deal with nuisance, so try to come across as reasonable and balanced in your presentation and you should get a good hearing.

                          Good luck

                          Preston

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks for the helpful advice Preston.

                            The tenants should receive a section 21 and section 8 today. What is the next stage?

                            I tried to get rent out of them last night but turned up to an empty house (again). The tenant won't answer my telephone calls. Should I just leave it now and be raped for two months rent?

                            Comment

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