Tenants Have Called In Someone Unidentified

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    Tenants Have Called In Someone Unidentified

    Hi All,

    The situation I'm about to share is actually happening to my parents, but would really love to have your advice so I can help them out.

    My parents have a property that is rented to council tenants. The property was vacant for a while and the council had a scheme whereby you can get a council grant to fix it up and then you agree to a 5 year contract to host council tenants. Seemed like a good idea at the time...

    Anyway, long story short what once was fine has now turned sour. They have been a pain the rear for a couple of years now demanding ridiculous things and constantly complaining.

    Now the other day a lady, let's call her Shelly, called up my parents with the opening line, "We're taking you to court!" After enquiring why, she claimed to be from the council and that the property was derelict and went on about all sorts of nonsense. Turned out something like low water pressure was the cause. This was remedied the next day...

    Then she's be going on about damp, electrics, ventilation. None of which was an issue when the council checked the property over before putting their tenants in. But these tenants have the house LOADED with their stuff. It's fit to bursting! They have tons of stuff plugged into single wall sockets, never open windows and heat the house at ridiculous temperatures. This is what we believe has lead to the damp... open the bloody window once in a while for heavensake!

    Anyway, the woman is claiming to be there for the "children". Again claiming the house is derelict. She is also querying every individual nut and bolt in the property. Like, why is there a bolt in the fence? The fence needs to be replaced.

    Called up the council and they say they don't know WHO she is! Also that they went to the property a year ago when the tenant was complaining about all these things. They turned up and evaluated the state of the property and the way they were living in it and assessed that, to quote them, "they brought all of this upon themselves". They have been living like animals in the property.

    No action was taken because the tenants were responsible for the things they were complaining about. Especially since the council members that went to the property were the same ones who'd put them in and could remember a very different looking property!

    So, now the woman... called her up and said, who are you? Shelly will not state her last name or tell us who she is working for. She said she'd be round with a piece of paper and would give it to my parents by hand. My parents have told her to go jump... we have told the council we are not dealing with this woman anymore until we are able to verify who she is and who she works for. Upon which we will then lodge complaints.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance

    #2
    Don't you have a five years contract with the council who then have the right to arrange tenants to occupy? If so then the council will normally deal with such compaints and that they have already assessed matters. The tenant is probably calling your bluff. If they were to seriously damage the premises does the council pay for this?
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

    Comment


      #3
      I wonder if 'Shelley' bought the tenancy from the original council tenant when they moved.
      To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you for this story which is actually quite amusing. I have quite a lot of experience of letting direct to Local Authorities for people in housing need. Usually they are very biased in favour of the tenant and sounds like yours is more even handed. Ignore this woman; the local authority will write to you with a request for any minor repairs and if something more substantial comes up they will serve you with a "Minded to serve repairs" notice; which gives you a chance to attend to matters before a formal repairs notice.

        Quite often "disrepairs", or alleged disrepairs are actually caused by tenants having altered the property in some way and these notices are open to realistic challenge. I had a minded to serve notice to do with a roof leak and our contractor discovered to his amazement that their were people asleep in a bed in the loft (which had not previously been a loft room). The sub-tenants had created a room in the loft, plasterboarded out, power off flying leads crudely tacked off sockets, with ladder only access into the loft without any of the required consents, and had cut through a couple of purlins, which in time had been what caused the roof leaks!
        After a (credible) threat of litigation and substantial damages claim the Council did evict their subtenant and at their own expense put everything right but quite usually you do have to fight your corner as very often an apparent defect will have been caused by misuse or alterations of the tenant.

        A useful tool in the problems you describe is a heat recovery extractor fan. These can be as much as £300 to buy but are actually worth the money if they stop condensation being an issue. Essentially they allow warm air to be sucked out and use the warmth in the air being drawn out of the dwelling to warm incoming air. When the humidity on the room increases the fan will be boosted. We now put these in on all "social housing" lets because where there is a greater or lesser degree of 'fuel poverty' occupiers will desist from ventilating the house because they fear that their expensively sourced heat will just escape if they allow the requisite air flow.

        Incidentally, others who let directly to local authorities might well also have heard from their tenants with a request to vary agreements so as to reduce the rent contractually payable as from 2013 on a basis that cannot be determined as yet! I would not advise you to enter into any such variations.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by kutter View Post
          Any suggestions?

          Thanks in advance
          Ignore her?
          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

          Comment


            #6
            I would go out and buy one of the phone conversation recording machines which Maplin sell for £50 and record the entire conversation next time "Shelley" rings up. When people say "Its illegal to tape phone conversations" you are allowed to tape your own. I would also go down and inspect your premises. I cannot believe that you would take the word of "Shelley" that the house is derelict without finding out for yourself. If the house is vacant I would be inclined to change the locks to ensure that "Shelley" isn't someone who the council have offered the house to as a tenant. In other words take control of your property and negotiate with the council about continuing the contract.

            Comment


              #7
              Hi All,

              Thank you for your responses. They're all very useful.

              The property is still occupied by the tenants, this "Shelly" is apparently sticking her nose in on their behalf. Or "for the child" as she likes to put it. But in what capacity and with what authority, I do not know.

              The council, in the discussions with them on the phone at least, appear to be siding with us. I.e. They have clearly said that they went to investigate the tenant's complaints last year, but their conclusion was that it was NOT our fault or responsibility to deal with these complaints, valid or not. They determined that the environmental condition of the property was as a result of the tenants actions and it was unreasonable for the landlord to have to deal with these things.

              Whoever this lady is, as far as I am concerned, she has been harrassing us and threatening some sort of action against us. Without declaring who she is, where she's come from, we have told the council we're not dealing with her, only with them. We've written to them and I guess we'll progress things with them.

              You're right... we're going to do some regular maintenance on the property and then I think we should wrestle back some control of it. The tenant has taken far too many liberties.

              As for "Shelly", she will be ignored. She entered our home under false pretences... completely unacceptable.

              Thanks for your support all.

              P.S. the telephone conversation recorder sounds like a great idea...

              Comment

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