late payments - enough for court order?

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    late payments - enough for court order?

    There are some very good posts from senior members and I'd appreciate of you guys could lend some advice to a very desperate landlord.

    Tenants keep missing the payment date. It was a day or two at first then 7 days late, fortnight late and now 3 weeks late. every month I have this problem. It's difficult because I depend on the rent to be on time so I can pay the mortgage. now I'm having to fork out the grand for the mortgage because they haven't coughed up. the tenants consists of a family of 3 teenagers and their elderly parents. the eldest son pays the rent and he is the one we liaise with as his family (resident of the property) do not have any knowledge of the tenancy affairs. now this chap doesn't live with his family in my rented property. he's married and lives somewhere else. the tenancy however, is under his father's name (living at the property).

    is late payment a good enough excuse for S21 (is that the right section?). I know for a fact that he will use the "i-can't-move-my-family-out-as-my-parents-are-old-and-sick" card. now when the rent is late and i try to reach him, he doesnt answer my calls or return them. if i visit his family home, i can speak to his sister and brother, but they can't help me with their eldest brother's whereabouts. so im left with nothing. if the chap does end up picking up his phone, he'll promise to pay it the following day. come the next day, and still no rent.

    ive had heated conversations with him but after today he threatened not to pay at all if i "forced" him to pay the rent. by forced he meant if i came to his location and took the rent off him. he told me he was at a hospital due to a family emergency and that he had the rent in his pocket. i insisted on going to that hospital and picking the money up. that's what he reffered to as forced. so 1) he's threatened not pay at all.

    he keeps mentioning that if im desperate then i should keep the month's deposit as this month's rent - can i do this? if so, do i need him to sign me something in written?

    I believe he has an assured shorthold tenancy as he moved in a year ago (agreement doesn't specifically state this). it was a 6months agreement which we renewed. at one point, they were living without an agreement as the initial 6months had run out and we didn't extend it for 2 months. now it's been extended for a year (simply because he did pay up, just that he pays late)

    1) is it easier to evict a family who are living in your property without an agreement? or can they then claim squatter's rights? for instance, could i let this agreement run out and then take action? i know for sure he will not chase me to renew it. is that a sort of "bonus" ? the way i see it, if they're bound by an agreement they'll have rights over me. if they're not then they don't have as many rights? unless they claim squatters rights? - confused here

    2) how firm is late payment as a reason to obtain court possession?

    3) if i give them notice, and they forward this notice on to the housing association, what happens then? i know his parents receive some sort of housing benefit. will they try their hardest to re-house them? if that takes a long time, a month or two, how will i get my rent? (they'll surely refuse to pay).

    4) can i hire the services of a letting agent to take care of this? is this a good idea?

    what other info do you guys require?

    appreciate any word of advice guys. I'm at work from 7-7pm. the only person that can chase them up is my mother who herself is ill and just not healthy enough to be chasing up tenants. i need help.

    #2
    OK I shall try and reply to a few points:

    - The tenants do have a tenancy agreement, signed or not. There are no "squatters rights" in this situation, they have tenants rights, and these rights are the same whether there is a written agreement or not - a tenancy has been established by them having possession of the property, and paying rent.

    - Late payment as a use for evidtion depends upon the amount and frequency of late payment. If the tenant is 2 months in arrears at the time of a court hearing, then possession must be granted(mandatory). If they are not, then it is up to the judge based upon the frequency and amount of rental arrears(discretionary).

    The notice you need to serve is a Section 8, under grounds 8(mandatory), 10 and 11 (discretionary). Only under grounds 8 and 10(I think, I always get the numbers wrong!) if they are actually over 2 months in arrears at the time you serve it.

    The other method of eviction is by Section 21 notice, which is simpler, as there needs be no reason. AFAIK, as this is a renewal of a tenancy agreement, you can in fact evict them with S21 during the year fixed term, as the security of tenure is for the first 6 months of the entire tenancy, not at each renewal. However, this will take longer than the 14 days notice of the Section8, as 2 months notice is required.
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

    Comment


      #3
      I suggest you take any paperwork you have on the tenancy (including tenancy agreement, inventory signed by both you and the tenants, any records of when payment was due and when received and any letters you have written and received regarding the late payment) to the CAB and get some direct advice from them as there isn't quite enough detail in your post to be definitive with an answer, specifically about WHEN you can issue notices and move for eviction.

      I can't be more specific as you haven't given enough information, but in brief you can issue a Section 21 notice at any time after the tenancy has started without needing a 'reason' to do so. BUT you have to be very careful that the dates given on the notice are correct or you could find that it's invalid and you won't be able to get a court order based on the notice.

      You can issue a Section 8 notice as MrShed states, though as they are not and haven't been more than 2 months overdue with the rent you can't use ground 8.

      DON'T accept the deposit in lieu of rent, as this would give you no buffer if the place is in a state when they eventually move out (as long as you have a signed inventory of course).

      You really do need to get some advice from someone you speak to face-to-face as you appear to not have much comprehension of the basics of letting, which worries me in your situation. You could potentially find yourself without the rent for several months so you'd have to find the mortgage money yourself, and you may find that you just don't get your money back at all - it's always a risk. So ask the CAB, get them to refer you to a solicitor who deals with property law and have a fixed fee interview with the solicitor.

      Also READ the relevant section of the Housing Act, READ the Civil Procedure Rules Part 55 which deals with reposession, and get to learn your position much better than you appear to, it'll definitely be worth the time spent.

      Comment


        #4
        Don - whichever route you choose I am afraid it is going to take you quite a while to get them out. Even if you can issue a section 8 and they dont pay you then apply to court for a hearing - here it takes a minimum 6 weeks. If the judge gives them 14 days to go and they dont, it's back to court....I think you need to know timescales so that you can talk to the mortgage company if you need to. Also beware the CAB. Some volunteers do know their stuff but in my experience their advice is not always the best. They also do tend to know more about tenants rights than landlords. Some serious research on the internet should help. By the way are the parents on HB? You can have it paid to you directly if they are more than 8 weeks in arrears. Good luck.
        Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

        Comment


          #5
          thanks for the responses guys. I didn't bookmark this so only I know how hard it was for me to find this page again.

          Eventually the tenant coughed up 1 week before the following month's (November) rent was due. Now I'm in the same position again. Tenant is not paying. I am expecting a late payment but that's not good enough for me.

          >>you can issue a Section 21 notice at any time after the tenancy has started without needing a 'reason' to do so. BUT you have to be very careful that the dates given on the notice are correct or you could find that it's invalid

          In which case is it invalid?

          >>a tenancy has been established by them having possession of the property, and paying rent.

          If their agreement has run out and they are refusing to sign a new one, what position does that leave me in? Can I still take this matter to court?

          Also, what should I be doing at this stage? Write them payment reminders?

          I have tried going to estate agents and solicitors but it seems like nobody is interestingi n helping or taking the case on board.

          Yes I know

          Comment


            #6
            Forget CAB and go to Shelter or use their freefone number open 8Am - midnight. They are the experts in Housing Law and offer an advice facility for landlords too ..
            Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

            Comment


              #7
              If you have an AST agreement, after the fixed period has finished, the tenancy automatically becomes periodic. This does not invalidate the agreement. The tenancy just goes on, month by month. If you want it to stop, then you issue a section 21 notice. If they want to leave, they give you a months notice.

              Regarding section 21 notice, after a tenancy has become periodic( as in your case); A minimum of two months notice is required and the day on which the notice expires must be after the last day of a period of the tenancy( usually the period is monthly) . Eg if your agreement started on 7th of the month x, then your notice must expire after the end of the monthly period i.e. after 6th of month y. So in practice, you may have to give almost up to 3 months notice if you have just missed the end of the period date. The wording and amount of notice is important.

              You also need to serve it correctly, and be able to prove they got it.

              I suggest you do a search for info on serving a section 21 notice on this forum and on the web.
              All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

              * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

              You can search the forums here:

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks Bel.

                As planned, I'm writing a notice.

                The thing is they want us to carry out work. I took a builder to valuate the work and it's too much for me. Therefore I want to issue them notice.

                do I need to state reasons? like

                a) work required is outside my budget and I prefer renting out to ppl who are ok with living in it as it is
                b) constant late payments. (6 months in a row)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
                  <snip>I think you need to know timescales so that you can talk to the mortgage company if you need to. <snip>.
                  Wonder if Don has obtained the consent of the Building Society or Bank to the letting. If he has not the best thing might be to try to arrange a short term loan elsewhere and resolve the problem without involvement of the mortgagees.
                  Vic - wicked landlord
                  Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
                  Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Don View Post
                    Thanks Bel.

                    As planned, I'm writing a notice.

                    The thing is they want us to carry out work. I took a builder to valuate the work and it's too much for me. Therefore I want to issue them notice.

                    do I need to state reasons? like

                    a) work required is outside my budget and I prefer renting out to ppl who are ok with living in it as it is
                    b) constant late payments. (6 months in a row)
                    As a landlord you have a legal duty to ensure the property you let is fit for habitation is in a safe condition and in a satisfactory state of repair. You simply cannot argue that your budget does not allow you to meet legal obligations. A tenant who accepts a dilapidated property would probably be unacceptable to a good landlord because of inability to satisfy tenancy verification checks.

                    The S21 procedure does require you to give reasons for requiring possession, The section 21 procedure does not enable the recovery of rent arrears. You will need to take separate action in County Court or use MoneyClaim on line

                    In Court the late payments will be separated from the issue of the property condition unless the tenant, as he or she has the right to do so, carries out in default the work you as the landlord should have completed and then claims this against outstanding rent or makes a counterclaim against you.
                    Vic - wicked landlord
                    Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
                    Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

                    Comment

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