Messy Situation

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  • Messy Situation

    Situation is;

    Landlord has house divided into two flats.

    Tenant A lives upstairs and has been there for 6+years no problem

    Tenant B moved into downstairs flat January 10th with 6 month contract.

    Problems occured with tenant B almost immediately with loud music through to small hours, numerous 'guests' staying every night.

    Approximately 11 weeks ago Tenant B had a fire.

    Cause of fire was tenant leaving cooker on and chip pan on ring after cooking meal. It occured early evening and gutted kitchen, caused extensive smoke damage throughout.

    Tenant left property without informing anyone of fire, this was left to tenant A who returned back late evening to find broken window to her front door where fireman had needed to obtain access to check fire hadn't spread.

    Both tenants have needed to stay elsewhere whilst downstairs property repaired due to smell, damage etc.

    tenant A is still paying rent etc despite not living in property. Also had to pay numerous vets bills as she has pets who were affected by smoke which landlord/own insurance doesn't cover

    tenant B has not paid rent for 7 weeks saying that if she is not living there she doesn't have to though all belongings are still in flat and she is visiting regularly. This is not helped by council stopping paying housing benefit in March because Tenant told council she is not living there.
    tenant B is also accusing landlordof harassment as she has been unable to live in property (builders are still in) though landlord is not actively doing anything to prevent tenant being there and also attempting to claim off landlord for damage to her belongings from the fire.

    Most damage to Flat downstairs is covered on Landlords insurance.

    What is landlords position regarding responsibilty towards both tenants, legal obligations in this situation and also necessary steps to 'evict' tenant B.
    Is it possible for landlord or tenant A to regain costs that aren't covered by insurance from Tenant B and if so how they go about these things?!

    Thanks in advance

    Any advice would be grateful as is getting to be a rather nasty situation.

  • #2
    Your insurance policy should cover consequential damage, i.e. to the belongings of tenant in the first floor flat, but not those of the ground floor as the tenant should cover his own belongings.

    There should be a clause within your AST to state that if the property is uninhabitable for any reason for any medium to long term then you should be able to agree with your tenants that their tenancies can end, but if they insisit they continue then you must talk with your insurer, and if necessary your CAB or even a solicitor.

    Your only redress against the GF tenant is if he was proven to be negligent rather than it being an accident - very difficult. He might appear to be a nuisance but that's about it. Loud music is anit-social and you must write and state he is in breach. You can use discretionary Grounds in S.8 to try and evict if necessary, but it appears to be the least of your problems at present.

    Rent is not due from either tenant whilst they are unable to occupy the property.
    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.


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