"Accidental" landlord- tenant pays persistently late

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    "Accidental" landlord- tenant pays persistently late

    Hi, I am new to this forum. I am a landlord by mistake really! I have owned a property for a long time and then got married to soldier and accompany him on his postings so I rented out my flat. I then tried to sell it in 2007 with no luck so remortgaged and bought a second property as a pension for my husband as he is soon to leave the forces.
    Did employ agents to manage both properties but got fed up with receiving rent about 20 days late from them and paying them a fee for the privilage.

    Have had tenants in one property since Aug '07 and they payed by standing order to the letting agents with no problems. They are a Polish couple with a teenage son. The husband has 2 factory jobs and the wife has one job.Since I parted company with the agents the rent has been late 5 out of 6 months.

    The rent is due 4th monthly. August's wasn't received until September (I know they went to France for 3 weeks) and September rent was late. November was paid in 2 parts because of a work problem. December not yet paid again a work problem has been quoted. I have been very understanding so far but now cannot afford for this to continue. I am a new mum on maternity leave and do not want to be forced to return to work to cover the mortgage.

    I have sent a letter to the tenants detailing the late payment along with a standing order mandate. I have stated that expedient payment must be made for December and Standing order set up in good time for January or I will consider applying for court order to reposses premises.

    Apart from this recent history of persistant late payment they have been good tenants. The house has been redecorated byu them to a good standard and I have to say they keep it in very good order.

    Can anyone define what a court will consider "persistantly Late" and offer any advice. I was considering asking them to approach housing benefit for help with their rent. Am I being taken for a ride?

    #2
    Yes and yes again

    Originally posted by Jemsam View Post
    Hi, I am new to this forum. I am a landlord by mistake really! I have owned a property for a long time and then got married to soldier and accompany him on his postings so I rented out my flat. I then tried to sell it in 2007 with no luck so remortgaged and bought a second property as a pension for my husband as he is soon to leave the forces.
    Did employ agents to manage both properties but got fed up with receiving rent about 20 days late from them and paying them a fee for the privilage.

    Have had tenants in one property since Aug '07 and they payed by standing order to the letting agents with no problems. They are a Polish couple with a teenage son. The husband has 2 factory jobs and the wife has one job.Since I parted company with the agents the rent has been late 5 out of 6 months.

    The rent is due 4th monthly. August's wasn't received until September (I know they went to France for 3 weeks) and September rent was late. November was paid in 2 parts because of a work problem. December not yet paid again a work problem has been quoted. I have been very understanding so far but now cannot afford for this to continue. I am a new mum on maternity leave and do not want to be forced to return to work to cover the mortgage.

    I have sent a letter to the tenants detailing the late payment along with a standing order mandate. I have stated that expedient payment must be made for December and Standing order set up in good time for January or I will consider applying for court order to reposses premises.

    Apart from this recent history of persistant late payment they have been good tenants. The house has been redecorated byu them to a good standard and I have to say they keep it in very good order.

    Can anyone define what a court will consider "persistantly Late" and offer any advice. I was considering asking them to approach housing benefit for help with their rent. Am I being taken for a ride?
    You seem to have established a pattern. They pay late give any excuse and You shrug your shoulders and wag a finger. But from what you've said your caught between a rock and a hard place. If there are currently no arrears personally I'd look at how long they have to go on the tenancy agreement. If its not long to gothen consider either putting the rent up for the new term or keeping it the same with penalties for late payments. Is their deposit protected? Also and more importantly only renew their contract upon proof of them having set up a standing order.

    Its annoying when you realise being a soft touch backfires on you but considering there are no arrears life could be a hell of alot worse.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Charlesstunts View Post
      Its annoying when you realise being a soft touch backfires on you but considering there are no arrears life could be a hell of alot worse.
      I agree completely with Charlesstunts analysis - the real problem is though that tenants like this who push the boundaries and establish a pattern never get better, they just get worse. They'll gradually go from being a few days late, to a few weeks late, until before you know it they are months in arrears.

      I've have to say I've been caught doing the finger-wagging thing in the past myself , and ended up getting burned. So when one of my current tenants was late on his first payment after moving in (the b*gger decided he needed a new car that month and that the Bank of Landlord would make a nice interest-free loan to him) I came down on him like the proverbial ton of bricks - in the nicest possible Rodent1-like way of course... and nearly a year later the tenancy is still running sweet as a nut.

      Comment


        #4
        I agree that a standing order makes it more likely that you will receive the payment on time, but it does not help at all if a) there is no money in the account for it to be paid from, and/or tenant cancels it.

        A stiffly-worded letter pointing out how unacceptable their late paying is and how it jeopardises the paying of the mortgage on the property...how this in turn may lead to its being repossesed, might have some effect - or it might not.

        They sound to have been exemplary tenants otherwise and you have to ask whether in the present climate you would readily find some replacements who are better.
        '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


          #5
          "Persistently delayed paying rent which has become lawfully due" is the wording of ground 11 in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988 ("Grounds on which Court may order possession"- i.e. discretionary grounds). It is not defined there, so its meaning might be ascertainable from any Court decisions on the topic- but that's all. Sorry!
          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


            #6
            It's true a pattern has been established, I took my eye off the ball whilst with a new baby and I won't let it happen again. I think they are taking the Michael and I am hoping they fall into line ASAP as the tenancy runs until August 09. Have received a message from them stating they have posted back the mandate and rent will be paid as soon as they have the cash........................how many times have I heard that one.

            Comment


              #7
              Say good-bye

              Hi
              In my experience things usually go from bad to worse. Being away is no excuse for not paying rent. It is odd how people think it's OK not to pay you even though they continue to use your property.

              Suggest you give them notice ASAP in accordance with terms of tenancy - usually 2 months, check on this site how to word your section 21 correctly and with the right date for notice expiry. Start again with new tenants.
              Regards

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by shackleton9 View Post
                Hi
                In my experience things usually go from bad to worse. Being away is no excuse for not paying rent. It is odd how people think it's OK not to pay you even though they continue to use your property.

                Suggest you give them notice ASAP in accordance with terms of tenancy - usually 2 months, check on this site how to word your section 21 correctly and with the right date for notice expiry. Start again with new tenants.
                Regards
                Why s.21 only? Use s.8 as well, or instead, as it's quicker.
                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


                  #9
                  I have had exactly the same, tenant keeps property tidy but rent is always late. If anyone is going to get a "bank error" its my tenant, if anyone has "a problem that will be sorted in the next two weeks", if anyone has the HB screwed up its my tenant. Last week I was informed their account had been frozen and will take a couple of weeks to sort out. Unbelievable that so much happens to one person, all since the rent started to be late.

                  After debating whether it was fair to hassle tenant before Xmas, I've decided that a stern letter goes to tenant on monday and I start issueing notices in the new year.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Life Lessons

                    Originally posted by silvercar View Post
                    I have had exactly the same, tenant keeps property tidy but rent is always late. If anyone is going to get a "bank error" its my tenant, if anyone has "a problem that will be sorted in the next two weeks", if anyone has the HB screwed up its my tenant. Last week I was informed their account had been frozen and will take a couple of weeks to sort out. Unbelievable that so much happens to one person, all since the rent started to be late.

                    After debating whether it was fair to hassle tenant before Xmas, I've decided that a stern letter goes to tenant on monday and I start issueing notices in the new year.
                    In a way all this tooing and throwing really comes down to us as landlords taking stock of past experiences and learning from them. If only we could nip these relationships in the bud as soon as we suspect trouble but there are so many factors which prelong the break up. Law and forms, giving them one last chance ...again and having to go through the hassle and stress of interviewing etc etc. Lifes not perfect and I still get caught out occaisionally, but I'm getting better checking references and having all bases covered so the financial damage of a dodgy tenant is reduced. Next month I'll be 40 and I've owned and rented my house for the last 19 years. Perhaps I should have chatted with long established landlords with 100's of properties before buying my place but like life you stumble a little some times alot learn to count your blessings and avoid the pit falls. As for your tenant I'm on the fence till they fall into arrears. I wouldn't wait till Aug 09 to get them to set up a standing order either. And avoid small talk in future stay focused on the problem at hand and remind them that what ever the excuse it is not your concern. If it turns out that you have to get rid, then balance up the financial uncertainty and stress against the stress of finding new reliable tenants.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jemsam View Post

                      Can anyone define what a court will consider "persistantly Late" and offer any advice. I was considering asking them to approach housing benefit for help with their rent. Am I being taken for a ride?
                      Hi

                      There is very little case law specifically on the issue of persistent late payment I'm afraid.

                      In one case (Etherington v Burt [2004] EWHC 95, QBD; [2004] JHL D39) the court held that there must be a degree of positive intent or inaction on the tenants part. So, for example, it does seem clear that delays due to housing benefit (I know that doesnt apply in your case) cannot give rise to claim on this ground.

                      It is also important to remember that this is one of the reasonableness grounds, so it will very much depend upon the judge's assessment of the overall circumstances of the case.

                      The definition of persistent is something that continues and last for a long time. So, it does seem likely that the odd late payment will not be enough and that there must be a continuous largely unbroken pattern.

                      Would be interested to know you get on because this is a relatively uncommon ground to rely on.

                      Preston

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thanks. Got the signed standing order mandate back today so here is hoping that they will fall line. If the same continues to happen i will try to repossess but I think a court would favour them as they had a whole year of being exemplary tenants until July this year. I will move my mortgage payment to later in the month in the meantime.

                        Comment

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