Leaving early because of a smell.....?

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    Leaving early because of a smell.....?

    Good evening,
    We have a coach house converted to two units. In one, a Phillipino family were good tenants for 2 years until moving to a bigger place 5 weeks ago. They were keen cooks and regularly produced some lovely smells from the kitchen.
    A lady came along who was desparate to move in, works locally and seemed fine but was leaving her husband and short of cash. I did a quick clean and touched up the paint but did not have time to organise a full clean. She was happy that the cooking smells left by the Phillipino's were still there but should dissipate. On the 8th October she moved in and gave me £200 towards the rent. The rent is £450 per month but we agreed that she could pay £500 after pay day each month until she had caught up and paid the £200 deposit that I would protect when I received it in increments later. I have yet to receive the first £500!
    The smell is still there and she has now sent a letter saying she needs to move out as it is making her asthma worse. I have been to see her today and agree that the smell is there. I have offered to have the place deep cleaned and suggested that the bed and sofa that the Phillipinos left and she has used should be thrown away. I have pointed out that I cannot afford for her to simply walk away after signing a proper AST with a 6m fixed term. At the very least I pointed out that I would expect her to pay rent until we can get a new tenant and so moving out would be an expensive option.
    Whilst organising a homeclean service this afternoon, I received a text stating that she had been offered another place and would be leaving on 13th November so I should delay cleaning until after then.
    I would appreciate anyone's advice here. If we end up in court and she (and her friends) claim that the place was uninhabitable will I lose? I pointed out that the tenancy was a legal document and there were legal considerations as well as common courtesy to take into account.
    Should I write to her and send recorded delivery to point out the legality of the situation - if so, should this be drafted by a solicitor?
    Am I OK on the deposit?
    Sorry for all the questions - any advice would be appreciated. I could just let her go and move on - would you?????
    Regards,
    Adrian

    #2
    Adrian you joined LLZ in 2006! Have you learned nothing? You let this person into your property on £200 and a promise. How many times have you read that keys should not change hands until the deposit and first months payment are in your hands in cleared funds.

    Anyway - given what you say I think you might be best to let her go on the 13th. Have a go at getting the rent and costs of re letting from her by all means but I think you might be chasing rainbows. If the £200 was for rent with no element of deposit about it there should be no problem.

    I would normally say hold her to the contract but it seems your own lack of professionalism in this letting has led you to this situation.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

    Comment


      #3
      Ouch! Yes, you are right, I live and learn and started from a low point! The day job involves lots of trust between myself and clients and I like to believe I can help people out and trust them in my landlord role as well. I still believe this lady is genuine and has an issue that I have offered to help sort out. She however, is annoying me by behaving as if she has every right to move. Perhaps you are right and I should just accept things occasionally will go pear-shaped if you start with my attitude but I just want to know what my options are. Why would I be chasing rainbows?
      Thanks for the kicking - no I mean it, perhaps more lessons learnt (cos yes I have learnt plenty!!).
      Regards,
      Adrian

      Comment


        #4
        I'm glad I didn't offend you.

        Practically at this time, you should serve a S21(1)(b), this cannot take effect before the end of the fixed term (6 months)

        Then, if she is still there, and owes two months rent you should serve a S8 grounds 8/10/11. That would be after the 8th December if you receive no more rent from her in the meantime.

        Do not use recorded delivery for any notices of any sort. Post it and get a free certificate of posting from the PO.

        These steps are needed because there is no guarantee she will move out next week and until she does you should be treating her as you would any other tenant that does not stick to the contract.

        Finally, if she does move out you need to get a surrender from her in writing along with the keys before you think of letting to someone else. You may have a professional scam artist here and you need to do it properly.
        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

        Comment


          #5
          Regardless of your error in not demanding a deposit and rent in advance before allowing the tenancy to proceed, the T has no right to end the contract because of cooking smells left by the previous T, a problem which you have also offered to remedy. Basically, what she is doing is making an offer to surrender the tenancy, but you don't have to accept the surrender.

          You can instead behave in a manner consistent with the tenancy is continuing (e.g. do not re-let the property, do not enter without T's consent, etc), and as rent falls due each month, bring a county court claim against T for unpaid rent.

          Comment


            #6
            Hi JTA and Westminster,
            Thanks both for your replies. jta - I remain slightly more trusting than you (but take your points!). Thanks for the advice re written surrender - I will do that. Or maybe I'll follow westminster's advice and go for her through the courts if she annoys me any more - I know where she works so could always get an attachment of earnings if necessary.
            Thanks again,
            Adrian

            Comment


              #7
              Filipino...
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipino_people
              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

              Comment


                #8
                Another fing learnt!
                Efery day's a school day!
                The wonders of this phorum.........

                Comment


                  #9
                  I know, bleedin' amazing, f***ing amazing wot I've learned 'ere.... Even more amazing wot I didn't know before... surprising I survived as a LL.///////.....
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment

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