Problem tenants....stealing electric....

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    Problem tenants....stealing electric....

    Hi all, first time poster here and hoping someone who has experienced this may be able to suggest a fix....Here goes the story....

    My parents own a town house in England which has 7 self contained flats. My Dad was in charge of collecting the rents, issuing electric cards etc but last summer he became ill and handed the responsibility to one of his "trusted tenants" and in return he reduced his rent by £20 per week. The tenant collected the rents and handed them over but always seemed to be short of his own rent. Then, as you know, the housing benefit system changed and a few of the tenants decided to spend their rent cheques on things other than their rent. As the house was always my Dads "thing" my Mum didn't realise quite how much it was spiralling out of control. In March I paid the house a visit and collected all of the rent books and discovered that my Dad's trusted tenant owes over £3,000 in arrears. Another ones owes nearly £1,500 and another nearly £1,000. All the tenants in arrears are on H/B so we informed the council so they could arrange to have the cheques sent directly. In the meantime we informed the tenants of the situation about my Dad's illness and their rent cheques. I also continued to go to the house once a week to collect rents (the ones on H/B had a defecit amount to make up to their full rent) but this was a job in itself as they always told me they had no money. Sadly, my Dad passed away in April. We have now handed the running of the house to an agency who have told us that they will hand out payment plans and try and get the arrears back. We personally think that this will be a lost cause and they will have to evict them but hey-ho, we are prepared for that

    What I am most disgusted about is that my Dads trusted tenant was in charge of selling the electric cards. We totalled up that he had £300 worth of cards (why so much I don't know) to sell. The cards are all £5. When I paid him a visit 3 weeks ago I asked him for the electric money, he gave me £30!! He has "borrowed" the rest!! Borrowed in his eyes, stolen in mine! I therefore refused to leave any more with him and went round the flats myself to sell them to anyone who needed them. What I didn't mention before is that when I paid the house a visit in March that two of the tenants had extension cables coming out from under their door and were plugged into the sockets in the hallway (my Dads electric). I told my Dad when I got back to his place so he rang the trusted tenant and told him to switch off the hall sockets (the box is in his flat as he lives in the basement) but I am now worried that as we have removed instant access to electric cards that he will switch them back on and they will be back stealing electricity!! We cant remove the sockets as they are needed to hoover the stairs, hall, landings etc but dont know how I can ensure that he cant switch it back on in the meantime? And is there anything we can do about the missing electric money? He showed me 6 personal cheques that he had written, all with different amounts, claiming that he wrote them at the time he borrowed the money (as the cheques were made out to my Mum I think he did it as an after-thought) but he can't afford to hand any of them over yet!

    Any help/advice/personal experience would be much appreciated and sorry for rambling on and on....

    #2
    You or the deceased can't expect tenants to suddenly become business people when put in charge of a situation like this. You have done the right thing by getting professional help.

    Your father made a poor judgement and you have to accept that. You may get some cash back but more likely ahve right it off and move on. Get an electrician to put in lockable power sockets in the hall for cleaning purposes.



    Freedom at the point of zero............

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      #3
      The 'trusted tenant' was an agent for your dad, so if the other tenants have proof of what they paid to "TT" then they are in the clear. If any owe more than the requisite amount for section 8, ground 8 eviction, then start the process because you have to show the house that you mean business and are not going to be messed around.

      You can evict TT using section 8 ground 14, and probably ground 8. There is no need for notice before going to court under ground 14. You might want to get the police involved if he has 'stolen' any cash paid by the other tenants for rent.

      You can get lockable covers for electricity sockets

      If you can prove that TT has had the money for the electricity cards, then sue him - but as a student you may have difficulty getting any money out of him, no matter what a court says.

      If the agents do do the eviction for you then you might want to bear in mind that a DIY section 8 eviction should cost no more than £250 (£100 court, iro £100 bailiffs) and that the agent can not appear in court instead of you.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
        You or the deceased can't expect tenants to suddenly become business people when put in charge of a situation like this. You have done the right thing by getting professional help.

        Your father made a poor judgement and you have to accept that. You may get some cash back but more likely ahve right it off and move on. Get an electrician to put in lockable power sockets in the hall for cleaning purposes.

        You don't need to be a business person to open your flat door and recieve an envelope with rent in. Nor do you need to be business like to hand over an electric card to a tenant in exchange for £5. Thats all the man had to do. All that in exchange for a rent reduction of £20 per week.

        I didn't know you could get lockable power sockets though so thanks for the tip.

        Comment


          #5
          Snorkerz...The tenants who are in arrears all admit to not paying their rent, the trusted tenant has not stolen their rent money. He has just failed to pay most of his own rent as well as pilfer the electric money. He is a grown man, not a student.

          The agency we have now have a great reputation and have no qualms about serving section 8 and/or 21 notices. They also have their own bailiffs, legal team etc so that part is all in hand.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by TeeJay View Post
            The agency we have now have a great reputation and have no qualms about serving section 8 and/or 21 notices. They also have their own bailiffs, legal team etc so that part is all in hand.
            Okay, so show the tenants that you mean business.

            I am a little worried about the agency having it's own bailiffs - so far as I am aware, only court bailiffs can effect a legal eviction in England/Wales for a residential property rented with an AST.

            My indication of costs was so you could weigh up the value of their service. Providing the paperwork is correct (and you'd get loads of help on here) a section 21 or a section 8 (ground 8) get a compulsory eviction no matter who presents it! There are companies that will charge £1000 each lease to get a property back - and are no more effective than DIY.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
              Okay, so show the tenants that you mean business.

              I am a little worried about the agency having it's own bailiffs - so far as I am aware, only court bailiffs can effect a legal eviction in England/Wales for a residential property rented with an AST.
              Funnily enough thats what I thought so I must have mis-heard them. I do remember them telling me that when they threaten tenants with bailiffs then that's when most of them decide to go quietly.

              As for their costs, they take a 10% cut of what the house brings in on a monthly basis. They are a reputable company and were recommended to my Mum by a friend who uses them.

              Thanks for your cost indications anyway

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by TeeJay View Post
                Funnily enough thats what I thought so I must have mis-heard them. I do remember them telling me that when they threaten tenants with bailiffs then that's when most of them decide to go quietly.

                As for their costs, they take a 10% cut of what the house brings in on a monthly basis. They are a reputable company and were recommended to my Mum by a friend who uses them.

                Thanks for your cost indications anyway
                Most agencies charge their monthly management fee - but evictions are normally an 'additional service'. It would be worth verifying this with the agency before instructing them to avoid any nasty suprises.

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                  #9
                  Problem Tenants are going to be the thing of the past soon. Our company is bringing in a solution that will create a Tenant Credit score and tenants will think twice before being late with rent or do stupid things... you should check out this site!
                  Last edited by LandlordZONE; 06-12-2010, 11:21 AM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I'm having a distinct feeling of deja vu here. This exact same post was on another landlord website over a year ago. Same problem and roughly same answers!



                    Freedom at the point of zero............

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