Non paying tenant

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    Non paying tenant

    Hi,

    New here and trying to find some advice on our tenant who has been repeatedy late paying rent. I was hoping to find some info in FAQ but this facility seems to be unavailable at the moment.

    We have let this property through the same agent for 10 years, and have never had a bad paying tenant until this chap moved in last October. First month was fine, but since he has been later and later paying each month. Our tenancy agreement states rent is due on 1st of the month. We have had to chase rent on several occasions, and tenant is usually atleast 10 days late paying, but so far this month, none has been paid as it is now 24th.

    The agent seems to have a very casual arrangement - previous tenants have always paid through bank transfer, but this one arranged for agent to collect rent direct from him, and apparently is often difficult to catch at home or promises to drop in a cheque but is invariably late. We have now given the tenant 2 months notice (from 1 April). Had he been a regular payer, we would not have felt the need to get rid of him, so he has brought all this on himself.

    The agent says his hands are tied, as all he can do is keep pestering tenant to pay. We have also heard from someone who lives local to our property that this tenant has done this to previous landlords. However, our agent says nothing showed up on his credit check. Bascially, where do we stand? What can we do to get him to pay? Should our letting agent be doing more? And how can we get the tenant's credit reference marked to show him as a bad payer, so other landlords don't fall foul of him once he leaves our property? Is the only option to take him to court?

    Any advice appreciated, thank you!

    #2
    Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
    Hi,

    New here and trying to find some advice on our tenant who has been repeatedby late paying rent. I was hoping to find some info in FAQ but this facility seems to be unavailable at the moment.

    We have let this property through the same agent for 10 years, and have never had a bad paying tenant until this chap moved in last October. First month was fine, but since he has been later and later paying each month. Our tenancy agreement states rent is due on 1st of the month. We have had to chase rent on several occasions, and tenant is usually atleast 10 days late paying, but so far this month, none has been paid as it is now 24th.

    The agent seems to have a very casual arrangement - previous tenants have always paid through bank transfer, but this one arranged for agent to collect rent direct from him, and apparently is often difficult to catch at home or promises to drop in a cheque but is invariably late. We have now given the tenant 2 months notice (from 1 April). Had he been a regular payer, we would not have felt the need to get rid of him, so he has brought all this on himself.

    The agent says his hands are tied, as all he can do is keep pestering tenant to pay. We have also heard from someone who lives local to our property that this tenant has done this to previous landlords. However, our agent says nothing showed up on his credit check. Bascially, where do we stand? What can we do to get him to pay? Should our letting agent be doing more? And how can we get the tenants credit reference marked to show him as a bad payer, so other landlords don't fall foul of him once he leaves our property? Is the only option to take him to court?

    Any advice appreciated, thank you!
    How long was the term of the contract, if it was a 6 month AST (i.e rent under £2083 pm and in England or Wales) don't bother trying to use a Section 8 on ground 11 (contant late payments) as you are unlikely to gain possession on that ground alone. Go straight to a section 21 giving two months but make sure the deposit is protected otherwise the section 21 can not be enforced.

    Most of us see late payment as an annoying problem but dependant how else the tenant behaves, 24 days late would wind me up I have to confess, 1-10 I don't have too much of a issue with however if T need to pay by cash/cheque you have to wonder about their financial stability.

    As there is non process to report late paying tenants to the credit agencies it is never going to show on a credit search. Court is your call, is it worth pursuing somebody with no money?

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your prompt reply. The tenancy agreement was 6 months, which expired on 31 March, so hence the 2 months notice we gave on 1 April.

      Just to complicate matters, we are currently trying to sell the property and T has "put off" a prospective buyer by saying he has had noise nuisance from the flat upstairs - we have had Ts there for 9 years previously and not one has mentioned this!

      I'll have to look into the details you have given (as we let through agent we are not familar with the terms etc). We just want to make sure we get the rent he owes, before he makes a move to leave. We are wondering whether giving him notice has prompted him to think he can get away with not paying any more rent and doing a moonlight flit!

      His deposit is protected as the letting agent sorts this, and suggested we could use to cover atleast a month's missing rent, but obviously, this is intended to cover damage/repairs, so we are reluctant to use this until we see what state the place is left in.

      I agree with your sentiments about taking someone with no money to court, but from what we have heard, its not can't pay, its won't! Its not something we'd go for lightly, but wonder what our options are if he does walkaway owing us 2 months rent.

      Thanks again

      Comment


        #4
        by notice what do you mean? did you issue a section 21 notice or just a letter? also what day did the tenancy start? the 1st of the month?

        There are many threads on the forum about viewings to sell with T in-situ, most peoples experience is that T doesn't likes (and they are 100% within their rights not to or to not even co-operate) and so make the posibility of sale unlikley. From personal experience if you need to bribe them with a rent reduction if you want them to help you sell the property....only reasonable given it is their home

        Comment


          #5
          T took on the tenancy knowing the place was on the market, and said he was happy for viewings to take place, so this should not be an issue.

          Tenancy started 1 October 2009, so we asked the letting agent to issue 2 months notice at the earliest opportunity, which they advised was 1 April (6 calendar months having expired on 31 March). Don't know what they gave him as I assume they deal with lettings all the time, so have done it right. He obviously won't have to leave the property until 31 May, and although it would be nice if he left sooner, we are not looking to evict him earlier than this, but we still expect rent whilst he is there!

          Excuse my ignorance, which is the whole reason I let through an agency, and I thought would save me from this sort of hassle, but obviously not!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
            I agree with your sentiments about taking someone with no money to court, but from what we have heard, its not can't pay, its won't! Its not something we'd go for lightly, but wonder what our options are if he does walkaway owing us 2 months rent.
            Is the tenant working and if so do you know the work address?

            Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
            Tenancy started 1 October 2009, so we asked the letting agent to issue 2 months notice at the earliest opportunity, which they advised was 1 April (6 calendar months having expired on 31 March).
            They could have issued a s.21 notice any time after the deposit was protected. A s.21 must give T at least two months, and cannot expire before the end of the fixed term. So - the agent could have served notice on or before 1st February, to expire on 31st March (or, for example, on 6th February to expire on 5th April)

            Don't know what they gave him as I assume they deal with lettings all the time, so have done it right.
            Given that the agent did not know he could serve notice earlier than 1st April, it would be inadvisable to assume they've done it correctly. Ask to see a copy of the notice, and proof of service. Then post again on here with the following information:
            1. Date of notice?
            2. Date of expiry?
            3. Does it say it's a s.21(1)(b) or a s.21(4)(a)?
            4. Does it say you require possession "after" the expiry date?
            5. What proof of service is there? - if proof of posting, what date was the notice posted? If they used a signed-for service, is there evidence T signed for it?


            Excuse my ignorance, which is the whole reason I let through an agency, and I thought would save me from this sort of hassle, but obviously not!
            Is the agent a member of a professional body such as ARLA, or NAEA, etc?

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for all replies, I am learning a lot here today!

              Me thinks I shall be on the phone to the agent again on Monday asking him to send the "boys" 'round!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
                Asking him to send the "boys" 'round!
                I sure that was said in Jest, but that is the very last thing you should do, not unless you like spending money on big fines

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
                  Thanks for all replies, I am learning a lot here today!
                  You'll learn more if you answer my questions above.

                  Me thinks I shall be on the phone to the agent again on Monday asking him to send the "boys" 'round!
                  Like matthew_henson, I'm assuming this is a bad joke, but you should be aware that illegal eviction is a criminal offence - i.e. you can be prosecuted, fined and potentially sent to prison.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yes of course - sorry if anyone took it wrongly. I thought my use of the would suggest I wasn't serious!

                    Sorry Westminster, until I contact the agent I can't answer the questions you have asked. I do appreciate you (and matthew_henson) trying to help my situation but I don't have that information to hand. As for T's working status, having never had any direct contact with him, I don't know that either. As the agent's office is in the same town as the property (15 miles away from me), my guess is he may have hand delivered the notice, so will likely have no proof of serving it other than his office copy. As per my original post, the issue I have at the moment is not getting T to leave the property, but getting him to cough up the rent before he goes. Having now looked up further information on the s.21, I understand your comments about us being entitled to serve this before the end of the 6 month tenancy - our LA seems to have advised us wrongly here, so will have to speak to him about that too. Obviously that is now a foregone conclusion, as the notice (whatever form it took) was issued on 1 April, and we will now have to let the 2 months run because of this. When the 2 months is up, I may yet be posting here again about how to get T out of my property!

                    I thought by giving my thanks above, I was showing appreciation of everyone's kind advice to date and my comment was meant as light hearted humour. Although I may still have a lot to learn about the ins and outs of lettings, I am not stupid enough to not understand the implications of taking such action. Sorry again for any offense.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
                      As for T's working status, having never had any direct contact with him, I don't know that either.
                      You mean you allowed a tenant to move in without asking the agent about T's reference checks, earnings, etc?

                      Obviously that is now a foregone conclusion, as the notice (whatever form it took) was issued on 1 April, and we will now have to let the 2 months run because of this. When the 2 months is up, I may yet be posting here again about how to get T out of my property!
                      Check that the s.21 notice was correctly worded and served, or you may be back to square one.
                      Check that the deposit is protected.
                      Ask to see copies of both, and a copy of the tenant's reference check.

                      If T again doesn't pay the rent due on 1st May (in addition to rent due and unpaid on 1st April) then you can serve a s.8 notice using grounds 8, 10 & 11, on 2nd May, because at that point there will be two months' rent owing and unpaid, which is mandatory grounds for possession, and you could start proceedings a little sooner than if you wait for the s.21 to expire.

                      http://www.letlink.co.uk/letting-fac...-8-notice.html

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thank you for your latest reply. Perhaps we have been naive in the past, but our Agents have always carried out credit checks etc on our behalf, and confirmed to us that tenants were credit worthy before they moved in. We have never been given copies of any credit checks, and have had 3 previous tenants who have never caused us a problem, so we have basically left in all the the Letting agent to deal with. Obviously now, we will be one bitten, twice shy!

                        I have tried to ring agent this morning but not there, left a message to call me later. T's deposit is protected as it is stated in the tenancy agreement.

                        If for any reason the S.21 was not served correctly, and rent is still owing on 1 May which is Saturday, can we still go with the S.8 notice then. I have been trying to read up on all this info online and get my head around it, but not sure whether there is a specific order which these things need to be done.

                        Thanks again!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by LesleyAnne View Post
                          I have tried to ring agent this morning but not there, left a message to call me later. T's deposit is protected as it is stated in the tenancy agreement.
                          That doesn't prove it's protected. Ask for proof that: 1. deposit is protected, 2. proof that T has been given the prescribed information. Don't just take the agent's word for it, especially as he has already misinformed you once regarding when you could serve a s.21.

                          If for any reason the S.21 was not served correctly, and rent is still owing on 1 May which is Saturday, can we still go with the S.8 notice then.
                          You can serve both notices; one does not affect the other. You can apply for possession on the basis of either notice.

                          Most landlords serve both if there is two months' rent owing and unpaid, because if for any reason the s.8 application for possession fails (for example, if T pays off the rent owing), then LL still has the back-up option of applying for possession via s.21 route (which has a guaranteed result, assuming the notice is valid).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Also, a s.8 Notice can be valid even if a s.21 Notice fails to be valid- for example, if:
                            a. a protectable deposit is not protected; or
                            b. a licensable HMO is not licensed.
                            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).

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