Difficult Tenant and Eviction

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  • Difficult Tenant and Eviction

    I am dealing with a tenant on behalf of a friend - i have mostly retired now due to health and don't work as a letting agent at the moment so may need some advice on this. The tenant has lived in the property since May 09 and Housing Benefit (partial) was paid up to Feb 11 and since then no rent has been paid. The tenancy agreement has been lost in a fire in my friends office. The tenant was rented the annexe of this large house and at some point broke through the door and moved in to the main house which is full of my friends furniture and antiques. She is quite frightened of this man. I have served a section 8 notice which expires on the 14th December but i have no confidence he will move out then. The property has a leaking roof, a blocked drain and plants growing into one the windows and in to the room of this house. It is a very old property and requires regular maintenance. After serving the notice by hand (also sent it by post) when the tenant opened the door and signed my notice serving the section 8 i had a phone from his sister asking if he would be allowed to stay till Jan 4th. I said we may agree to this providing we could get access to view the damage and get a company in to sort out the problems (my friend has been refused access and workmen have a had abuse when trying to go to do work after he has agreed dates for this to be done)It was agreed via the sister to attend today at 2pm with a builder and she would also be there. I sent a letter to both him and his sister confirming the date we would be there and asking that the tenant let my friend have a set of keys (oh yes he changed all locks of the house). We attended today and found his sister was not there and despite his car being there he would not open the door, i sent him a text saying that he needed to open the door and allow us to view the property as per the letter sent, he then opened the door and said we had no right to come in, he would not allow us in and was going to phone the police and get us done for harrassment - police did arrive after speaking to my friend and spoke to the tenant to see if he would allow us to go in but he refused saying we could wait till he moved out - police said this is only 10 days and so we should wait but we all know its unlikely he will move out on the date expires and we will end up with going via courts and probably bailiffs which will be about 3 months before we can get into the property - my friend is very worried about her house is there a quicker way to go to court or give us the right to enter the property to do this work. Any advice welcome and sorry its such a long post.

  • #2
    With the lack of tenancy agreement it may be difficult to prove whether the whole house or just the annexe was let to the tenant.

    A section 8 runs the risk of being delayed, or even failing, if the tenant launchs a defence based on disrepair.

    Have you served a section 21(4)(a) notice?


    • #3
      Hi I have not sent a section 21(4)(a) notice yet as we have prove that we have tried to go and deal with the repairs (have builder who is willing to write a letter and probably othes would do as well) i have only just been given a letter from local council saying dates they started paying rent and owner says this is the date he moved into the annexe at a rent of £500 pcm although the hb people pay 4 weekly.


      • #4
        Originally posted by tiggy01 View Post
        Hi I have not sent a section 21(4)(a) notice yet as we have prove that we have tried to go and deal with the repairs.
        ? No you don't.

        There is a chance the housing benefit department have a copy of the tenancy agreement, and as it relates to your 'friend' he may be able to get a copy under the DPA.

        I am not sure the money is the key thing though, the key thing is getting the T out, and it is not necessary to have the tenancy agreement or rent amounts for that. You don't even need the start date, although that would delay things slightly.

        If T is on housing benefit, the chances of getting any reasonable recompense are limited.


        • #5
          So would you advise me to just go ahead and serve a section 21(4) (a) notice even though we have a section 8 in place (tenant owes over $6000 so he is never going to come up with the money but i agree he may well use the disrepair to try and avoid being evicted even though my friend was happy and willing to do the damage but without access its impossible.


          • #6
            Well, you could not even commence a section 21 claim until 2 (or even 3 if you don't know the correct commencement date) months down the line so it would be wise to get it issued so that it is ready to roll if the section 8 claim is delayed or defeated.

            Realistically, you'll not get a court date before early February (Xmas and most courts are over capacity) by which time the s21 notice will have completed most of its 'notice'.


            • #7
              So can you explain why 3 months if we do not know the correct date my friend is certain the day the rent started is the date the tenant moved in but have asked her to speak to council to see if they have a copy of the T/A, are there not other grounds to allow us to go direct to court now given that he is refusing access to do essential repairs ?


              • #8
                You can only evict using section 8 or section 21. Both of those are covered in the above plan

                You can certainly go to court to compel the tenant to give access - but I don't see it happening any time soon.

                If the landlord believes the date, what will he do when the tenant disputes it in court? Prove it? How?
                If he can, great, 2 months notice then followed by a non-accelerated court process.

                If not, he will have to serve a 'no date' section 21 and the only way to ensure that you comply with the requirement to give 2 months notice before applying to the court is to give 3 full months.

                Example: If s21 served on 9th December, but the last day of the real tenancy agreement is 8th December then if you commence court proceedings on 10th Feb then that is too early - before the unwritten expiry date (which would be 'after 8th March'). In this example the only way to be sure of not applying too early would be to commence court proceedings no earlier than 9th March.


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