Tenant can't pay and avoids us

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  • Tenant can't pay and avoids us

    A question from another inexperienced landlord. We rented a flat to a young guy who seemed very serious and mature. Now (in two months) he e-mailed us, saying that his working hours have been cut and he can't afford renting the flat anymore. He is paid weekly, and said that now he could pay us a quater of the rent each week. The problem is he e-mailed us on a day the rent was due, and we didn't receive a quater or any money at all. He doesn't pick up the phone, and it's hard to get in touch iwth him because they don't call him at work, saying that "he's busy and will call later". He doesn't.

    What is our course of action? I heard that we need to serve him a notice to leave. Where do I get one? Is it a special form?

    We did put his deposit into the DPS scheme. We'll try to pop in tonight (surprise visit) but if he doesn't have the money, then we can't get a blood out of the stone. How can we get his deposit back, so that it would at least pay for a month's rent? I know that deposit schemes favour the tenant, and usually just give the deposit back to him, regardless. How do we contact them?

    If you could explain everything in simple terms and in detail, I'd be very grateful. And from now on, no young people, even serious and mature ones. I did want to make his mom a garantor, but my husband refused because "it's not done nowdays", so we have nothing to fall back on. Plus, for £400 a month, you wouldn't go to courts.

    Thank you for any advice.

  • #2
    Well only three ways, to get him out.

    1) Section 21, to give notice that you wish to go to court after his fixed term is up(Norm 6months), and then go for the unpaid rent.

    2) Section 8, when he is 2 months behind in rent, or other grounds.( See other posts), and then go for the unpaid rent.

    3) Suggest to him that if he can't afford to pay the rent anyway, why don't we just go our seperate ways( in a nice way), and ask him to surrender the tennancy in writting, but inexchange I guess you loose some/all unpaid rent.

    3 would be the quickest and easiest, but only if he got somewhere else to go.

    Surprise visits or call him at his work, is something you shouldn't be doing.
    Calling him on his mobile, home number or letters is ok(But of course be careful what you put in writting)
    Gunantors are still used, and quite often, but can be a bit of a pain, if done correctly as "should/Can" be done as a deed(But hardly are), but again see other threads.

    As per the deposit, you must have protected it, so you should know how to contact them. But if you can prove unpaid rent and the contract says that the deposit can be used for that purpose, I can't see why you wouldn't get it back, unless you agree not to keep it as part of the surrender.

    So if I was the T, I would surrender the P as soon as possible, and try and pay as much as possible to the LL, and get the rest written off.

    As the LL, I would accept the T surrender, and write of the unpaid rent, and try and re-let it as soon as possible, and just use the deposit for damages.

    To me that the best and simplest way forward, and if the T did this, I would guess I still give the T a good referance in the future, as bad things do happen to good people.
    Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right


    • #3
      And from now on, no young people, even serious and mature ones.
      Is it right to discriminate on who you let to based on age, race, etc?

      As has been said, you can't just pop round there. You'll get yourself in trouble when he is the one in the wrong.

      Follow the correct procedure as advised. I hope it works out swiftly for you.


      • #4
        Originally posted by northlondoner View Post
        Is it right to discriminate on who you let to based on age, race, etc?
        It is NOT discrimination, otherwise car insurance companies would have been in court for charging 18 to 25 year olds 3 times the price for car insurance. But because more accidents occur in the 18 to 25 age bracket, then you take steps to minimise losses.

        In accommodation, you take steps to minimise losses, and young working people don't have much money left after paying exorbitant rents, Yes, exorbitant rents, as 20 years ago, round here, the same flats only needed one person to rent, but now because of the overpriced house prices, I see two people HAVING to share, because the rents are disproportionate to wages, and they HAVE to share to be able to rent.

        Not the case in OP, but if you know one age group can cause you problems, then you make sure you dont get problems.

        In New York, you are not allowed any discrimination, So if you see a young person, who by his demeanor, his filthy clothing, him looking like an escaped axe murderer, and looks like the type he would eventualy not pay the rent and trash the place, you are not allowed to refuse him a tenancy. see **

        Is that the way you want the U.K. to become, I think not.

        U.S.A. =
        The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
        • race or color
        • national origin
        • religion
        • sex
        • familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians; pregnant women and people securing custody of children under 18)
        • handicap (disability)
        • Refusing to rent to members of certain groups.
        • Refusing to accommodate the needs of disabled tenants, such as allowing a guide dog.
        • ** Falsely denying that a rental unit is available. ( because you don't like the look of the person -- we have all done that if we have to decide between 3 applicants )
        and The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) makes it unlawful to subject people to differential treatment based on race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex, (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability, including perceived disability and AIDS and HIV status. The LAD prohibits unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, places of public accommodation, credit and business contracts.

        You can not, as we can, discriminate by saying you don't want anyone on housing benefit.
        ( NYC landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants based on lawful source of income which includes income from social security or any form of federal, state or local public assistance )

        a landlord who disciminates can be fined up to $10,000 for a first offense and up to $25,000 for a second offense

        So please, Lets not go the way New York has gone. We have enough hassle with bad tenants now ( Yes, i know there are good tenants out there )
        Last edited by ram; 08-04-2010, 12:39 PM. Reason: parra' added


        • #5
          It is not harassment if you demand the rent politely, and do not, for example, call his office 10 times a day, or go round to the rental property and bang the door and shout. But T knows he owe the rent, so it's slightly pointless.

          Assuming this is an assured shorthold tenancy in England/Wales, serve a s.21 notice now, and a s.8 notice on Grounds 8, 10, & 11 as soon as there is two months' rent owing and unpaid, (while you can serve a s.8 sooner if the T is just late with the rent, it's better to wait for the mandatory Ground 8 to apply).

          Post the notices via first class post, and get a free certificate of posting from the PO, (then file copy notice + proof).

          Read through these links

          And if you join a landlords' association, they'll help you with the notices, (as well as follow up possession procedure - there are also a lot of threads about it on this forum)

          If the T leaves owing rent, raise a dispute with the deposit scheme. You are highly likely to win a claim for unpaid rent, as it's far more black and white than disputes over, say, damage or cleaning. Also, deposit scheme adjudication is not compulsory; you can opt out and settle the dispute in the county court if you wish.

          It is well worth pursuing a claim for £400+ via the courts when the defendant is working (as you can enforce the CCJ via an attachment of earnings). Anything less than £5,000 will be allocated to the small claims track, which is designed to be accessible to litigants-in-person, i.e you don't need to use a solicitor, and court fees are very low (and in any case are added to the debt). If you end up bringing a claim, it's advisable to buy a book on small claims procedure, which can be found on Amazon.

          Guarantors are very much "done nowadays" so your husband's advice was wrong.


          • #6
            Thank you for all your answers. It's funny to see how freely the words "harassment" and "discrimination" are used nowdays. No wonder criminals who burgle the houses now can sue the landlords, if they use force against them. Who cares about a poor landlord and all the stress of seeing an intimidating stranger in his house (probably armed and violent as well)?

            Where can I get s21 and s8 forms, apart from going to the solicitor? Is there anywhere I can get them for free? If I lose the rent, I really wouldn't like to lose any more money thatn that.

            Thank you.


            • #7
              Forms are available here at LZ. Click on "Agreements" at the top of the screen, then go to - er- "Forms".
              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).


              • #8
                Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                Forms are available here at LZ. Click on "Agreements" at the top of the screen, then go to - er- "Forms".
                in case you can't download the forms -- see


                as you need to register http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/register ( become a FULL member -- you giving name and address, etc )
                It took almost a day for the system to recognise me, and allow me to get forms -- ( I used the same I.D. and password )

                Find posts on here for s21 and s8 forms ( and different sections too, such as 8, 11, etc need to be included in claims ) and read well, as you need to get your dates 100% correct, regarding rent payment days, etc. etc. etc--- complicated, so research well, as a judge can dismiss your claim if you don't get them 100 % correct ! ( but you can apply again if he does )


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Irina View Post
                  How can we get his deposit back, so that it would at least pay for a month's rent? I know that deposit schemes favour the tenant, and usually just give the deposit back to him, regardless.
                  You should definitely not be trying to obtain the deposit now in lieu of rent, anyway. Providing your tenancy agreement says you are allowed to use the deposit against rent arrears (it certainly ought to, but does it?) then when you have finally repossessed the property, then is the time to ask for the deposit.

                  The point is, the deposit is there to pay for damage etc, and if you take the deposit now, there will be nothing left for damage when the tenant leaves; and in 4-6 weeks time you'll be in exactly the same arrears position as you are now, just with no deposit to fall back on.

                  When the tenant leaves, you may well need to take court action to get money back from him; it's very much easier to do that to claim rent rather than for damage, so what you do is use the deposit to cover damage, and then anything that's left over (with luck it will be 100%) you can put towards the rent arrears, and issue a small claim for the balance due.

                  my husband refused because "it's not done nowdays", so we have nothing to fall back on. Plus, for £400 a month, you wouldn't go to courts.
                  Hubby's 100% wrong I'm afraid: and what do you mean you wouldn't go to court for £400/month? I certainly would... anyway your rent arrears could easily reach £1-2,000 by the time you repossess, given the court waiting times.


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